By on July 31, 2019

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

Image: Nissan

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:

Versa, Leaf, Sentra, Pulsar

Maxima, Altima

GT-R, 370Z Silvia

Kicks, Rogue Sport, Murano Rogue, Rogue Limited

Pathfinder

Armada

NV200 NV NV3500

Frontier

Titan

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 The outdated and pointless GT-R and 370Z coupes fade away, replaced by the rear-drive, lightweight Silvia.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

2019 Nissan Kicks badge

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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132 Comments on “QOTD: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Nissan?...”


  • avatar
    WalthamDan

    You hit the nails on their head Corey.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Here goes…but with more details:

    Corey: We agree on more than a few things, but here are some key differences:

    The Maxima still has name recognition. In the short-term (ie: next redesign), pry the Infiniti Q50 RWD platform and top 3.0L Turbo and FINALLY make it different than just a nicer Altima. That has been a major problem since 2001 when the Altima got larger and gained the V6 engine and removed the Maxima’s reason for living. Toyota and Lexus step on each other’s toes with platforms and engines and Nissan and Infiniti need to so the same. If they want to maintain the status quo, dust bin the Maxima and, like Mazda and the 6, make a “Signature”-like edition to take the Maxima’s place.

    As I wrote before, get the Megane platform from “partner” Renault and redesign the Sentra using French bones. From what I’ve read, the Megane is far better than the Sentra in all ways, and has a high performance model just begging for the SE-R badge on the trunklid. The current Sentra is just so old and behind the times that it is an embarrassment to the name.

    Here’s where I deviate from Corey’s plan. Keep the Pathfinder, but move it back to body on frame like it was meant to be. Toyota keeps the 4Runner (and it still sells) for the more hardcore buyer. Nissan can keep the Murano as the suburban soccer-mom mobile, like Ford does with the Edge, but from what I understand, the 2020 Explorer somewhat goes back to its roots – something the Pathfinder really needs to do. Because of right now, I cannot think of a huge compelling reason to choose a Pathfinder over a very similar Murano.

    Bring back the Xterra as a pure, hard-core, Wrangler-like BoF, Frontier-based off-roading vehicle. That first-gen was a solid hit for Nissan and, being Nissan, just left it out in the sun to rot away. But, with all things trucks and SUVs again, now’s the time to bring it back and make it a halo truck. Think of the hype Jeep is getting with the Gladiator. That could be Xterra hype as well.

    The Leaf…sigh. At least they tried. But with newer models out for the same money that get better range, and Nissan seems unwilling to build on the Leaf’s name with new models (like Toyota did with the Prius), there’s no future.

    Dustbin the Versa (seems just for fleets now) and the Titan. I don’t know the sales numbers of the vans to make a decision there.

    Their sports cars. It’s beyond obvious that Nissan has no desire, will, money, or any combination of these to update what used to make Nissan special. If I had more time at the moment, I’d check and see if Renault and any of their other partners might have an upcoming platform that can become a new Z-car or GT-R. But right now they are just so old and behind the times. The GT-R still puts up ungodly numbers but the price is out of control for the age of the car and there’s far better competition out there. I’d propose that in the VERY near future that Nissan considers a partnership (Mazda?) to develop a smaller, lighter car that is better suited with the times.

    There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to fix one of Japan’s oldest and best known, and at one time, respected brands. As I wrote before, now they need car guys (and women) running the show, not cost cutters…we see where that got them. I think they can do it, but it will be long and painful.

    • 0 avatar
      NTGD

      You might get your wish with the Sentra,for 2019 it is twinned with the with the overseas Nissan Sylphy. The 2020 Sylphy is redesigned and shares a platform with the Megane, so far Nissan has released info on almost all of their 2020 sedans except the Sentra so hopefully we will see a Megane cousin for 2020 as well.

      Totally agree that the Maxima needs to be a toned fown Infiniti instead of a gussied up Altima or just put it to rest.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        I hope so… If there are two functional brain cells running Nissan right now, they’d realize that their European cousins have the better small cars for them and bring them here. There’s still a market for GOOD small cars – I see new Civics, Corollas, and Mazda3s in large numbers every day. Plus the thought of even getting something like the Megane RS here as a new SE-R…yes!
        I’ll keep looking into that – thank you for passing that on.

    • 0 avatar

      The only reason I could see to choose the Pathfinder over the Murano is the 3rd row.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t agree on the RWD Maxima idea, because by the time it got a 3.0t and a shared Infiniti platform, it would cost more than anybody would pay.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    Fix Nissan? Dunno. Don’t follow them that much.

    Wake me up when you get to fixing Jeep, which has been suffering sales losses in several important markets.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      Jeep is in a better position than Nissan. It sells more profitable models, has a leaner lineup (which equals to less development costs) and better margin for every model they sell. They also have a strong customer base which pay top money for mid to lodaded versions, something that Nissan would kill for. Those Nissan fans left their loyalty by the turn of the century. Now most customers are bargain hunters which want cheap A to B transportation but are not necessarily loyal to the brand. I know because I did (had a Versa), as soon as I got into a better financial position I got rid of that junk.
      Just look at their best selling model (Rogue), have you seen how many are loaded ones? I just see wheel covers (or lack of them), black door handles and non-tinted windows most of the time I see a new Nissan. Such low margin sales could only last that long.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        As I said, I really don’t follow Nissan.

        Jeep is having some serious issues. In the US the Grand Cherokee is the only model running gains. Every other model is down a bunch year to date.

        They only sell the Compass in India, but sales are down more than 50%.

        China is a huge market, but Jeep’s share is tiny, and falling. Sales for the first half of this year down 49%

        FCA should report July sales tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if there are more steep losses at Jeep.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @Steve203: With one sentence, you killed your argument: “They only sell the Compass in India,…” I’ll have you know they sell the Compass in the US as well. I’m not saying the numbers are any better but the statement suggests your knowledge base is lacking.

          My question to you is, how do YOU know the Jeep brand is down so far? What information do you have that the rest of us don’t have that gives you such pessimistic view of the Jeep brand?

          • 0 avatar
            gomez

            I’m pretty sure he meant that the Compass was the only Jeep model sold in India, not that the Compass is ONLY sold in India. But even that isn’t true because a glance at Jeep India’s website shows the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee available as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            >>@Steve203: With one sentence, you killed your argument: “They only sell the Compass in India,…<<

            The Compass is the most widely built Jeep: in Brazil, for the South American market, in Mexico for North America and Europe, China, and, for all RHD markets, India. Last winter, FCA announced they will start building the Compass at the Melfi plant in Italy for the EU.

            The Compass is the only Jeep model built in India. While other Jeep models are officially available, Indian import tariffs, iirc some 175% on imported cars, pushes the price of the imported models so high that sales would be insignificant.

            Compass sales in India started out running 2,000+/month. Last month, June, they only sold 791 ranking 16th among SUVs in India. YTD sales appear to be down 37%. For comparison, the Ford Ecosport ranked 6th in June, with sales of 3,254, while the Hyundai Creta sold 8,334, good for 3rd spot and within shooting distance of the #1 Maruti Vitara Brezza's 8,871. *That* is how far off the pace the Compass is.

            In China, for the first 6 months of the year, all models combined, Jeep sold 35745, down 48.9% from 2018. China is the largest car market in the world, and, in 6 months, they sold half as many Jeeps as they sold in the US just in June.

            Sales by model in China, first half of 2019:
            Renegade 2853, down 74.7%
            Compass 18103, down 46.9%
            Cherokee 7925, down 63.4
            Grand Commander (new) 6864 (probably much of that at the expense of the Cherokee)

            Meanwhile, for the first half of the year in the US, Jeep is down 8%. The only model that is up is the Grand Cherokee, with a 13% gain, meanwhile, the Renegade is down 29%, Compass down 14%, Cherokee down 15% and Wrangler down 12%.

            Brazilians love Jeep. First half sales, all models, 96651, up 23.1%

            The EU likes Jeep: First half sales, all models 89379, up 1.8%

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gomez: You may be right, and if so I apologize to Steve203. That said, I still question the assumption that so many Jeep models are seeing significant drops in sales–especially since this evening’s announcements put Jeep and Ram in particular as top sellers for FCA.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Steve203: I repeat my apology for misunderstanding your meaning in your previous comment. Your subsequent commentary says a lot of interesting things about Jeep but still raises the question of how you knew so much about it when FCA had not officially released any numbers until tonight. Again, I’m not saying you are/were wrong, I’m just interested in your sources as it could tell us so much more about other brands as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            Vulpine said: >>Your subsequent commentary says a lot of interesting things about Jeep but still raises the question of how you knew so much about it <<

            I'm retired, so have plenty of time to flog Google until it koffs up the data I'm looking for, and I find FCA particularly interesting, so I follow it.

            The EU and China data come from carsalesbase.com. The Indian and Brazilian data comes from flogging Google until it delivers the data. I have not been able to find data for Japan and Australia that I have confidence in.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Steve203: Thank you. I use a different search engine because I don’t like the way Google pesters you with ads (even when you use an ad blocker) but the carsalesbase dot com site is worth checking out.

            Again, thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            Steve203

            @Vulpine. got a number for Jeep in Australia: down 28% so far this year. FCA announced a new head of the Australian operation this morning. Add this to Jeep’s low market position and sales losses much larger than the overall market drop in India and China. There is a problem in the Jeep mother ship.

            https://www.caradvice.com.au/780606/fiat-chrysler-australia-new-managing-director/

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The bit about the Silvia made my eyes roll. If the Z/GT-R are pointless a sports car worse than the Z in every way possible is even more so.

    That said I’ve been thinking about this a lot and my suggestions are pretty simple:

    – All the crossovers are ancient. Updating them has to be JOB ONE. Competitive crossovers are the lifeblood of mainstream companies these days.
    – Compel JATCO to ditch the crappy CVTs and switch to an Aisin 8AT competitor across the board.
    – Kill GT-R, milk the Z for a few more years with the new V6TT and some much needed tech updates. The chassis is still state of the art nearly 20 years on.
    – Make the Maxima and Murano Infinitis. Forget the internet chatter of people who have never driven one- as a former G37 owner I think the Maxima is worthy of that leap. Kill the pointless and crappy Q50 2.0T and make the Maxima the “Q40”. Update the Murano to the Maxima’s level and make it the QX55 (stupid name; it is what it is)
    – While we’re talking about Infiniti, increase electrification there. I’d limit the BEVs to 1 flagship but hybrids and PHEVs will help raise the brand’s international profile.
    – Get over this Renault BS and rebadge the Clio/Megane as the new Versa/Sentra. Obviously give it some US appropriate power plants. Make the RS cars “SE-Rs/NISMOs”
    – Don’t know or care about the trucks or commercial vehicles… do whatever is needed there

    Truthfully Nissan does not have that much to do, and much of what they need to do is stuff they should have done years ago. It’s just a matter of pulling the trigger honestly. They are in a much better position than many other brands. Mazda for example has an up to date lineup and is still struggling.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Why in God’s name would they want to cull their CUV lineup? If they want to sell cars in 2019, stratification and sub-stratification of every size of crossover is just what the doctor ordered. No, I’d leave their crossover lineup alone, but they need to really do something with the Pathfinder… how does the Highlander and Explorer outsell it by such a massive margin?

    Downsize sedan offerings, turn the Versa/Sentra into one option.

    Altima/Maxima: make the Altima the base 4cyl motor car that tops out in SV trim, turn “Maxima” into an upper trim level with standard leather seats and the bigger motor/AWD option (I personally think the variable compression 2.0T will be a reliability nightmare).

    Frontier: throw another refresh at it (interior especially), see if it will accept the 7spd auto, but IMO keep the lusty 4.0L, fuel economy be damned.

    Sell an “offroad” version of the Armada with the overseas adjustable swaybars and rear locker, guaranteed boost in credibility/halo effect.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Corey, you really thought about this, good job. Personally I’ve had a love/indifference attitude about Nissan since the 80s. Loved my 2nd gen 4DSC Maxima, but pretty indifferent toward their other sedans. Loved the early Zs, but became indifferent as time went on. Loved some of the outrageous styling of the Infiniti crossovers, but hated what they did to the Pathfinder. Loved the Xterra and was sorry to see it go, but I’m glad it kind of lives on in all it’s old fashion glory in the Frontier

    I won’t even touch on the whale-faced Armada

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “I won’t even touch on the whale-faced Armada”

      It’s actually selling incredibly well with a big increase in sales year-over-year from 2018. Assuming you can tolerate the styling (I personally don’t mind it at all), they are hands-down the best value in a fullsize SUV currently. Very well put together with surprisingly high quality interiors and a VERY strong standard motor that undercuts the crowd-favorite Tahoe by thousands.

      • 0 avatar
        crtfour

        I like them as well. Unless you really hate the styling and/or part of the must buy American crowd, I don’t see the appeal of an overpriced Tahoe over the Armada. Also, a lot of people don’t realize that they are assembled in Japan, which is a huge plus in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I will agree that the newer toned-down styling makes the Armada a good full size SUV value, but I’m not sure it’s made a big difference in sales, I hardly ever see them

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Sales are trending at 32-35k ish annually since the 2017 Patrol based generation debuted, a little over half of how many Tahoes are sold, but about three times as many as the Sequoia, for example. I’d call it a success, considering that they are able to just modify an existing overseas platform slightly and bring it over (like Toyota does with its Land Cruiser Prado 150 and LC200).

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        The Armada is selling better than the outgoing version (which really isnt hard to do) but I dont think it is selling “incredibly well” by any standards. I drove an Armada, and while I do agree with a strong engine and solid interior, the cabin tech and infotainment are absolutely atrocious and look like they were pulled from a mid 2000s Infiniti.

    • 0 avatar

      I spent too much of my Monday evening thinking about Nissan things! There just needs to be cohesion and purpose in their cars. How their lineup felt circa 1995 is a good starting point for today. The Maxima 4DSC was an excellent car.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Oh here’s a big one that goes beyond their lineup: consider walking back from the Mitsubishi-like dealership credit-criminal experience. A few of our local Nissan places are absolutely horrible in this regard. Trying to hang onto keys after trade-in estimates, etc.

    Walk into a Subaru dealership and it’s a damn-near luxury-brand experience by comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Nissan, like several other companies, has spent decades training the public to see its vehicles as cheap, bad credit crap. It will take just as long for them to reverse that.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I am a little amazed at the near universal terribleness of the Nissan experience.

        Our local Nissan dealer was bad enough that they also had an FCA franchise and a Hyundai franchise. They didn’t even last a year with Hyundai because they were that terrible that Hyundai pulled the plug and FCA used the bankruptcy as an excuse to terminate their agreement and sell the rights to someone else to open up in that same location.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      We test drove a Leaf three months ago (and didn’t like it). We bought a Bolt instead. The local Nissan dealership is still emailing and calling about every two days, even though we told them we bought the Bolt. Feels like desperation.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @dal20402: I get that kind of advertising from every place I visit, online and off. It’s called “targeted marketing” and to be quite blunt, I hate it. Even now, nearly a full year after buying a pickup truck, I get ads for pickup trucks in my mail and email. It means nothing to me.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          “Vulpine,

          Demand has never been higher for YOUR TRUCK. We are desperate for inventory and we need YOUR TRUCK to have something to sell. Bring this letter to your local Nissan dealership and see about the low rates available on a new Versa when you let us sell YOUR TRUCK.”

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I was getting that a lot with my ’08 Jeep Wrangler. My truck is a ’19 and I’ve had ads from Nissan, Toyota AND Chevrolet wanting me to buy a new truck–no mention of “We Want Your Truck.” This is AFTER telling them I’ve made my purchase and I bought from Chevrolet. Think about it.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Same here. Their pricing was nuts: no, I’m not interested in leasing a Nissan Leaf for the price of a Tesla Model 3. But they persisted with the calls for months, even after I told them I’d leased a Volt.

        The Leaf’s not a BAD little bug. A compromise between the comfort of an eGolf and the range of a Bolt seems like it should hit the sweet spot for a second car…but somehow it doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      saturnotaku

      A local Nissan dealer was shut down by the state for allegedly failing to pay off something like 500 customer trade-ins. AFAIK, the owner went ghost.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree, dealers are an issue for Nissan generally.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        In my area I only know of two dealerships within easy driving distance. One shares space with KIA off 494, a ring road around Minneapolis/St. Paul,and the other is in a dealership row down by I-35. Other than those two, I can’t think of many others.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think you are killing too many CUVs with your plan. I would also spend $0 on a new V8, RWD transmission, or any diesel engine. Pulsar and Silva are a no go for now as well.

    I would replace the CVTs with conventional autos. I would increase the paint quality. I would replace both the Altima and Maxima with a newly named mid-size sedan. I’d kill the Sentra, Versa, 370z, and GTR.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “I would replace both the Altima and Maxima with a newly named mid-size sedan. I’d kill the Sentra, Versa,”

      Why walk away from decades of name recognition like that? Seems monumentally foolish. Kill both Versa AND Sentra and leave nothing in the low-end price category? I mentioned yesterday how popular Sentras have gotten with the bad-credit crowd here, it’s a key sales segment IMO even if margins are fairly thin (or not so bad considering the sort of horrible financing deals these folks are getting).

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Name recognition works both ways. I think “Altima” is damaged enough among buyers that it should be replaced. Maxima isn’t as bad, but I think a new name would work just as well.

        If the Versa and Sentra are profitable then keep them around. If they aren’t then kill them. No reason to serve the lower priced part of the market if it is costing money.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Altima is very well respected by most lay-people. Not Camry/Accord level by any means, but it is still “reliable japanese staple” to most IMO. Hispanic folks around here LOVE Nissan, Sentras/Altimas are perennial favorites.

          “Maxima isn’t as bad, but I think a new name would work just as well.”

          Just like Acura dropping “Legend” for alphabet soup worked “just as well?”

          No way, Maxima name is still worth quite a bit as well. Still has some aspirational cachet left in many circles from what I’ve read.

          Nissan still sells 200k+ Sentras annually, I’d be curious to see what the profitability is like but as an example a coworker of mine happily paid $17k for an SV back in 2013 using our corporate “1% above invoice” plan… wow some “deal” there LOL.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I disagree with you on the Altima/Maxima (especially the Altima), but without opening up the multiverse there’ll never be a way to know.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I think you’re operating in the “internet car guy” bubble when you think Altima is thought of poorly.

          • 0 avatar
            bullnuke

            Hah! I remember Nissan’s “Corporate Partner” plan back when I worked for ein deutsche firma making e-coat, primer, and topcoat resins for their assembly plants in the US. I could easily beat any “price break” that those ridiculous plans offered.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    You are on the right path Corey, but help me understand the reasons for retaining Infiniti? Their are far more Nissan dealers than Infiniti first and foremost. Infiniti is the go to luxury rental car these days, more so than Cadillac so why bother? Move those R&D dollars back to Nissan, no one actually believes Nissan builds a luxury car do they?

    The Infiniti design language is far better than Nissan, easy to move those designs, temporarily, into Nissan nameplates and price them accordingly. This will get some people into the showrooms, preferably the ones with fico scores greater than 600. Of course some training will need to be done for the sales staff as they are used to having their customers fill out the credit app first, then they test drive the car the customer can buy.

    Corey, you are also spot on in dumping the GT-R and Z. Seriously, who would buy a GT-R today when the C8 is due to arrive soon? Even if a Chevrolet is not your jam, plenty of other sporty offerings are available for the same dough or less that are not nearly as dated…AMG, M, Porsche etc. As for the Z…words can not describe this car. Fat, slow, cramped, expensive, old; surely their is a redeeming quality about this car I am missing.

    • 0 avatar
      Mackie

      I also think Nissan should kill Infiniti. The brand will never be able to compete with the true luxury brands so what’s the point? Better to use the resources to make Nissan better.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think they’ll drop their luxury brand, just for how bad it would look; desperate. And Infiniti being premium is a good source for bettering Nissan parts. Imagine for a moment if the most premium pieces they had in the bin were Maxima ones!

        The Infiniti dealers are sad places though. Dunno how to fix that, because combining them with Nissan won’t work.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Infiniti is more relevant than ever because Nissan has moved downmarket (or the Koreans have moved upmarket…the effect is the same either way). Nissan is the company that actually sells the loss-leader pictured in the ad, plastic wheel covers and all…and makes up for it by snookering buyers into usurious financing. People who buy a Nice Car in order to Reward Themselves don’t want to be mistaken for the cleaning lady, or treated like her.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    SUV all the things. If Ford can sell truckloads of Eck-Oh Sports, which are objectively terrible in every way, Nissan can jack up cheap Mitsubishi platforms with low production costs and print money, especially if they can find a way to offer AWD in the smaller ones where Toyota (C-HR) and they (Kicks) currently do not. If they can also do the Hyundai (i.e., lots of features for less money) and make them not ugly, even better.

  • avatar
    Jon

    I would consider a diesel Armada for the family if the Cummins reliability issues are addressed and corrected. That combination would be a great family/RV hauler.

    I would also consider a diesel Frontier for myself if it came with a 8A or 6M and base level trim.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Simply put, Nissan needs to go back to what made them popular in the first place: Good cars, good trucks and a limited but varied product line; one vehicle in each size class.

    The difference today is that ICEVs are starting to fade. The Leaf is an excellent option in its size class but it needs to flat replace the Pulsar. The Sentra needs to look at remaining small but adopting electrification itself, perhaps as a hybrid. The Altima needs to disappear and bring back the Maxima–in both hybrid and BEV forms, to later go battery-electric exclusively. As for the trucks, they need to drop the Titan entirely and shrink the Frontier to something more reminiscent of the original Frontier–simply modernized. The Frontier currently splits the difference between the original compact and the modern mid-size, which really puts it in the worst of two markets as it doesn’t meet the requirements for either.

    But most of all, they need to update the drivetrains of all their vehicles to modern standards. They would get better performance and better economy across the board with an 8-10 speed transmission (especially automatic) and engines with at least 135 horses for their smaller vehicles and better than 200 horses for their larger ones. They’re within those ranges at least to some extent but the torque needs to come up too. In all actuality, the sports models have the kind of engineering needed in their lesser cars, just de-tune the engines and add hybrids for the sedans. That would probably work for the Frontier, as well. And they certainly don’t need SIX crossovers! The Rogue and Rogue Sport should be on the exact same body (preferably the Sport) while the Murano should simply disappear. That would eliminate the cost of two models and dropping the Armada would save even more.

    By eliminating seven models (clearly not the same ones as the author recommends), Nissan’s costs would drop and they would fit within their more popular classes. Nissan needs to keep its sporty models, though the 370Z convertible isn’t exactly needed, even if it is kind of a ‘halo’ car. The GT-R needs to stay for the racing, unless the 370Z can be made to fill that spot (which it did 30 years ago.) As for the Silvia mentioned, I believe that was once known as the 200X and to be honest, the 200 series needs to return as a low-end sporty coupe since all the other models are strictly 4 doors outside of the 370 and GT-R.

    Maybe the new models could be based on their concepts (really, 7 to 8 different concepts?) but those models need to carry the legacy names and fit within those legacy classes. Essentially, three sedans, three coupes, three crossovers and one truck.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    It’s unfortunate about Nissan. There was a time they could seemingly do no wrong when the 350Z and Murano were new products.

    A good chunk of their lineup is simply aged out and fallen behind.

    I feel the murano could be phased out. The rogue is adequate for that segment, maybe a slight increase in size.

    The Z has to either be killed or completely redesigned, maybe take a few model years off like the Camaro did or like the gap from 97-03.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “I feel the murano could be phased out. The rogue is adequate for that segment, maybe a slight increase in size.”

      Two very different feeling vehicles IMO. I used to think the same thing about the two-row “midsize” class (Murano, Edge, new Passport) as being redundant but having driven some of these cars I now get it. The Murano/Edge are much quieter, nicer riding, more powerful vehicles than the compact SUVs they share showroom space with that might match them on paper for cu. ft. of interior room/cargo room.

    • 0 avatar
      WalthamDan

      The Murano should have been Infiniti’s RX350 fighter. It has had a more upmarket image to it that never really seemed to fit with the Nissan portfolio.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Nah. The Murano name still has a certain cachet, and it’s still a for-real pretty nice car. The Rogue…no.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Nissan can’t be saved. Godzilla (also known as Toyota) is stomping Nissan into dust. Toyota has too much money, Nissan not enough.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Nissan will be around in the future, but on a smaller scale.

      Their strategic mistake IMO was that Nissan took the shotgun approach to marketing by having a vehicle on the market for every single demographic and segment, not excelling at any of them.

      This is in direct contrast to the marketing strategy of Toyota which provides a vehicle only for the “bread&butter” segments and a few specialty niches. The Solara, the FJ, the Venza, the Celica and the Supra all were culled from the herd because of corporate financial considerations, and many buyers/owners were sad to see them go.

      Nissan will be around in the future, but with a sparser lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Gotta say, I think Toyota has costcut themselves right to the edge of the Nissan abyss. I rented a RAV4 recently. It was an XLE, too. So this is the nicer version of the newest and supposedly best car in the most important market segment right now. Its newness showed in packaging efficiency; it was a roomy little sucker. But other than that? An utter snooze to drive. And Toyota Entune is of the devil himself (just license CarPlay and Android Auto, you cheap [email protected], so I can navigate to where I’m going).

      I’ve got to tell you, I rented a Mitsubishi Outlander SE the weekend before — a lower-trim example of the oldest and supposedly worst car in that segment — and across the board I preferred it. Softer ride, gentle feedback from nice light controls, multi-adjustable rear seat, seamless Android Auto, and–yes–a CVT, which I preferred to the Toyota’s stepped automatic in most scenarios. OK, the air conditioning was marginal and the seats moved slightly every time you accelerated, but even so.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt51

        The Outlander is very nice. It does have a good ride, and good seats. Usually one can get a big discount, so it costs less than the competition. I too would likely buy the Outlander over the RAV4.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I dont care about Nissan.
    I dont.

    If I were to buy a car, I d look at Toyota, Honda, Subaru. Quality and resale alone win this argument.

    My best friend has a 2 yr old Frontier. It is in the shop all the time. He wanted to keep it 10 years but is dumping it. Cant take the VW like service dept visits.

    I had the holy grail in the late 90.s the SE-R. Not impressed with the performance. Quality was not good. Many shop visits. MPG was ~23MPG. Not good for a tiny car.

    Nissan is off my list even tho my employer is a Nissan Supplier.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Advocating eliminating automotive choices seems to be a TTAC favorite passtime. Humbug.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Eliminating choices that nobody buys is what lowers costs for mfrs and helps them survive.

      • 0 avatar
        hpycamper

        Somebody is buying them, but not necessarily in big numbers. The money to develop them and the tooling to build them is already spent.
        And eliminating choices might not save money, but will eliminate some buyers. Eliminating colors, manual trans, etc. does have an impact on the decision to buy new vs used for some people, and the loss of a model will also have an impact.
        Less choices will mean less sales.

        • 0 avatar

          Dated models that sell in low numbers need to be dropped, so they don’t have to be updated and released anew. Stelreamlining saves money, and if you sell five GOOD models you’ll get more business than if you sell nine mediocre ones.

          • 0 avatar
            hpycamper

            Is there a solid history of auto companies being successful doing this? I’m not asking to be sarcastic, but I’d worked for a company (not auto) that streamlined itself out of existance.
            And it might be OK to sell 5 GOOD models and 4 mediocre ones. FCA is still selling Grand Caravans and Journeys. Maybe some of those buyers would have stepped up to the newer offerings, but I think a fair number would bought used without these models.
            More choices=more better.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not sure FCA is the company you want to proffer for financial success story. They’re very shaky right now, and have an ancient lineup. They’re avoiding the drain via Jeep and RAM.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Q: What happens when you have a GOOD model and let your design staff from ArtCenter College of Design and College for Creative Studies have a whack at it?

            A: You get a mediocre model.

            Repeat this cycle every 4-5 years, and after 4-5 cycles you can cancel entire swaths of your product portfolio.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Our 2013 Nissan is no where near the build quality of our 2014 Dodge. Yeah, let that sink in.

    The CVT in the Rogue isn’t the only thing bad about the car, but the most maddening. The limp home mode for getting hot when driving the mountains I can see, but Kansas? It is really difficult to pull out into traffic when your four pot can only turn 2800 rpm to avoid damage to the CVT. Has rattled since new. Bad seats (OK, everyone is built different, but it does not fit any of the four of us), bad sound system, horrible bluetooth integration.

    There would be no fixing Nissan for me after this car. There are too many other manufactures out there that make something better. Oh, and don’t be piping the engine sound through the sound system. That is a deal breaker.

    A lot of there stuff looks good on paper but turns out poorly executed.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Three letters:

    CVT

    Get rid of it and there’s a chance to have some semblance of a reliable vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I question just how unreliable CVTs are, and whether Nissan’s are really worse than anyone else’s. Nissan is the earliest mass producer of the things, so I had the impression they’re pretty worked out now. Maybe not fun to drive, but not grenading, either.

      Also, would you say the same thing to Toyota, Subaru, etc who are ramping up their use of CVTs?

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        See above, our CVT overheats in hilly places such as Kansas.

        It is OK around town, but a road trip it happens. I can see in the mountains, that is a lot of work for the poor thing.

        When checked, the dealer says this is normal.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      IBx1 – I tend to agree but possibly for a different reason than yours may be. The Jatco CVT’s used by Nissan some years ago were horrible and it would probably be prudent for Nissan to distance itself from them by introducing a “New! Reliable! (X)-speed Conventional DatsunGlide Automatic Transmission!”. This, over a suitable period of time, might help to wash away the bad taste left by those previously horrible Jatco CVT’s. CVT’s themselves, done correctly by other manufacturers, mostly perform as well as conventional automatics. Honda and Subaru CVT’s have proven very reliable.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    I recently purchased a Nissan here in Canada that is unobtanium for those of you in the US of A: the Micra. It’s a fabulous little car for the paltry sum of $10K Cdn and it even has its own racing series in Quebec and Ontario.

    So Nissan emails me a quality survey and one of the questions was overall how would you rate your Micra. I gave it a 10. The follow up question was how likely would you be to recommend Nissan to someone else. I gave that one a 5. The following question kind of caught me by surprise. It asked why I only gave Nissan a 5. My reply was “because Toyota”.

    I really hope I didn’t hurt their feeling.

  • avatar
    incautious

    CVT=JUNK

  • avatar
    MBella

    As far as I can tell, the only issue Nissan has product wise is the CVT. They just need to get rid of that. If there’s no money for a new trans, just buy it from Aisin or ZF. Other than that it’s not the product. The issue they have, is that there is no reason to buy one over a Honda, Toyota, Hyundai or Kia. They have to do something to give their customers better value then those other brands. The Koreans did it with a better warranty. That’s probably a start. You can’t really get a better price at Nissan. The dealers are terrible. They need to do something to set themselves apart and above their competitors.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Mr. Lewis does a fine job of assembling his “Fantasy Nissan” lineup. As in fantasy football however, there is too little accounting for budget, and for where it comes from.

    From my perspective, these dire straits require a more comprehensive rethink. Nissan must consider what kind of company it wishes to be. The honest among us will realize that they cannot retake the position they once held—-that is confidently held by the Koreans now…Nissan squandered that place and won’t earn it back in anything less than 30 years.

    As such, the whole enterprise must be refashioned. I believe it must:

    1) Identify and empower a technically competent yet visionary CEO. I believe this person must come from outside the Nissan enterprise, perhaps from outside the automotive realm. Think Japanese Alan Mulally

    2) The new CEO must then figure out Nissan’s corporate/global alliances and partnerships. Ghosen is history. I believe the Alliance he built is similarly history. Before anything else is considered, the disposition of the Alliance partners must be established. Where does Mitsu fit? What of the French?

    3) New CEO must then aggressively court new capital (private and/or Japanese public funds) to support the new business plan. I imagine the whole enterprise will necessarily be leveraged in this “hail Mary” effort to enable a resurgent Nissan.

    4) Plan the work, work the plan. Pray for world peace, calm economic winds, and not tsunamis!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @R Henry: In my opinion, that plan is guaranteed bankruptcy; the company can’t afford to stagnate its lines while attempting to do everything you recommend. It needs to move progressively while making those decisions in much the way Sergio Marccione did with Fiat/FCA. Oh, I’ll grant Marccione made mistakes by trying to make every Fiat look like every other Fiat (excepting the 124) but he did pull Fiat/FCA out of its hole by pulling platforms together rather than splitting everything into its own unique design. Nissan’s biggest problem is too many different platforms, even when shared with Mitsi and Renault. Trimming the total number of models would be a big help as well. There’s no need for six different CUVs (GM/Ford need to understand this as well), and more actual variety in cars–meaning coupes and sedans, not more of one vs the other– could make the brand more appealing.

      But most of all I have to agree with others here that the CVT has got to go. A great concept but is still incapable of handling excessive torque demands when you consider it is essentially a belt drive.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      ” The honest among us will realize that they cannot retake the position they once held—-that is confidently held by the Koreans now…Nissan squandered that place and won’t earn it back in anything less than 30 years.”

      There was something similar to this posted about the issues with GM that are happening right now. I really think the Koreans are out to displace the Japanese as the “universal car company”.

      We’ve witnessed their long march from licensed Ford and Mitsubishi designs to where they are today. I think their objective is to storm Toyota City and capture the flag.

      If Nissan (and by extension Mitsubishi) falls, Toyota will be there to scoop them up. But eventually there will be no more competitors to surround themselves with and they will have to face the Koreans alone.

      Any other brands that fail are just collateral damage.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        This true of a lot of things in Korea. After spending most of the 20th century under someone else’s thumb, they want to regain their pride. Especially if the Japanese are involved. Still a lot of animosity there.

        Several years ago I did some work at LG HQ in Seoul. On a company timeline on the wall, the acquisition of Zenith was bigger that most entries. Surpassing a competitor has been a big deal for them.

        Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. I’d rather deal with a company that is hungry for success, than one that’s resting on its past laurels.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I agree with most everyone else here that they need to move away from the CVTs which have seriously hurt their long-term image. They really need to look at both their 80’s and 90’s self and Honda’s recent product line for where to go. Slim it down, but offer everything 99% of people really need.

    Keep Kicks, Rogue, Altima. Qashqai could go either way, I don’t know how it’s selling but if it’s doing well keep it.

    Refresh or redesign the Murano.

    Redo the Sentra (agree with leveraging the French platforms) with a sedan and hatch variant.

    Work on getting the Frontier based on the new Navara ASAP, but the current one is still doing its job after all these years.

    Either drop the Versa since bargain basement is Mitsubishi’s niche, or use the French platforms to make it somewhat aspirational. Preferably drop it.

    Kill the current Maxima, but either keep the name for a trim on high-level Altimas as others have suggested, or use the name on one of the RWD sedans if Infiniti is culled.

    Kill the Leaf in its current form but keep the EV tech handy to use in other models. An EV compact crossover or an EV Murano should be near the top of the priority list.

    Kill the Titan and by extension the large commercial vans.

    I don’t know if they still make the small NV200 but if they do, keep it available for fleets and for the public if it’s profitable.

    Keep the Z around for a few more years. Nissan needs one sporty car, I’d say either develop a new Z that will either be cheaper or more upscale, or just rebadge the Infiniti Q50 Coupe as a Skyline and sell it in RWD and AWD versions.

    Kill the GT-R. It’s done it’s job. Make a new one in another decade or so as a last hurrah of hybrid tech when EVs are finally making them obsolete.

    Keep the Japanese-built Armada as long as it’s profitable, just like Toyota does with the LC.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …They really need to look at both their 80’s and 90’s self…

      Ummmm, no. Nissan was functionally bankrupt by the end of the 90s. Everyone seems to forget that.

    • 0 avatar
      NTGD

      Nitpicking, the Q50 is the sedan (which IS rebadged and sold as the Skyline in Japan funny enough), the coupe is the Q60 but please no rebadge give it unique styling!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Liquidate the business, and wind it down?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Blame General Motors, bailouts, and build a lot more Maximas.

    Wild, amazing success awaits!

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Bring back Carlos Goshn.

    *taking cover to avoid the onslaught of eggs and rotten tomatoes hurled in my direction*

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    Nissan, just keep these vehicles:
    Versa (the new one looks pretty good)
    Leaf (need commitment on that market, improve range and build on that brand)
    Altima
    Kicks (bring a 1.6T engine and manual transmission option)
    Rogue (add a 2.0T on top models)
    Murano
    Pathfinder (RWD platform, gas and hybrid options)
    Armada (bring a hybrid version, keep the V8)
    Frontier (NP300 add a few tweaks, manual and auto options)
    NV full size van (it’s a small but profittable market, only Ford and Mercedes are really competing)

    Add a sporty RWD coupe/convertible: I agree with Silvia or keeping the Z brand

    Keep CVT only on lower segments, don’t try to stuff such hot garbage on mid and full size vehicles. It just doesn’t work and screams cheap (not developing a better performing auto for such segments).

    Now, where is the QOTD about Acura?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Nissan needs to throw everything at fleets, fire up all the ovens, big rebates, but just temporarily until they can reinvent themselves. And get loans against their trademark names/brands, for the restructuring.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Nissan fans, I also need to ask…what about the Juke? That is still sold around the world, yet was removed from the US. Now we see mini-CUVs by almost all major automakers and they are EVERYWHERE. And after looking at the Honda and Toyota alphabet soup models, the Juke looks kind of tame next to them. Again, something Nissan could have fine-tuned, kept selling here, and been ahead of the curve instead of pulling a 370Z and letting it wither away.
    I looked it up and it seems that the rest of the world is still getting the same Juke sold since 2011. I’m thinking if there is a next version, bring it back to the US and Canada and drum up 50,000 or so more sales.

    • 0 avatar
      NTGD

      There will be a new Juke, it is due to be revealed September 3rd, whether or not it comes to US and Canada is something I haven’t heard anything about one way or the other. Don’t forget the Kicks Nissan didn’t leave us with no mini CUV they just switched them out. I don’t think the Kicks was originally intended for the U.S. and Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I’m largely ambivalent to Nissan, except to say that they don’t offer anything I can’t get elsewhere and sell largely CVTs which I don’t have any desire to drive. That said, the Juke was one of the things I would have driven, in an ironic way to be sure, but would have given me a chuckle every time.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    All the comments complaining about the CVTs are barking up the wrong tree. They give Nissan a fuel economy advantage and they’re more than reliable enough for the 84-month buyer. The problem is actually that NVH in the four-cylinder CVT cars needs work. With a six there is no problem.

    It’s boring, but the answer for Nissan is in relentless cost-cutting. In the US, they’ve made their bed as a brand with cheap prices and easy credit. Lean into it. Be what Hyundai used to be. Give people full features and a good warranty for a couple to a few thousand bucks less than the competition. Make financing easy for people with not completely terrible credit.

    I honestly don’t see a lot of changes necessary to the lineup. When it’s time for a new midsize sedan you could probably increase commonality between the Altima and Maxima. The Pathfinder needs an update yesterday, but the overall shape of the CUV lineup is correct.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I agree, others are using CVT without as many complaints. The root cause is the tuning and the NVH of the Nissan 2.5L (and smaller motors).

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Weeeelllll.

      The Nissan 3.5 certainly has NVH issues, with a heavy focus on the “N”

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Oddly enough, I’ve found that more true in Infiniti RWD applications than Nissan FWD ones. I’ve had Pathfinders, Muranos, and Maximas of the current generations as rental cars and I had no problem with the NVH in any of them.

        It may depend on driving style. The Nissan CVT punishes lead-footed behavior and I’m usually a pretty light-footed driver.

    • 0 avatar
      A Scientist

      Agreed. FWIW, my wife has a 2013 Murano w/ 3.5L V6 and CVT. 108k miles, not a single problem with it whatsoever. It’s been a great vehicle with a smooth ride. In terms of NVH, I just haven’t seen it. If I was honest I would argue that my own 2013 Equinox w/ 3.6L V6 and 6-speed auto is worse for NVH, although it’s still not bad. I also agree that if you’re a light-footed driver, you won’t notice.

      I know, anecdote =/= data, but that’s been our experience.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    The same way Hyundai and Kia solved their problems. Start with one model and get it right and move to the next and sell what sells to make a profit.

    I won’t even buy a CVT – nor would I buy and automatic – and if no manual transmissions are made, I’ll buy another used car or fix the one I have so it runs 10 or more years.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Nissan has all sorts of problems, and they haven’t had a must-have product since they stopped calling them Datsuns. That being said, the easiest thing to fix would be Infiniti’s naming ‘convention.’ A few years ago, I had a couple of friends who were happy Infiniti drivers. They leased G35s and G37s, turning them in every couple of years. I haven’t seen any new Infinitis around since they smurfed up the model names. It’s just as well, since I wouldn’t have a clue what he meant if one of my friends or neighbors told me that he had a new Q60 or QX42 or whatever they call them now.

  • avatar
    car_whisperer

    Plan is to cut the bloat and electrify!

    Sedans
    -Drop the Versa from the lineup.
    -Make Altima the “flagship” petrol sedan with new 8-speed auto with e-power. ditch the CVT
    -Make the Maxima a Tesla Model 3 competitor by electrifying it based on the IMS concept

    CUVs
    -Armada dropped from lineup.
    -Pathfinder grows in size and goes back to it’s roots of body on frame.
    -Murano goes all EV and becomes a Tesla Model Y competitor
    -Xterra returns as body on frame 2-row option
    -Rogue drops CVT for 8-speed Automatic. NISMO version and Pro-4X “light” version
    -Kicks stays the same with a slight increase in power
    -Rogue Sport changes name

    Trucks
    -Frontier gets ground up redesign and twin turbo engine option on top trims. Nismo version and Pro-4X gets lift kit and meaty tires from the factory
    -Titan is dropped from the lineup

    Sports Cars
    -370Z and GTR are dropped
    -Skyline makes a return as a more affordable lifted 2 door coupe with e-power

    EVs
    -Maxim = Model 3 (see above)
    -Murano = Model Y (see above)
    -Leaf = affordable EV hatch on upcoming EV platform with liquid cooled batteries finally.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Armada dropped from lineup.”

      FWIW I think it’s not much effort on Nissan’s part to federalize a vehicle like this that is already being made for other markets, and can be sold with a heady profit with just a bit of gingerbread. Same reason we get the Land Cruiser, LX570, GX460 here on our shores. Sunk costs already spread across a global market.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The only question is how much can they be making on a half-priced Land Cruiser?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          A fair point and I do wonder the same. It’s a LOT of nicely put together Japanese parts for the money. I test drove an ex-rental SV with the fantastically soft cloth seats and was smitten. I miss that style of upholstery that has been cost cut from American-ized Japanese cars.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I like your electrification ideas, but to have a prayer of succeeding, Nissan would have to go all in on battery production, and bring it in-house.

      The early Leaf program showed promise, but Nissan has fumbled it since the beginning. Now they’re outsourcing battery production, which will only hurt their costs.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see them making such a commitment (like building a multi-billion dollar Gigafactory) only to achieve slim to zero margins on fleet-wide EVs while the rest of the ship is sinking. VW can afford to take the gamble.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Nissan is the highest rung up on the Japanese (partially European, also) red headed step child of Japan’s auto industry, with Mitsubishi and Suzuki below even it.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Nissan is the highest rung up on the Japanese (partially European, also) red headed step child ladder of Japan’s auto industry, with Mitsubishi and Suzuki below even it.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Corey, I like the idea of this post very much – thank you.

    And now we see why the automotive business is hard (replying to all, not just Corey).
    – Many of the plans described here ignore electrification.
    – If ‘wholesale’ powertrain revisions are adopted, development/ramp-up/changeover will take some time and investment.
    – Emissions/Regulatory requirements/revisions add another layer of complexity.
    – A winning plan must yield a profitable portfolio 36-48 months from now, but must also bridge successfully from today to then. (See my comments elsewhere on Pontiac portfolio profitability pre-shutdown.)
    – Even a perfect plan is subject to execution risk, unintended consequences, unforeseen circumstances (e.g., recession) and competitive response.

    Good luck to us all.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I need a real Sentra SE-R to put Nissan on the radar. Not that BS they have now.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Corey – I agree with every one of your recommendations, except killing off the Kicks. The Kicks is a cheery car, except for the CVT.

    The Leaf needs to die, and Nissan needs to *finally* come out with a proper water-cooled battery with an interesting package around it – Sentra, as you suggest, and a much larger vehicle as well. Nine model years in, and Nissan still doesn’t have a respectable EV design.

    Nissan should abandon the CHAdeMO charging protocol, and partner with Tesla to use their Supercharger network for a price. The existing Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi EV base could purchase an adapter to enable Supercharging on their vehicles, and new products could be fitted with the Tesla receptacle. This would move the world a step closer to a universal quick DC charging protocol.

    And:
    1. Break up the R/N/M alliance.
    2. Bring back Carlos Ghosn.

  • avatar
    CrystalEyes

    A rather more limited and personal perspective here, but my interest and enthusiasm for a brand arises from a ‘gateway’ product. With Nissan that was the 240Z up until the 300ZX. These were exciting and desirable cars to me, ones that I got to occasionally drive and could reasonably hope to own. The 350Z soured that for me, with styling that turned me off (understatement). I owned a Nissan when they were still called Datsun, back when my budget made styling optional and reliability essential. That old car (B210) was utterly reliable and not even that terrible to drive (did you know the B210 2dr coupe had a near perfect 51/49 percent weight distribution?) That ownership experience and the 240Z made me like Nissan a lot. Nissan had plenty of weird and ugly designs back then, but nothing compared to more recent eyesores (1st gen Leaf, Cube, Juke). Point is, for me to be at all interested in a manufacturer, they need to have at least one vehicle I genuinely covet, that is within my reach (e.g. Toyota 86, Miata, CRX). Friends and family had/have these cars, and their enthusiasm and my interest in them extended to other vehicles from these manufacturers. A new and more attractive Z car could do it, if it was what I consider reasonably priced (GT-R, Supra need not apply). Without such a car, the detailed line-ups that others have suggested does nothing to elevate Nissan in my estimation. Again, not making a business case here, just making a personal observation about what makes a manufacturer seem exciting and desirable to me. Also, I’ve spent many hours behind the wheel of a Cube with the CVT, and it’s not doing the brand any favours.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    What I know about Nissan and local dealerships:

    Before I purchased a 2018 Mazda 6 Reserve, I was test driving every sedan under the sun for almost a year.

    I could not find a 2018 Altima with the 6 cylinder in a 500 mile radius back in March/April last year.

    I test drove last fall a Maxima. To get the options I wanted the car listed for about 41K and average selling price was 35K, which was 3-4K more than the Mazda I purchased.

    Toward the end of 2018, after the 2019 Altimas had hit the lots, I could not find a 2.0T Altima in a 500 mile radius. Many publications really seemed to like the new updated Altima with the 2.0T. Just a cursory look shows 3 Altimas in a 500 mile radius with the 2.0T.

    So dealerships/Nissan won’t even keep the model that the publications really seemed to like in stock.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    Start selling Datsuns! Use the Ddatsun brand to rebuild. Make sure they have the old Datsun reliability.

    Make new 1600s (510).
    Make new 240Z, with an inline 6.
    Make those little reliable 620 pickups. They looked cool.
    Make fullsize Patrol pickups.
    Make the 1200 two door fastbacks.

    Renault destroyed Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I could agree with everything you said… except for the last sentence. Nissan’s problems started before Renault; that’s why they went to Renault for help. Renault has a surprisingly good reputation in Europe, as compared to here in the US, and Nissan is part of why that Reputation is where it is.

      I have to agree with most here that the CVT is an issue–as I’ve said before, it’s essentially a belt drive and that pretty much guarantees wear issues, especially in high-torque demand conditions which are more prominent in larger cars and hilly geography. But a chain-drive CVT would be even worse with noise and wear. The best drive choices, therefore, would be either electric drive without a transmission or, as some are suggesting, a 2-speed transmission. Done right, a simple dog-tooth shifter without all the complexity of today’s multi-speed transmissions could probably fit right on the driven axles without the need for a longitudinal driveshaft.

      So Nissan has made their own mistakes. Ghosn turned Nissan around, granted, but when you look at his history he did it by cost cutting everywhere he could, even if it meant sacrificing reliability. Those CVTs were almost certainly his idea to use economy of scale to have every vehicle use the same drivetrain as much as possible. As for the rest as far as Ghosn is concerned—well, I don’t believe he is ‘most respected’ any more.

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar
    Safeblonde

    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.


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