It seems to be a prime week for frightening headlight arrangements. Following all hands being turned to stone after casting their eyes upon the LT-trimmed 2020 Silverado HD, we learn this Italdesign creation will be entering production next year.
Dubbed the “Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign,” it’s obviously based upon the R35 GT-R. In addition to its alarming front fascia, the company has also upped the power ante to 710 horses.
And, oh yeah – it’ll set you back a cool million.
He won’t have to travel far. Carlos Ghosn, who was booted as Nissan chairman following his November 19th arrest in Tokyo, will reportedly be re-arrested on a new claim of financial misdealings.
The new allegations, which also involve underreported income, give Japanese authorities what they’ve been looking for — more time with which to lay formal charges. Under the current extension granted late last week, Ghosn would have to walk free on December 10th. If re-arrested, it’ll mean a meager Christmas for the industry giant.
Fallen auto industry magnate Carlos Ghosn can stay in a Tokyo detention center for another 10 days, following an extension approved Friday by Japanese authorities. Arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of underreported income and other potential financial crimes, Ghosn will be released on December 10th if authorities fail to lay charges — though no one expects that to happen.
Despite their disagreement on how the Ghosn affair should be handled, the three automakers Ghosn once reigned over have put forward a unified front. We’re all good, the chummy Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance claims.
I’m old — I just turned forty. The Z is also old. It will be fifty in about a year. Thus, the Heritage Edition 2019 Nissan 370Z tested here isn’t a misnomer — there is plenty of heritage in the various generations of the first Japanese sports car to make a serious impact in the American market.
As far as I know, there is no Heritage Edition Chris available.
But is the latest 370Z still relevant in a market increasingly edging away from sports cars? Or does heritage simply mean washed up?
Mitsubishi Motors, which joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2016, voted unanimously to drop Carlos Ghosn as its chairman Monday, just a week after the executive’s arrest on suspicion of financial misdealings.
According to CEO Osamu Masuko, who now dons the title of interim chairman, it was an “agonizing decision.” For Ghosn, the agony has just begun. Currently housed in a Tokyo jail awaiting formal charges, the industry titan ended last week by seeing the company he ran for 15 years, Nissan, oust him as chairman. Renault hasn’t made a decision as to the fate of its CEO.
While Ghosn is accused of underreporting his income in the early part of the decade, a Japanese newspaper has shed light on another alleged misdeed.
As expected, Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn ended the week with fewer titles than when he started. The automaker’s board of directors voted to remove the executive, instrumental in creating the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance powerhouse, on Thursday, just three days after his arrest on suspicion of under-reported income and misuse of company assets.
The move came as Renault, which hasn’t made decision on whether to remove Ghosn as CEO, found itself at loggerheads with its alliance partner. The French automaker urged caution in the matter, perhaps fearing that Ghosn was the glue holding everything together.
Disgraced industry phenom Carlos Ghosn, who still holds the title of Nissan chairman and Renault CEO (though likely not for long), could remain in custody for some time as Japanese authorities take their time in laying charges.
The news of Ghosn’s arrest amid allegations of severely underreported income fell like a hammer Monday morning, shaking the stocks of the automakers Ghosn guided since their tie-up at the end of the last century. From an opulent private jet to a sparse Tokyo jail cell, the auto titan’s journey this week surprised everyone.
We’re weeks, probably months, perhaps years or even decades from learning what went down in Nissan’s Yokohama executive suite over the last few days, weeks, and months.
Nissan’s departed boss, Carlos Ghosn, who has not yet been forced out at Renault – a fact that’s certainly subject to change at any given moment – faces the prospect of prolonged jail time.
On the one hand, the harshest observers will point to CEO Syndrome, an above-the-law belief and a sense of invincibility, that precipitated a turn to horrifying criminal behaviour. At the other end of the spectrum, there will be others who see a coordinated corporate coup d’état.
Regardless of where the early verdicts land, based as they typically are on limited information and scant evidence, on this all analysts can agree: Nissan’s turnaround during Ghosn’s 19-year tenure was monumental.
These are the numbers behind the transformation.
Carlos Ghosn, the globe-straddling executive behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the resurrection of Mitsubishi Motors, has reportedly been arrested in Japan following a whistleblower-prompted investigation into financial irregularities.
In a statement, Nissan said Ghosn and board director Greg Kelly allegedly violated Japanese financial laws by under-reporting compensation levels for years, all part of an apparent plot to hide Ghosn’s actual level of compensation. The automaker will move to remove Ghosn, thus ending a long and successful era of governance.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), like the fictional “phone cops” of WKRP fame, seem to be everywhere in that country, keeping tabs on everyone’s every move. As we told you last month, in the UK, commercials are not even allowed to show frustrated office workers getting behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang, even if they’re shown driving sedately once the car leaves the garage. Dangerous influences lurk everywhere.
Britain’s ad cops are at it again, only this time there’s some meat on the bones of the complaint. Automakers often play fast and loose when it comes to describing the capabilities of autonomous vehicle functions, but electric vehicles are another area fraught with potential misleading info. Throw pricing and fuel economy into that group, too. Nissan recently ran afoul of ASA watchdogs after one of its ads suggested owners could partly recharge their vehicles in a hurry. Of course, this is technically a true statement.
What resulted was essentially a battle over the word “could.”
The Rare Rides series has explored once before what happens when a Japanese manufacturer designs a modern car with retro appeal, when we covered the little-known Toyota Origin. Today we take a look at something else in the new-but-retro category. It’s a Nissan Pao, from 1990.
With governments everywhere attempting to reduce powerplant emissions while simultaneously moving the teeming masses out of ICE vehicles and into electric cars, an energy brick wall quickly approaches. You’re faced with a situation where more people are drawing more power from the grid, but — for environmental or financial reasons — generating more power is out of the question.
In Germany, one solution is to get those EV drivers to stop what they’re doing and plug back into the grid, allowing the contents of their just-filled batteries to flow back into the plug it came from. Goodbye, brownouts. Possibly. If the solution seems odd and potentially self-defeating, it is, but the country’s government just approved the Nissan Leaf for exactly this use.
At Nissan, all eyes are on the vastly revamped 2019 Altima, currently trickling onto dealer lots with a revolutionary variable compression four-cylinder under some hoods and available all-wheel drive. A very different roll-out is underway north of the border.
All of the hubbub surrounding Nissan’s new midsizer doesn’t leave much oxygen in the room for the model’s slightly larger sibling, the Maxima. Confused in identity for about the past two decades, the Maxima doesn’t enter 2019 unchanged. There’s styling and content tweaks afoot, though you’ll have no trouble spotting the 2019 Maxima after its launch at the L.A. Auto Show next month.
These days, I find many discarded Nissan Z-Cars from the 280Z through 300ZX eras, with the occasional 240Z or 260Z thrown in to add variety. 350Zs, though, have retained sufficient value to evade the high-inventory-turnover self-service yards where I get most of my Junkyard Finds… until now. Just as BMW Z3s and Mazda RX-8s began showing up in these yards a couple of years back, the 350Z’s time in the U-Wrench-It yards has come.
Here’s the first (but not the last) of the 350Zs to appear in my local U-Pull-&-Pay yard in Denver.
Nissan did Leaf fans a favor when it upped the model’s driving range to 151 miles for 2018, a healthy increase from the previous generation’s 107 miles. Still, 151 miles falls well short of the industry’s nice-sounding gold standard of 200 miles — the figure to beat (or at least reach) for most automakers. With range like the new Leaf’s, long-distance travel remains complicated, inconvenient, and perhaps even impossible.
It’s no secret that Nissan plans to offer an upgraded battery next year, but just how much extra cash you’ll need for that 60 kWh model remained a mystery. Until now.
Midway through my drive in the 2019 Nissan Altima, I was ready to pronounce it a bit “meh” – decidedly improved over the previous-generation car, but lacking in verve. That’s been a Nissan hallmark of late – a conservatism has descended upon the brand, taking out of some of the sportier cachet it was once known for.
Instead, we’ve been getting good-looking vehicles that cruise the highway just fine but lack a little bit of charm and character. This, from the brand that once called a large sedan a four-door sports car with a straight face?
My outlook changed a bit after we left lunch behind. Pulling out of the parking lot of one of California’s myriad beaches, I punched it to get up to speed. The acceleration from the 2.0-liter variable-compression turbocharged four-cylinder wasn’t life-changing or anything of the sort – we’re talking about a mid-size sedan, here, remember – but it was enough to make me remember, for the umpteenth time, that power cures a lot of ills.
It’s the third high-profile midsize sedan launch in a year, and Nissan’s pretty confident that this — THIS — is the one that’s really going to turn the declining segment around. Or so U.S. chairman Denis Le Vot claim s. In our first drive review of the all-new 2019 Altima, scheduled for Friday morning, we’ll ponder if this revamped sedan and its revolutionary new engine makes for a worthy challenger to Toyota’s segment-leading Camry and the somewhat lagging Honda Accord.
Meanwhile, north of the border, Nissan Canada is busy preparing its own launch. We’ve discussed some of the similarities and glaring discrepancies between the two vehicle markets before, but for the 2019 Altima, the gap between the U.S. vehicle and Canadian one is vast. Maybe it has something to do with optimism vs. realism.
Despite a public hell-bent on buying trucks and crossovers, Nissan is boldly continuing to forge paths and spend money in the sedan and subcompact categories. As Tim noted earlier this week, the company’s optimism in those segments comes at an interesting time.
We can now chalk another one up in the small car department for Nissan, by way of the 2019 Nissan Versa Note. This diminutive little hatch wears clothes that differ greatly from its sedan brother, a trait for which it should be thankful.
Just the other day, Steph wrote about Nissan executive Denis Le Vot’s optimism that sedans will rebound from the current doldrums. Only 30 percent of U.S. vehicle sales in August were passenger cars.
Le Vot cited market research suggesting Generation Z loves the body style, as well as interest rate growth that could drive younger buyers towards sedans, as opposed to pricier crossovers.
The Nissan North America chairman mentioned a revamp of Nissan’s “core sedans” by 2020. The first step in that direction involves the venerable Altima, the next generation of which was unveiled in New York earlier this year, adding all-wheel drive, a new available engine, and new tech.
Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio represent the high-dollar sports car that doesn’t quite make it into supercar territory. They’re very expensive, yet among other extra-fast vehicles in the six-figure segment, they’re considered relatively good value.
This makes them all oddballs; none ever burn up the sales charts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire.
Nissan recently announced pricing for the 2019 Pathfinder and, if you’re inclined toward something smaller and greener, the Leaf. While the Pathfinder sees a modest increase in pricing, the Leaf trots onward with its current MSRP unchanged.
The 2019 Nissan Leaf S retains its former $30,795 base price, which incorporates a $895 destination fee. However, depending on where you live, there’s federal and state tax credits to reward your virtuous decision to purchase an electric vehicle. If you’re worried about snagging that deal before Nissan hits 200,000 cumulative sales of plug-in autos, don’t be. Leaf sales stagnated over the last three years, leaving you with at least another 12 months before you’ll have to start tugging on your collar.
In the lead-up to the current-generation Toyota Camry’s launch in late summer, 2017, company brass predicted this model would change things. This Camry, in addition to the new-for-2018 Honda Accord and redesigned 2019 Nissan Altima, would arrest the segment’s downward plunge, said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s U.S. VP of marketing. He predicted a sales increase in 2018.
Well, while the Camry is more than likely drawing more buyers from a shrinking pool, the segment has not grown in 2018. The sales surge that followed the 2018 Camry’s release didn’t last, with the model posting declining year-to-date sales starting in July.
It seems there’s a severe lack of optimism in the segment, and with good reason. But Nissan North America chairman Denis Le Vot isn’t having any of it. The decline stops riiiiight now, he predicts.
Not concerned with offering all-wheel drive, Nissan’s recently launched Kicks subcompact knows its ground clearance, styling, and low, low entry price is what customers will take notice of, not its perceived off-road prowess. It doesn’t have any (though on dry and flat boulder-free trails, it would probably do fine).
After Nissan unveiled its pricing in the U.S. and Canada, we noticed that the normal north-of-the-border markup was missing in action. As a result, buying a base Kicks S in Canada is just eight bucks pricier than an American purchase ($17,998 vs. $17,990). Both Canada and the U.S. love their big trucks, I said at the time, but this little ute will do better north of the border.
It’s always nice to be proven right.
Nissan is recalling roughly 166,000 vehicles due to an ignition switch issue that could cause the vehicle’s engine to shut off while driving. The automaker said 153,000 of the recalled units are in the United States, with another 13,000 in Canada.
Hoping to stave off additional problems before the matter can be resolved, Nissan has requested that drivers remove all objects from their vehicle’s keyring (extra keys, comically heavy keychains, etc). According to Transport Canada, select Nissan vehicles equipped with a mechanical key ignition system utilize a spring that could wear and break, allowing the ignition to inadvertently move from the on position to the accessory position. Obviously, that’s not the kind of surprise you want while navigating a particularly tricky piece of road.
Sometimes one just has to appreciate the complete absurdity of a vehicle. The never-ending available horsepower in the current pony car wars, for example. The over-the-top quilted interior of the limited-run Bentley Continental GT3-R. And then we have the 2018 Nissan Armada, which is completely and totally ridiculous in its own right.
It’s substantially bigger than anybody could ever possibly need it to be. It’s superfluously more expensive than any Nissan has a right to be (come at me, GT-R fanbois). The engine is more forceful than you’ll ever require it to be.
But I kinda like it anyway. At least, I think I do.
Nissan may have discontinued the North American-market Juke earlier this year, but the model remains a popular item in the European market, dating back to its 2010 debut. There, its polarizing looks and role as an enjoyable to drive city car helped keep the model relevant.
As even the freshest of takes can get stale after seven years, the Juke is due for a redesign. But will Nissan change the formula to give the small crossover broader appeal, or will weirdness, once again, rule the day? Considering Americans no longer have to contend with its quirks, as we have the subcompact Kicks working as its replacement, there’s real no reason for the brand to pull any punches. Likewise, Nissan global design boss Alfonso Albaisa’s description of the second-generation model promises anything but an average automobile.
John Kerry was in the news a lot when the current-generation Nissan Frontier debuted in the United States. The TV series 24 was a hot item, CNN’s rating were through the roof, social media wasn’t really a thing, and your author sported long, flowing locks.
Suffice it to say that the Frontier is old, and 2004 was better than today. Still, Nissan apparently feels no pressing need to revamp its little pickup, preferring to see it serve as the entry point of the entire midsize pickup segment. The benefit for buyers is that the mainly unchanged 2019 Frontier keeps its bargain basement floor price.
Peaking sharply in 2015, domestic sales of Nissan’s Versa slipped as North America pivoted toward crossover vehicles. While that’s normally a shame, there isn’t a lot of praise to heap upon the model. But is certainly is cheap!
Upgraded in the middle of 2018 to include a standard rear-view camera, along with a 7.0-inch color touchscreen, audio streaming via Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, a USB connection, new speakers, and — get this — an auxiliary input, Nissan intends to further improve the model for with the SV Special Edition package. However, bargain hunters might rejoice, as the model’s overall pricing will enter 2019 nearly unchanged.
That’s $12,360 (plus a $895 destination fee) for what is inarguably a new car. Hardware includes a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual, offering impressive fuel economy and absolutely nothing else.
A reader sent us a link to a Mexican handling test of Nissan’s new, front-drive Kicks crossover, and one glimpse of the vehicle’s “moose test” will have you on your knees, thanking the deity of your choice for electronic safety nannies.
We all know that high-riding vehicles suffer from an inherent top-heaviness, born of a high center of gravity and compounded by long suspension travel. As SUVs grew in popularity in the ’90s, a slew of alarming videos arose showing popular SUVs flipping or riding on two wheels while swerving sharply to avoid a object, then recovering. The moose test is the ultimate test of a vehicle’s stability, and it’s the test most likely to see a tall vehicle — thanks to rapid weight transfer — roll more than it yaws. Sometimes with disastrous results.
The advent of electronic stability control was a godsend for these types of vehicles, helping overcome much of the roll and yaw, but, while it’s mandated in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, in some markets it’s absent from certain models or trim levels. Take a look at what happens without it.
The phrase “Nisan just built its one-millionth Juke” would probably be the first question on a Voight-Kampff test for automotive lovers residing in North America. The information is totally incompatible with everything you thought you understood about the world around you, and processing it begins scrambling your brain as you frantically hunt for an escape from it. An open window? The sweet release of death?
Relax. While the news is scary and difficult to comprehend, don’t forget that there is an entire world out there with a populace that’s not subject to the same predilections as ours. The Juke may have been too funky to become a massive hit in the United States and Canada, but it had a few good years and Nissan planted seeds all across the globe.
Japanese sales of the model almost matched the U.S., despite having a comparatively minuscule population. Volume also exceeded expectations in Europe, and China has a weird luxury version of the Juke called the Infiniti ESQ. But it wasn’t a good fit for North America and sales suffered as a result, forcing Nissan to call in the Kicks as the Juke’s successor after annual deliveries started plunging a few years ago.
Nissan launched the GT-R as successor to the high-performance Skyline variant of the same name. Considering the old platform’s reputation as a giant slayer, expectations were incredibly high, but Nissan surpassed them when it launched the GT-R in 2007. The following year, “Godzilla” reached American shores to embarrass most everything on four wheels — getting a little faster every year until it plateaued around 2013.
While still one of the quickest vehicles most people will ever lay their chapped and quivering hands upon, the R35 GT-R is no longer impervious to counterattacks and remains fairly expensive. It’s also getting very old. A technological marvel when it debuted, the GT-R has lost its edge and has gone from a totally unbelievable sports car to one that’s just stunningly impressive.
Nissan can’t have that.
Many years ago, back when full-on electric cars were rare oddities, I drove an early first-generation Nissan Leaf in power-sapping Eco mode. It was, to this day, the slowest vehicle I have ever driven. The driver of a 1980s Tercel with a three-speed automatic could have handed me my ass in a stoplight drag race.
That was then, and this is now. The second-gen Leaf, which bowed for 2018, offers buyers 142 horsepower and a generous helping of low-end electric grunt to go with their 151 miles of range. But there’s another beast arriving for 2019 that should satisfy those looking for more miles and more horses.
After Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal came under public scrutiny, numerous industry analysts prophesied it would not be an isolated incident. Cheating had been done in the past, and would likely continue into the future. In fact, numerous experts claimed every major automotive manufacturer probably engaged in illicit behavior to some degree. With so many laws and employees who may be interested in shirking them, it’s bound to happen time and time again.
On Monday, Nissan Motor Co. admitted it improperly measured exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan. Late last year, Nissan and Subaru both confessed that they had allowed uncertified technicians to conduct finial vehicle inspections. Initially, the issue seemed like a harmless oversight, but in some cases the failing went unnoticed for decades, resulting in falsified data as a way to cut corners. Both Mitsubishi Motors and Suzuki admitted in 2016 that they exaggerated the fuel economy of their vehicles by cheating on tests.
Some of you might have read our first-drive review of the subcompact Nissan Kicks out of simple curiosity, knowing that the vehicle would never find its way into your driveway. And that’s fine.
For myself and others, the Kicks holds more interest simply because of what it is — a lightweight, unpretentious, fuel efficient addition to the crossover space with a very low starting price. Low enough to serve as an effective alternative to thrifty compact or subcompact car buyers. North of the border, that entry price ($17,998, eight bucks more than U.S. MSRP) is four grand less than a base, front-drive, three-cylinder Ford EcoSport. In the States, it’s two grand less.
With the front-drive-only Kicks now available in both countries, its sales performance will be interesting to watch. Actually, it already is.
A report in a Japanese business publication claims the partnership that gave us the Infiniti QX30 crossover — built on the same MFA platform as the Mercedes-Benz GLA — won’t yield a compact Infiniti luxury car, as was planned.
This isn’t a case of bad blood between the two automakers, however. The United States just isn’t a ripe target for such a vehicle anymore, apparently, and the vastly uncertain trade situation doesn’t help.
Over the past seven weeks, we’ve spent time filling the various sections of our Crapwagon Garage with the sort of vehicles only a true connoisseur of cheap can appreciate. This eighth edition in the series is the last we have planned, unless one of you enterprising members of the commentary can think of some style of vehicle the series missed.
Otherwise, we wrap up the series with some convertibles. Many of you have been holding onto your convertible selections for about three weeks, as when we covered coupes all drop-tops were specifically off-limits. Now’s your chance to let loose and
take off your top talk about convertibles.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn is busy trying to convince shareholders of Nissan and Mitsubishi stock that Renault isn’t aiming to take over its Japanese partners. It’s proving to be no easy task.
While Ghosn has been clear of late that a merger isn’t in the works, he’s simultaneously adamant that the relationship between the companies must become “irreversible” before he retires from the industry in 2022.
Three decades ago, video games could only offer the vaguest approximation of driving. Things are very different today. While a lot of modern software still forgoes realism for the sake a fun, simulators have grown in popularity and are becoming incredibly realistic. Real tracks are built to scale, weather effects have meaning, and automobiles behave in a faithful manner. Gamers can even swap their gamepads for honest-to-god cockpits.
Racing simulators have become so effective that Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy program is now in its eighth year. The event pits thousands of gamers against each other in order to find some they can put behind the wheel of an actual race car. Players then receive additional simulator and on-road training before being allowed to compete in legitimate races.
While we could endlessly debate how well video game skills translate to actual racing, they do provide gamers with an opportunity to learn the tracks and sharpen reaction times. They’ve certainly proven competitive enough for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile to sanction virtual racing leagues.
Whether the buying public likes it or not, there’s a tsunami of electrified powertrains headed for U.S. shores. Automakers the world over hope to beat their rivals in the race to a “fully electrified” lineup, which just means there’ll be — at a minimum — a hybrid variant in each model line.
It’s far less sexy than headlines make it sound. Still, if you’re into technology and saving money at the pumps (not necessarily at the dealer), it’s hot stuff. Nissan’s taking an unconventional route in this race, forgoing a conventional hybrid setup for an inexpensive stopgap solution all its own.
The system, called e-Power, is already a hit in Japan. But before it makes its way into high-end Nissan products (read: Infiniti), it first needs to upsize the system for American-sized vehicles travelling at American-sized speeds. That’s not as easy as it sounds.
It appears as if Carlos Ghosn will step down as chief executive of Renault prior to the end of his term. While he’ll likely continue serving as chairman of Renault and CEO and chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, he’s planning to lighten his load with the French automaker.
Despite having renewed his contract with Renault, which runs until 2022, the 64-year-old executive previously said he’s wearing too many hats. Ghosn stated at the time that he hoped to scale back his workload before retiring. Apparently, the next step in that process involves ditching his day-to-day duties as a chief executive.
Has it really been five years since I rented and tested the previous Nissan Maxima? Well, as Natalie Merchant once said about children, “At your age / in a string of days / the year is gone.” That less-than-maximum Max was, in my opinion anyway, the worst Maxima ever.
Is there anybody out there who expected anything more than mediocrity from the current Maxima, despite the in-your-face styling, despite that hugely evocative Super Bowl ad? I doubt it. The five-year gap between my last go-round with a big Nissan sedan shrinks to insignificance when compared to the three-decade gap that separates today and the introduction of the first (and last) first-rate automobile to bear this particular nameplate.
Here’s the good news: The new one’s better than the old one, and the one before that. It counts as a pleasant surprise in a business which is increasingly bereft of such consolations. All you need to appreciate this car is the proper perspective, which we’ll triangulate based on two historical points: the first-generation Datsun 810 “Maxima”, and the Renault Laguna.
The subcompact crossover class may possibly offer more varieties of flavor than most. Not in terms of available models, but in types of mission for each model.
You have rugged off-roaders (Jeep Renegade), quirky runabouts (Toyota CH-R, Kia Soul), jack-of-all-trades (Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona), urban scooters (Chevy Trax/Buick Encore, Ford EcoSport), tall wagons (Subaru Crosstrek), and now the Nissan Kicks.
Nissan employees will quickly correct you if you assert the Kicks is a replacement for the company’s previous entry in this segment, the Juke, which is no longer on sale in North America (but remains available in other markets across the globe). They’ll tell you the Juke was/is aimed at a different customer than the Kicks.
That may or may not be true, but if it is, it also evades at least two other truths about the Juke – it was too weird and too pricey for our market.
Enter the Kicks. Although it still has plenty of quirky details and styling, the overall look and feel is much more conventional. And the price tag is much, much lower than not just the Juke, but some of the key competitors.
It seems like lately I’ve developed a habit of reviewing vehicles on the verge of being replaced by a brand new generation. And by habit, I mean one review. But it seemed fitting when the local Enterprise location handed me keys to a “Full Size” and it turned out to be the soon-to-depart, current-generation Nissan Altima.
With a new Altima already unveiled, promising more/better/faster everything, is there anything to miss about the outgoing model? After a week living with one, I can definitely say there might be.
Managing Editor Tim Healey is currently behind the wheel of a new, subcompact 2018 Nissan Kicks in the unlikely and extravagant first drive locale of Southern California, but you aren’t allowed to know how it drives until Friday. Stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, you’re allowed to know exactly how much Nissan’s entry-level crossover costs, and guess what? There’s a value proposition at work. Mind you, there’s no all-wheel drive availability with this little model, which could take it right off many buyers’ must-have list, but Nissan clearly wants to appeal to the cost-conscious consumer who shuns steep and muddy terrain and doesn’t live in the depths of the snow belt.
Less than a year away from its 10th birthday, Nissan’s 370Z is getting a modest refresh in the hopes of maintaining some kind of relevance. Despite being the better car, the present model failed to outsell the 350Z in the United States in all but its introductory year, and annual deliveries have continue to tumble ever since. Nissan only managed to move 4,614 examples in 2017, which is less than half the volume seen in 2010.
The Z car represents the last gasp of Japanese muscle and it’s been gradually wheezing its way out of prominence. Most of the famous alphanumeric nameplates from the island nation were buried over a decade ago. But the Nissan lived on, almost as if it was saving a seat for the Toyota Supra’s return.
A larger-than-average new vehicle inventory, compounded by a change in strategy and dismal April sales figures, means fewer vehicles leaving Nissan assembly plants in the United States and Mexico in the foreseeable future.
The automaker plans to cut production by as much as 20 percent in the hopes of firming up its bottom line.
Desperate times in the passenger car segment call for desperate publicity measures, so Nissan’s trying to make a splash ahead of the release of its next-generation 2019 Altima.
Among the brand’s conventional cars, the Altima’s 2018 sales slide (down 21.7 percent over the first four months of the year) is only topped by that of the larger Maxima (down 25.1 percent). Not altogether surprising, given the market and the older model’s age. However, now that there’s a fairly edgy replacement waiting in the wings, Nissan’s doing what it can to generate buzz ahead of the launch.
Enter the “Altima Edition ONE.”
As Renault and Nissan discuss ways to strengthen their bond, Carlos Ghosn is asking everyone to slow their roll on the prospect of a merger. Despite continuously nudging the alliance in that direction, the CEO and chairman is often hesitant to discuss unification as anything more than a hypothetical. So this is par for the course.
“I don’t think you’re going to see it this year or next,” Ghosn said on Wednesday. “Lots of mergers collapse and destroy value — the strength of any company is the ability to motivate people, and how how are you going to do that if some of these people consider themselves second-class citizens.”
The second-class citizens he’s referencing are, presumably, Nissan employees seeking more influence within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. A large part of the group’s current strategy is to find ways to give the Japanese automaker more of a say in product development and operations.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, has made it clear that his ideal solution for all three automakers is to stop pussyfooting around and enter into a full-on merger. Officially, there’s no deal in the works. “Any discussion about a share transaction involving Renault, Nissan or the French state is pure speculation,” explained alliance spokesman Jonathan Adashek earlier this month.
Unofficially, things are quite different. Renault and Nissan are both committed to maintaining a healthy and strong relationship, but the French government is hesitant to even suggest the possibility of abandoning its stake in Renault. For political reasons, it can’t seem as if the company is being relinquished to Japanese interests vis-à-vis a corporate takeover. Therefore, an accord has to be reached to provide Renault with some level of autonomy — or a lie has to be crafted to make it look that way.
While Ghosn previously denied any possibility of a merger, he began claiming it was a very real possibility this year. Having already developed a structure that would see management of Renault, Nissan, and eventually Mitsubishi Motors overseen by a Dutch foundation based in Amsterdam, the chairman suggested it (or something like it) could also serve as a mediator for their integration as a singular global automotive group. But the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance said that wouldn’t be a possibility. So what’s the solution?
The crossover Rogue Hybrid appeared last year, teaming a 2.0-liter engine and 30kW electric motor that made 176 net horsepower and worked in concert to achieve the magical 35 mpg figure. For what it’s worth, the regular Rogue makes 170 horses out of its 2.5-liter inline-four. We feel confident your day has been enriched with this critical information.
Nissan has now announced pricing for the 2018 model, along with a few tech updates. The sticker jumps northward a few dollars and is similar to its chief rival, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — but with one significant difference.
Replacing the toenails-for-turn-signals Juke, Nissan created the Kicks and has been showing it off for some time now. Scheduled to appear on dealer lots later this spring, the company has been mum on pricing, no doubt in an effort to not show its hand in the murderously competitive subcompact crossover segment.
The Canadian arm of the company apparently has no such concerns, releasing pricing details this morning for that market. Safe to say, Nissan is angling for the budget crown, as its base price of $17,995 undercuts its competitors in the land of maple syrup and hockey sticks.
Nissan’s a big fan of mid-year updates to its vehicles, and last week we told you of the changes coming to the 2018.5 Nissan Rogue Sport. Mainly, more standard safety features and a corresponding uptick in the small crossover’s entry price.
That piece led to the discovery that the model’s larger sibling, the fast-selling Rogue, seemed to have lost its hybrid variant — a model quietly introduced for the 2017 model year. Nissan’s consumer website shows no trace of the gas-electric compact CUV. Meanwhile, a search of Cars.com shows only 11 new Nissan Rogue Hybrids on lots across America, all of them 2017 models.
What’s the deal?
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a typical Nissan dealership, no one’s going to mistake one for the Taj Mahal. They’re functional structures, designed to hold salespeople that can walk you through the terms of a loan. Do they really need to be anything more?
Nissan says no, but it would still like its stores to undergo an ambitious renovation program that would alter the majority for the better. Executives in Japan said the brand intends to update 9,000 of its dealerships around the globe over the next five years. Changes include more prominent signage, updated customer-handling procedures, and more open concept showrooms and service departments.
However, just how much pressure HQ is exerting on North American shops to adhere to the changes is unclear. In the United States, dealerships are already subject to the Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative (NREDI 2.0), which encourages tons of daylight via glass-fronted showrooms and wide open spaces. The overall look is extremely modern and inviting without feeling showy. Think really nice community college, rather than the hotel lounge experience some premium auto brands attempt to provide.
The Nissan Rogue Sport, introduced partway into the 2017 model year, carries the Qashqai moniker north of the border, and for some reason I’ve taken to saying its name with an invisible exclamation mark. It’s like saying Seattle! — it just seems appropriate.
In a bid to boost the sub-Rogue’s safety, Nissan has unveiled a mid-year update to the little crossover, and with it a new price. Peace of mind comes with a cost.
This will be our third Sedan Showdown in a row. Kicking us off were some basic full-size models, and through the “Not nice enough!” complaints, the Charger took home the win. Giving the people what they want, we turned the budget up to $45,000 and presented some luxury full-size sedans instead. Again, FCA took home a win; the Chrysler 300 easily overpowered the base Lincoln Continental, and pipped the top-trim Buick LaCrosse.
All the while, this third commenter-sourced trio waited in the wings, ready to pounce. Smaller than our previous two sets of cars, Bumpy ii wants to see you squirm and set fires. You ready? This couple is.
In a flurry of robots and futuristic music, Nissan introduced the 2019 Altima today at the New York Auto Show. With available all-wheel drive and a variable compression engine, the sixth-gen Altima has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to take on the Accord and Camry.
Writers in different corners of the internet have been, rightly or wrongly, sounding a death knell for the traditional three-box sedan, citing sales declines for most models in the segment. For certain, Altima sales are off by about 100,000 units since its 2014 peak, but over a quarter-million buyers did drive off in a new Altima last year. That is not a number at which to sneeze.
Automakers perpetually talk about the future. They have to. As manufacturers, their entire business model revolves around bringing newer, better, and more desirable products to the market. Over the past few years, that has meant championing electric and autonomous vehicles — regardless of whether their consumer base (or the technology) is ready or not.
Nissan is no different in this regard, though it does appear to be taking a comparatively measured approach. Mercedes-Benz says it’ll have an electrified version of all of its models by 2022, Volvo promises to start doing the same by 2019, and Volkswagen Group wants 80 new electric vehicles across all of its brands by 2025. Meanwhile, Nissan is only shooting for eight new EVs by 2022.
That’s not to suggest the company won’t still blaze a trail for new powertrains, though. The strategy may just be a simple matter of not wanting to over-promise. As the company behind the the Leaf, Nissan is well aware of the benefits and pitfalls of a globally marketed electric car. However, its overall sales goal of 1 million electrified vehicles per year by 2022 remains ambitious and hinges on a market more eager for plug-in vehicles than it is today.
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- ToolGuy T E L L U R I D E is not on this list(I can keep my poster on the wall)
- ToolGuy My impression is that Honda has been coasting on its reputation for awhile now.(To Honda's credit, they aren't standing on the Self Destruct button like Toyota seems to be)
- Fred I owned a 2001 MR2 for 15 years nothing ever went wrong with the vehicle. It was always exciting to drive most people thought it was a boxster. The only negative was storage and legroom considering I'm a little over 6:4 the only reason it was sold was as a second car and a grandchild on the way we needed something more practical.
- V16 I'm sure most people could find 155,365 reasons to choose another luxury brand SUV and pocket the difference.
- ChristianWimmer I don’t want this autonomous driving garbage technology in any car.My main fear is this. Once this technology is perfected, freedom-hating eco hysterical governments (crap hole Germany, UK and the European Union in general) will attempt to ban private car ownership because “you don’t need to own a car anymore since the car can come to you, drop you off and then proceed to service the next customer”... no thanks. Having your own car is FREEDOM.Go away, autonomous driving. I also enjoy the act of driving a car. I want to drive, not be driven.