TTAC News Round-up: Nissan Needs a Faster Pipe, Creeping Autonomy, and Mercedes Goes Gaga Over AMG

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Nissan’s product pipeline has all the flow of a crusted-over faucet, and that’s not good for business.

That, automation is insidiously infiltrating cars all around you, Mercedes-Benz goes all in on AMG, Jaguar teases China with something special, and foreigners flee the Russian automotive landscape … after the break!

Failure to launch … on time

Having its new vehicles leave the gates well after the other horses is a trend Nissan is trying to stop.

The automaker wants to turn around a situation that has new vehicles dribbling into dealer lots well later than they should, Automotive News reports:

This year, the company will redraw schedules to get vehicles into showrooms earlier, says Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America.

The significantly restyled 2016 Altima and 2016 Sentra are only now reaching U.S. showrooms in substantial numbers …

“Our manufacturing and r&d people know how to do it. They need to work faster and more efficiently,” Munoz says.

The changes will be enacted this year to prepare for the roll-out of 2017 models.

Your car is rapidly becoming self-aware

With any luck, we’ll all get out of this thing alive.

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, autonomous technology is expanding through the automotive landscape at a rapid pace, and will soon lead us to a safe, non-terrifying future, Autocar reports:

In the case of collision warning systems, total uptake was 58% of car sales last year, and while 31% of these were fitted as standard, more than a quarter of buyers – 27% – chose to have the system fitted as an option. By contrast, five years ago, collision warning featured on only 7% of cars registered.

Other popular tech includes autonomous emergency braking (fitted in 39% of cars), blind spot monitoring (32%) and adaptive cruise control (32%).

A report by the same organization last year found that 2,500 lives could be saved by autonomous technology in the UK alone.

Mercedes catches AMG fever

Mercedes-Benz executives are so keen on AMG, they’re slapping performance stickers on their rolling office chairs.

The automaker’s performance division saw a 40 percent sales increase last year, and company bigwigs are eager to maximize profits, reports Automotive News:

“We’re going to expand our portfolio to 48 different models by the end of the year,” [Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias] Moers said. There may be more, he hinted, saying that that means adding “at least” 10 to the 38 Mercedes nameplates with AMG variants.

Mercedes is also urging dealers to create dedicated showroom areas for AMG, and is beginning to test the idea of stand-alone AMG stores, Moers said.

Recently, Mercedes announced AMG versions of both the GLC SUV and its coupe offspring.

A new British cat to woo the Chinese

The UK isn’t about let its German rivals have all the fun building stretched executive sedans for China’s pampered class.

Spy shots have revealed a long-wheelbase Jaguar XF sedan bound solely for the potentially lucrative Chinese market, Left Lane News reports:

Tentatively called XFL, the long-wheelbase sedan is aimed at similarly-stretched variants of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the BMW 5 Series, and the Audi A6. It’s all but identical to the regular XF save for a few extra inches of sheet metal between the rear wheels that free up more leg room for the occupants sitting in the back.

Clearly, the XFJ is aimed at buyers who spend little to no time behind the wheel. Its cabin is identical to the regular XF’s from the front passengers’ perspective, but the rear passengers will benefit from additional features such as more comfortable seats upholstered with plush leather and a new infotainment system.

Jaguar is expected to tease the lengthy cat at next month’s Beijing Auto Show. China’s once red-hot economy has fallen on hard times in recent months, but the demand for premium vehicle imports has so far remained strong.

All quiet on the Eastern Front

Russia’s economic bear has crawled into its cave, and that’s hurting vehicle sales — especially imports.

With year-to-date sales of all brands down 20.8 percent, foreign automakers can expect to fare the worst as the economic slump continues, Wards Auto writes:

Import sales could drop 20%-30% this year compared with 10%-15% industrywide, according to the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade …

The decline would leave imports with about a 15% share of the Russian market after ranging between 20% and 25% in recent years.

Low oil prices and falling currency value have created a dismal economic climate, causing many automakers to cross Russia off of their to-do lists, or to defer planned investments.

[Image: Russia, Wong Yee Cheng/Flickr]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.