QOTD: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Nissan?

qotd how do you solve a problem like nissan

The news of Nissan’s recent financial trouble brought attention right where it needs to be: on lackluster product. In our most recent reporting regarding Nissan’s sales woes, I was asked in the comments whether I had any ideas for improvement. Well that got me thinking (and worked up), and it turns out I do have ideas, and they fall into three major categories.

Product

First up is a culling of product. Nissan makes too many things that are old/noncompetitive/boring/bad/similar. The following listing covers current models, and pares them down into a new lineup for 2023 or thereabouts:

[s]Versa, Leaf,[/s] Sentra, Pulsar

[s]Maxima,[/s] Altima

[s]GT-R, 370Z[/s] Silvia

[s]Kicks, Rogue Sport, Murano[/s] Rogue, Rogue Limited

Pathfinder

Armada

[s]NV200 NV[/s] NV3500

Frontier

[s]Titan[/s]

In the compact class, Sentra is available in hatchback and sedan, front- and all-wheel drive, and standard, hybrid, and EV versions. There’s a WRX competitor (hatchback only) called Pulsar as a distinct model offering. Maxima goes away, and Altima reaches higher with a Maxima trim. All-wheel drive is available on mid- and Maxima trim Altimas. The outdated and pointless GT-R and 370Z coupes fade away, replaced by the rear-drive, lightweight Silvia. Standard Silvia power is a 2.0t and there’s a Silvia K’s with a 2.5t. The Silvia’s platform is a light one, and is shared with a new Q60. The current FM platform is too heavy, and goes away. Small and midsize CUV action is satisfied by the best-known name, Rogue. Long-wheelbase Rogues are called Rogue Limited, and there’s an optional performance trim, SR. Pathfinder is reworked on a new Altima platform, and is no longer lame (more below). All NV vans are now the 3500, and sold in cargo and passenger versions. There’s nothing wrong with the NV, but there’s no need for too many variants or the Chevrolet NV200. Frontier is new and is the global Navarra, because Nissan knows it makes sense to send a modern truck to a truck-happy market like North America. Titan goes away, as it’s an expensive American-centric product which is a waste of money and will not compete with Toyota or even Honda.

Engineering

CVTs are banished in all but hybrid and EV Nissan offerings. Transmissions across the line include six- and eight-speed standard automatics, as well as a six- or eight-speed DCT for performance models. The VQ is no more, as its paint mixer sound and thirsty nature (3.5 and 4.0) have no place even in 2019. Replacement mills include the 2.0 and 3.0 engine series from Infiniti, with and without turbochargers. Nissan was strangling its volume cars in order to restrict its only good engines to Infiniti, and that was a mistake. NV3500 and Armada use a new 5.7-liter V8, or diesel engines from abroad.

Quality

The new Nissan builds quality cars which drivers (not fleet companies) actually want. Interior components are not sourced from the lowest-quality Mitsubishi supplier. Paint finish is no longer in the orange peel realm. Suspensions are tuned well (like a Nineties Nissan), rather than being excessively harsh for a faux “sporty” effect.

And there’s the basic outline to save Nissan’s hide. At the lower end, Mitsubishi carries the cheap junk for people with bad credit. On the higher end, Infiniti has cars which are not from 2008 or 2012. But those two must be saved another day. How would you save Nissan?

[Images: Nissan, Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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  • Akear Akear on Aug 05, 2019

    Nissan can survive by just saying at least we are not as bad as GM. GM has never produced a car as good as either the Altima or Sentra. The Rogue is simply better than any comparable GM vehicle. GM - what a disgrace!

  • Safeblonde Safeblonde on Aug 07, 2019

    I don't think that one dealer's problem should reflect a whole brand's problem, but Nissan St. Charles Illinois (search that...) doesnt help.

  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2022&year2=2022&make=Jeep&baseModel=Wrangler&srchtyp=ymm&pageno=1&rowLimit=50Annual fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.
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