Junkyard Find: 2010 Nissan Cube

Nissan’s slow-selling, goofy-looking minivan debuted in the United States market for the 2009 model year and got axed just five years later. You can still buy a new Cube in Japan, but junkyards on this side of the Pacific are getting discarded Cubes in more-than-flukey quantities.

After seeing several in a Denver-area self-service yard last month, I decided to photograph one.

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Nissan Mulls Extra U.S Manufacturing Capacity

Earlier this year, the big bosses at Nissan expressed their desire to grab a full 5 percent of pickup truck market share in the United States. However, chasing arbitrary targets has now fallen in favor of smart growth.

Still, lighting a fire under the brand seems to have worked, with Nissan moving nearly 1.5 million units in 2016, almost a million more annual sales than 15 years ago. With those numbers in mind, the company is acknowledging it’ll soon need a new assembly plant in America.

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Ghosn: Suppliers Essential to Nissan's Future Success

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, says automakers are going to have to get comfortable with suppliers doing more of the work as the industry evolves. With in-car technologies progressing more rapidly than ever before, the alliance head says engineers will have to lean on parts providers to take the burden off its own engineers.

Ghosn even said he had recently spoken to supplier who accused him of not listening. “They said we are duplicating work,” the CEO recalled.

“They said, ‘We are developing the same things, and at the end of the day, you’re going to order parts from me, and you’re going to pay twice — for your own development and for mine. So why don’t we start from the beginning to work together?’ That’s an important point,” he said. “We are now probably one of the largest buyers in the world.”

The automotive collective intends to sell more than 14 million vehicles annually by the end of 2022, which represents an increase of about 3.5 million units from the expected volume for 2017. The strategy includes more shared platforms and powertrains between brands, a dozen EV models, and a fleet of autonomous taxis.

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Nissan Looks Ready to Bring E-Power to Its American Fleet

There’s no confirmation just yet, but all signs are pointing to the eventual introduction of Nissan’s novel e-Power hybrid system in its U.S. lineup.

We say “novel” because the system isn’t like any gas-electric setup currently on the road. Think of it as a way to cheaply reduce emissions without the worries of limited electric range or the expense of bulky battery packs. Instead, think of the car as a little ship.

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Mitsubishi's Future: Go Big on SUVs, but a Sedan and Pickup Remains a Possibility

It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing it. Co-workers whispering at the water cooler, long waits at the drive-thru window while the staff argues amongst itself. It’s hard to get a word in edgewise.

People are talking about Mitsubishi.

If you’ve called #fakenews on this, well, you’re right. But that isn’t to say no one’s talking about the down-on-its-luck automaker, which recently saw salvation at the hands of the Nissan-Renault Alliance. There’s more vehicles coming to the threadbare brand and, while the company’s focus remains on lucrative SUVs, that doesn’t mean Mitsubishi won’t flesh out the lineup with something traditional.

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Work and Play: Nissan Adds a Brace of Packages to Titan and Titan XD

America loves its pickup trucks, evidenced by a segment that’s increased nearly 5 percent compared to the same time last year.

Sure, many trucks across the nation haul nothing but air in their beds, but more than a few actually work for a living. Nissan is attempting to lure both parties into its showrooms by adding a couple of new option packages to its trucks – one for work and one for play.

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Nissan Pivots, Stops Cracking the Sales Whip

From the depths of the recession to 2016, Nissan’s U.S. volume doubled — from a six-year low of just over 689,000 vehicles in 2009 to over 1.4 million last year. Not a bad track record for any automaker.

However, as the sales landscape cools off after the post-recession boom, Nissan’s new leader feels it’s a better idea to hold a steady course, rather than gunning the sales throttles to meet a pre-selected sales target. In fact, those targets are now a thing of the past.

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Nissan Autech Stelvio Zagato AZ1 You've Never Heard Of

A car styled by the Italians and built by the Japanese — the combination everyone says they want. It’s rear-drive, a coupe, and has luxury trappings in the finest Italian tradition. It was so expensive when it was new that most people couldn’t afford to look at it. All these qualities make this a Rare Ride you are required to like. Required, do you hear me?

It’s the Nissan Autech Stelvio Zagato AZ1, and you’re going to look at it.

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Ace of Race: Nissan Announces a Bargain-bin GT-R

Alright, at $99,990, the new Nissan GT-R Pure isn’t exactly a K-Mart blue light special. It does, however, halt Godzilla’s spiralling-into-the-stratosphere sticker price. Introduced all the way back in, uh, wow, 2008, the R35 stickered south of $70,000 at its introduction.

The GT-R did see several improvements last year to help justify the steady march of its MSRP, with refreshed styling and 20 additional horsepower. The new Pure trim cuts a few fripperies but retains the same level of performance. That sounds like a tasty recipe.

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Nissan Back On Track in Japan, Resumes Vehicle Production

Nissan is resuming production at five of its domestic plants this Tuesday after Japan’s transport ministry finally approved changes to the improper final-inspection procedures that forced a major vehicle recall in October. The issue involved final checks being conducted by uncertified technicians, a procedure only mandated for vehicles sold within the brand’s home country of Japan. Exported vehicles aren’t subjected to it and, so far as we know, didn’t have any problems for having forgone the inspection.

However, JDM production has been suspended since October 19th and Nissan has scrambled to recall 1.2 million vehicles after being required to re-inspect everything built for the Japanese market over the last three years. That’s a large penalty for what amounts to little more than having the wrong guy eyeball a car as it rolls off the assembly line.

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Truck Buyers Made a Choice in October (and Chose the Bigger One)

So diverse are the trim levels available in a modern pickup truck, it wouldn’t be shocking to see automakers begin offering a “Scotsman” edition, complete with three-on-the-tree shifter, for buyers accustomed to eating beans out of a can. On the other end of the ladder, surely “Limited,” “Platinum,” and “Tungsten” fall short in the luxury trappings offered within their leather-trimmed cabins. Buyers clearly need a wood-panelled humidor for their stogies.

Suffice it to say that automakers are making the purchase of a pickup truck more appealing than ever, and in October, buyers did their duty. October 2017 was a boffo month for light truck sales, with every full-size truck line recording rising year-over-year sales in the United States. Unfortunately, but not all that unfortunately (according to accountants, anyway), buyers offered a raised middle finger to mid-size pickups sold by those same automakers.

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I Want to Believe: Nissan May Find a Way to Bring Back the Xterra

Do you miss the Nissan Xterra? Me, too. Appropriately blocky and truck-like in all the right ways, Nissan’s midsized off-road SUV was a great blend of tough looks and actual, y’know, functionality.

The old Xterra vanished from showrooms in 2015. Reading between the lines of a statement made by the head of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s light commercial vehicle division and reported by Aussie site Drive, a new one may be on the horizon.

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End of the Line for Nissan's Z?

Z is the last letter in the alphabet, and the current Nissan Z might be the last one in the company lineup.

At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Philippe Klein, Chief Planning Officer for Nissan, was decidedly non-committal when asked by media in attendance about the Z car’s future. This is stance is not new but, this time, the exec’s answer came with a few more details.

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Nissan and Subaru Faulted for Decades of Improper Inspection Procedures

Japan appears to be having a problem with its quality control. Nissan Group is conducting updated inspection procedures after details emerged that it allowed uncertified employees to conduct final vehicle checks. However, the Japanese government continues to find issues with the automaker’s practices, forcing it to temporarily suspend new vehicle registrations.

Early reports from an external investigation commissioned by Nissan suggest the certification problem may have begun in 1979.

Subaru faces a similar plight. With Nissan’s inspection issue looming larger than anticipated, Subaru has admitted to following improper procedures for its domestic products. On Friday, the carmaker said final inspections at its main plant have occasionally been handled by employees not listed as certified technicians. The problem has persisted for more than 30 years, according to the manufacturer.

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Made for America, the Nissan Titan Expands Its Horizons

In terms of monthly U.S. sales, Nissan’s line of Titan pickups ended September in the number nine spot, ahead of the midsize GMC Canyon but behind its own paleolithic Frontier. While the 3,773 Titan and Titan XDs sold last month represent a tiny fraction of the 82,302 Ford F-Series models sold in the same time frame, it’s still a 52-percent increase from the same month in 2016.

Year-to-date, however, Titan sales are up 224 percent in the United States. That’s enough to get Nissan thinking about the pickup’s potential in markets not dominated by tried-and-true nameplates from the Detroit Three.

It seems Nissan’s planning to seize some ground for itself on fertile — but traditionally unfriendly — terrain. Looking back, the looming push was obvious.

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America's Best-Selling SUVs and Crossovers Through 2017 Q3: Toyota RAV4 Primed to Break Honda CR-V Streak

For five consecutive years between 2012 and 2016, the Honda CR-V has been America’s most popular utility vehicle.

In fact, the CR-V has topped America’s SUV/crossover sales charts in nine of the last 10 years, a streak of dominance that began in 2007.

It appears increasingly likely in 2017, however, that the Honda CR-V’s streak will be broken by the Toyota RAV4. Thanks to 20-percent year-over-year growth through the first three-quarters of 2017, the RAV4 leads the CR-V by more than 31,000 sales and the Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport by more than 15,000 sales with scant time remaining for the RAV4’s rivals to make up the gap.

The difference maker? Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid.

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QOTD: Which Model Deserved One More Generation?

We’ve asked you before about the particular brand you’d resurrect if given the power to bring just one back from the dead. A different Question of the Day also inquired which models trumped the previous generation by bringing fresh ideas and improvements to the redesign.

Today, we follow similar lines and ask which model was killed off too soon; which vehicle deserved one more generation.

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Misadventures in Advertising: The Nissan Titan's Poor Little Ponies

Earlier this week I was presented with a little advertising to enjoy, via Facebook and courtesy of Nissan. The ad is part of a new campaign launched on October 14th. In it, Nissan throws a couple of strangers together in a predicament involving the Nissan Titan XD and a previous-generation (debadged) Ford F-150.

I’m not impressed.

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Nissan's Sales Exec Shuffle: Can Meunier Do for Infiniti What He Did for Nissan?

Nissan has a new senior vice president in charge of U.S. sales and marketing. Dan Mohnke, the company’s former vice president of strategy and digital acceleration, was promoted to the role previously held by Christian Meunier.

Heading to Infiniti, Meunier will serve as the brand’s vice president for global marketing and sales operations. The position was created exclusively to help the brand’s expansion into new markets. Meunier will report directly to Roland Krueger, president of Infiniti Motor Company and senior vice president of Nissan’s global division. Meanwhile, Mohnke will report to José Muñoz, chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Co.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Nissan Frontier King Cab S 4×2

“Hang on a second,” you shout, hurling canned food and stale eclairs in my general direction. “Didn’t this series already cover the Frontier?” Yes, dear reader, it did… for the 2017 model year.

There used to be a Chinese buffet restaurant in the capital city of Newfoundland famous for offering meh options at midday, only to trot out much better versions of the same dishes in the evening. They charged a little bit more after sundown, naturally, but not that much more.

It appears the Nissan product team has been eating at the Golden Phoenix on Kenmount Road, then.

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UAW Accuses Nissan of Tracking Workers' Union Sentiments

The United Auto Workers has accused Nissan Motor Company of tracking and rating employees based on their union sentiments at the same Mississippi assembly plant where workers recently voted down union representation.

In early August, factory employees voted against joining by an almost 2-to-1 margin. At the time, the UAW claimed intimidation tactics and censorship crippled its attempt to reach workers. Now it’s saying Nissan also surveilled its entire staff and employed a comprehensive ratings system that documented each individual’s behavior regarding potential unionization.

The formal complaint, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, alleges Nissan “has maintained and continues to maintain an employee surveillance, data collection and rating system that records employee union activity and rates workers according to their perceived support for or opposition to the UAW.”

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2018 Nissan Altima Prices Rise Slightly as Nissan Adds Equipment, Prepares a 2019 Challenger for Camry and Accord

Bolstered in its fight against all-new editions of key rivals from Toyota and Honda with the standard fitment of automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, the 2018 Nissan Altima’s price rises by only $240 compared with the outgoing model.

The base 2018 Nissan Altima 2.5 S rises a few ticks above $24K to $24,025, including destination and handling charges. The Altima continues with a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder linked to a continuously variable transmission.

Given the era in which we live, it’s not surprising to see a more significant price increase for the lone remaining V6 model — the sportier 3.5 SR is dead.

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There Will Be a New Nissan Frontier, and It Will Be Built In Canton, Mississippi

“The dedicated employees here in Canton look forward to building
the next generation of one of the best pickup trucks in America.”
– Steve Marsh, VP Manufacturing, Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant

Nissan has announced that a next-generation Nissan Frontier will be built in Canton, Mississippi, the same plant that’s been building the nearly 13-year-old second-gen Frontier since 2012.

But the platform on which the next Frontier will be based? And the precise timing of the unveiling and on-sale date?

Still unknown.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Nissan 370Z

There’s not much new in the 2018 Nissan 370Z, nor was there much new last year, and the year before that. In fact, this model has been around since Shane was still alive on The Walking Dead.

Like last year, an equivalently priced Mustang or Camaro will be arguably more modern with better technology, especially with the 2018 changes to those models. But, as long-time readers may know, I feel that either of those cars equipped sans V8 is more pointless than ordering a Diet Coke to accompany one’s double Big Mac and supersized fries.

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QOTD: The Worst Model Names of Them All?

It happened quite by accident last week, as good ideas often do. After last Wednesday’s Rare Rides post concerning the Nissan Stanza Wagon, reader comments got a little sidetracked. Dal20402 lamented there had never been a worse name for a car than Axxess (the Stanza Wagon’s successor).

Before I could unplug TTAC from the Canadian outlet on the wall, other commenters were jumping in with their terrible name suggestions. Seemed like a fun game, so today we open the floor to everyone’s suggestions.

Give us your submissions for the worst-ever automotive model names.

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Nissan Leaf Range Upgrade Remains a Mystery of Our Time

A week after the unveiling of the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf, we know for sure that value, value, value! is the upgraded model’s strongest selling point.

No longer offering a paltry 107 miles of range, the new Leaf sports a just-good-enough 150 miles of driving distance, or so Nissan believes. Of course, knowing that Chevrolet’s Bolt and Tesla’s Model 3 offer significantly better range, the Leaf’s priced to sell. For $29,990 plus delivery, and minus a $7,500 tax credit, Nissan figures the base S model is enough to tempt cost-conscious EV buyers who don’t want it all.

But there’s a longer-ranged Leaf in the works. For 2019, buyers can opt for a stepped-up 60 kWh battery, but just how far a so-equipped Leaf can drive on a single charge differs depending on the Nissan exec doing the talking.

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National Drive Electric Week Events, Free and Probably Near You

Since 2011, National Drive Electric Week has taken place in venues across the United States, some Canadian locations, and at select international venues. This year, it runs from Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.

There are 262 event locations for 2017, so there’s probably an event not far away, assuming you’re electrically inclined.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Nissan Stanza Is a Van and Wagon for the Prairie

Nissan and Datsun brought quirky, interesting, innovative vehicles to North American shores in the years prior to roughly 1994. Commenters — okay, I — brought up our subject Stanza in a post the other day about AMC Eagle creator Roy Lunn. Mr. Lunn used American Motors’ rather slim budget to create what was arguably the very first crossover vehicle from an assemblage of existing parts.

Let’s see what Nissan did with its early proto-crossover vehicle idea.

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2018 Nissan Leaf - The Industry's Oldest Mainstream Electric Car Turns Over a New… Well, You Get the Idea

Back in December of 2010, if anyone can remember that hazy, long-ago time, an oddly shaped five-door rolled out of the minds of Japanese executives and onto U.S. dealer lots. Unlike its fledgling electric forebears, the 2011 Nissan Leaf promised practical gas-free transportation for the whole family, bolstered by a warranty from an established automaker and 73 miles of EPA-approved driving range.

The industry had just taken a big step. However, the Leaf, despite racking up an impressive model-life sales total, soon found itself leapfrogged by competitors with greater range and more conventional styling. By the time 2017 rolled around, the Leaf’s 107-mile range and now-dated body stood in stark contrast to sleeker models delivering 200 miles of driving from every turn at the plug.

Nissan wants to change that. For 2018, the second-generation Leaf arrives with greater — but not class-leading — range, a new body (with a familiar profile), and a lower entry price. The automaker clearly feels there’s thrifty EV buyers capable of saying “no” to the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt.

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Nissan Jacks Up 2018 Armada's Price, Cedes Bargain Crown to 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom

The 2018 Nissan Armada will be priced at $46,795, including destination, when it goes on sale Friday, September 1st; a $700 increase compared with 2016.

While that price increase would have been enough for the Nissan Armada to maintain its position as America’s least costly body-on-frame, full-size SUV, the sudden appearance of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom has altered the playing field.

Competitors, not just Nissan but Toyota and Ford as well, didn’t need to give the class-leading Chevrolet even more capacity to dominate the category. But now the best seller is also the bargain of the bunch, and by a noticeable margin.

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QOTD: What Current Vehicle Will Become Dated Most Quickly?

Today’s Question of the Day is the inverse of one I posited back in March of this year. At that time, we took your suggestions for current vehicle designs which you thought would stand the test of time.

It’s now time to cover the other side of the ugly coin; the vehicles on sale today which will become dated-looking quicker than all others.

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Foreign Automakers, the South, Remain Off-limits to UAW as Nissan Workers Reject Unionization

The United Auto Workers spared no effort in its attempts to organize foreign automakers operating in the United States, but the workforce — and the South, for the most part — remains off limits to the union.

Yesterday, workers at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi assembly plant voted overwhelmingly to reject the UAW’s overtures, spelling an end to a heated, nearly decade-long unionization bid that saw the union file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Both sides have accused the other of dirty and unfair tactics aimed at swaying worker sentiment towards or against organized labor. Both sides, of course, deny any wrongdoing.

The UAW, which failed in two previous attempts to unionize Nissan’s Tennessee plant, described Nissan’s Mississippi efforts as one of the “nastiest anti-union campaigns in the modern history of the American labour movement.” Ultimately, it all came down to the vote.

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Nissan Accused of 'Nastiest Anti-union Campaign' in Modern U.S. History

The United Auto Workers has accused Nissan of illegally intimidating workers at its Canton Manufacturing and Assembly Plant in Mississippi, calling its activities one of the “nastiest anti-union campaigns in the modern history of the American labour movement.” The alleged misdeeds include running anti-unionization videos on loop in factory break rooms and convincing plant managers to pull workers aside to discourage them from voting in favor of the UAW this Thursday and Friday.

However, if Nissan is guilty of rabid anti-union measures, the UAW is likely guilty of countering the company with its own door-to-door campaign. Southern states haven’t been as receptive to unionizing as the UAW would like, and the organization has doubled its efforts to get the Canton workers on board, hoping to negotiate higher wages and improved benefits.

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Rare Rides: Presenting Your Majesty, the 1966 Prince R380

This special racing edition of Rare Rides was made possible by the Infiniti Q50 First Drive event in Nashville, Tennessee, which also provided the source material for this Q50 review and this Q60 Picture Time. Our Rare Ride today also happens to be my 100th contribution to TTAC. Time flies!

Let’s have a little look at some Japanese racing royalty, starting with some history.

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2018 Nissan Leaf Spotted in Spain, Minus the Camo

The 2018 Nissan Leaf was ready for its close-up, but didn’t count on a Norwegian tourist peering through a hotel window.

Photos have emerged of a completely uncamouflaged next-generation Leaf spotted in Barcelona, Spain, apparently while in the midst of filming a commercial. The photos, sent to Norway’s TV2 television channel (Norway does love its EVs…), show the unclothed Leaf wearing a far more appealing body than that of its predecessor.

Still sporting a hatchback bodystyle, the 2018 Leaf boasts a number of advancements Nissan has slowly and carefully dripped to the media over the past few months. Head office won’t be happy to see these pics.

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America's 20 Top-Selling Vehicles That Aren't Pickup Trucks in 2017's First Half

Cars are not at the top of the heap.

In fact, not since 2013, when the Toyota Camry was America’s third-best-selling new vehicle, has a passenger car claimed a podium position on the U.S. automotive sales leaderboard. Fast forward to 2017 and passenger cars are way down the list of America’s top-selling new vehicles.

With pickup trucks so obviously differentiated from conventional consumer-oriented vehicles, and with the top-selling trio of pickup trucks (Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U) so distinctly more common, we’ve compiled this list of America’s 20 top-selling vehicles that aren’t pickup trucks, a halfway measuring stick that shows which vehicles are the dominant market forces through 2017’s first six months. Not including the pickup trucks that own 16 percent of the industry, of course.

The top-ranked nameplate deserves an asterisk — an asterisk that will grow in size over the coming months. And cars? Even with pickup trucks excluded, they miss the podium altogether.

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Mercedes-Benz Is on the X-Class Defensive - Is It Really More Than Just Badge Engineering?

Australia’s pickup truck markets wants to know: is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class more than just a badge-engineered Nissan Navara?

“This is hardly a double badge,” Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global boss Volker Mornhinweg told Motoring.

But there’s a tendency to see matters another way. The production X-Class, not yet bound for North America’s nonexistent premium midsize pickup truck market, isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the X-Class Concept shown in late 2016.

Moreover, that X-Class gear lever looks downright familiar to Navara drivers.

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2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 First Drive Review – All About the Power, but at What Price?

Power and performance. Luxury and emotion. Balance and elegance. These are the seductive adjectives experts in automotive marketing insist can be found in a company’s newest offering, especially in the premium sports sedan segment.

After spending time on the back roads of Tennessee with the revised-for-2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, is the marketing hype true? Does it really deliver all the desirable adjectives you’d like in your premium sports sedan offering?

In a word, no.

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Nissan Tries to Make the Brake Pedal Obsolete in Next-gen Leaf

What’s an e-Pedal? No, it’s not some dorky electric bicycle built by Ford, though that scenario doesn’t sound far fetched.

As the steady decline of manual transmission availability brings the three-pedal lifestyle ever-closer to oblivion, the e-Pedal is Nissan’s way of sending the two-pedal setup a step closer to obsolescence. Will cars in the heady, electrically powered future contain just one pedal? Maybe. Maybe not. But starting late this year, one Nissan model will allow drivers the choice of accelerating and braking with just one pedal.

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Manual Dexterity: Improved by New Clutch, 2018 Nissan 370Z Maintains $30,875 Price Point

Nissan has revealed that modest improvements to the 2018 Nissan 370Z will not result in any increase to the 370Z’s base price.

In the United States, 370Z pricing will start once again at $30,875, including an $885 destination and handling charge. But Nissan believes the 2018 370Z, while still very much the same sixth-generation car it’s been since the 2010 model year, is better than the 2017 car.

You can’t get a manual transmission in a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. You can’t get a manual transmission in a Ferrari 488 GTB. Yet for its ninth model year, Nissan saw fit to improve the 370Z’s manual experience.

How ’bout that?

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Nissan Versa Sales Plunge Because Nissan Wants to Help Dealers Sell Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

America’s historic subcompact car segment leader, the Nissan Versa, suffered a sharp 22-percent U.S. sales decline in the first half of 2017.

In fact, total Versa sales plunged 45 percent in June 2017. The Versa remained America’s top-selling subcompact nameplate, and by a wide margin. Even in June, when Versa sales plunged by more than 6,500 units, Nissan still owned nearly a quarter of America’s subcompact market.

Nevertheless, it’s odd to see the segment leader, a car that was selling better than ever at this time last year, suddenly dropping like a stone, declining even more rapidly than the segment as a whole.

But after years of using the Nissan Versa as a tool for turning used car buyers into new car buyers, Nissan USA is scaling back factory support for the Versa in lieu of assisting Nissan dealers with their certified pre-owned efforts.

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Was the Nissan Rogue Truly America's Best-Selling SUV/Crossover* in June 2017? We'll Never Know

Nissan reported 34,349 U.S. sales of the Rogue in June 2017, a 17-percent year-over-year increase that drove the Rogue to its third monthly victory in America’s SUV/crossover sales race this year.

But June was the first time since March in which the Rogue — sales of which have now increased in eight consecutive months — topped the utility vehicle segment.

What propelled the Nissan back into the top spot after a two-month hiatus?

Another Rogue. Mysteriously missing from Nissan’s June sales report, despite six weeks of sales activity, was the Nissan Rogue Sport, known in other markets as the Nissan Qashqai.

Disappointingly, for the purposes of U.S. sales reports, Nissan is combining sales of the Rogue and new Rogue Sport. Thus, we’re left to wonder whether the Rogue, on its own, was America’s best-selling SUV/crossover in June or if the Rogue requires an asterisk alongside its position in the victor’s column.

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Nissan's Next-gen Leaf Will Kind of, Sort of, Drive Itself

After hemming and hawing for what seemed like forever, Nissan will bring American electric vehicle enthusiasts a long-overdue new Leaf later this year. Say goodbye to that old, swoopy body and 107-mile range (at best), and give a cheerful hello to a not-yet-revealed body, undisclosed driving range, and these headlights.

Okay, so there’s not a whole lot known about the next Leaf except that it won’t be an ancient thing that appeared at the dawn of the electric car resurrection. You might be able to drive to a nearby city and back. However, we now know that trip doesn’t have to be as hands-on as it once was.

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Ghosn Expects Renault-Nissan to Become World's Largest Automaker This Summer

Since acquiring Mitsubishi in 2016, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has found itself in the midst of Volkswagen and Toyota’s struggle for the title of World’s Largest Automaker.

At the end of 2016, VW was still on top but momentarily ceded ground as Toyota amped up volume in early 2017. Compared to last year, the Germans saw sales fall a half-percent in the first quarter of 2017 as the Japanese companies recorded more stable growth. But CEO extraordinaire Carlos Ghosn believes Renault-Nissan has what it takes to fill the top spot before the end of the summer.

While it would be a privilege to tell you that Ghosn entered a darkened room illuminated by a single spotlight to announce the time for the Alliance to crush its enemies was now, the reality was far more tame. The shareholders meeting was adequately lit and Carlos stated, without malice, that becoming the world’s largest automotive superpower is more of an inevitable accident than an intentional conquest.

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2017 Nissan Titan King Cab Pricing Announced - Save Some Money, but Probably Not Enough to Get You Out of a Crew Cab

Nissan USA has priced the 2017 Nissan Titan King Cab from $33,745; or $36,775 with four-wheel drive.

In King Cab format — aka extended cab — only the three entry-level trims make it out of the Titan’s Canton, Mississippi assembly plant: S, SV, Pro-4X. The SL and Platinum Reserve are, ahem, reserved for Crew Cabs.

While General Motors’ full-size truck twins, the Ram 1500, and the Toyota Tundra have all switched to conventional front-hinged door configurations for their mid-level cab format, Nissan is sticking with the bodystyle utilized by the best-selling truck in America: Ford’s F-150.

But the configuration may not matter. With savings of just $2,180-$2,680 compared with the bigger Nissan four-door, it won’t be easy to convince buyers to give up their crew cab desires.

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Piston Slap: Justification for a Multi-Car Conservatory?

Dan writes:

Lately I’ve been obsessed with buying a Nissan Leaf as a commuter car. That might seem like a sensible stop-and-go commuter choice for most people, but there’s a wrinkle: I already have four other cars and I don’t want to get rid of any of them — 2014 BMW X1, STR class 2012 Miata, 2011 Boxster Spyder, and a 2014 Audi TT.

I autocross the ‘verts, the X1 is my long distance and winter ride, and for reasons I can’t go into I can’t get rid of the TT.

I’ve wanted an electric car for a long time (I looked into conversions 10 years ago or so, but never did one) and the prices on used Leafs are very attractive. It might not be the most exciting car, but sometimes a person just wants to drive in meditative silence with smooth and instant throttle response without actually going very far or very fast.

So, tell me there are other people out there with five cars and I’m not being crazy for wanting to be one of them.

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Safety Wars: Nissan to Add Standard Crash-Prevention Feature to Majority of 2018 Models

In the 1950s and 60s it was the horsepower war, followed soon after by the fuel economy battles of the 1970s and 80s. Today, the peace of mind that comes from available safety features competes with horsepower, environmental sensitivity and connectivity to win the hearts and minds of new car buyers.

Owning a vehicle that can head off a crash by itself is a tantalizing prospect for many drivers. With the industry already heading in that direction, Nissan has decided to add automatic emergency braking as standard equipment on eight of its 2018 models.

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Canadian Province to Become Used Nissan Leaf Dumping Ground

The Nissan Leaf, which burst onto the scene in late 2010 as one of the first mass-market electric vehicles, hasn’t changed much since its introduction. Until very recently, driving range sat well below the three-figure mark. And as its technological edge dulled, the Leaf gained a reputation as one of the fastest-depreciating vehicles on the market.

If you find yourself living in a certain jurisdiction, Nissan and a mid-level government has now made a purchase of a used Leaf far more attractive than it once was. Message to the U.S. and the rest of Canada: Quebec wants your old Leafs.

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New Nissan Micra? No, but the Old Micra Will Stick Around in Canada

Nissan Canada has once again confirmed to TTAC that the next-generation Nissan Micra, already on sale in some global markets, is not destined for Canada.

The existing Nissan Micra arrived in Canada in 2014, some four years after Nissan first introduced the fourth-generation Micra elsewhere. Micra production in Mexico has slowed somewhat in the early part of 2017, along with a slowdown of Versa production, as Nissan begins building the Juke-replacing Kicks at its Aguascalientes plant.

But when we asked Nissan Canada’s director of corporate communications, Didier Marsaud, whether the fourth-generation, Aguascalientes-sourced Micra will continue to be available to Nissan’s Canadian dealers, the response was definitive.

“Absolutely.”

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Nissan Will Kill Off Juke in North America, Get Its Kicks Elsewhere

When you burst out guns blazing from the get-go, it’s sometimes difficult to follow up with an impressive sequel. Such is the case with the Juke, which will have no second generation — at least not in North America.

According to two independent sources familiar with Nissan’s future product plans who spoke with TTAC, the Japanese automaker will kill off the funky four-wheel-drive subcompact crossover after the 2017 or 2018 model year, and replace it — in body and name — with the Aguascalientes-built Nissan Kicks.

Representatives for Nissan said it would not comment on future product.

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2016 Nissan Pathfinder S Rental Review - Eighteen Grand

I have zero patience with people who make pricing comparisons between new cars and used cars. It is almost always done to show off the supposedly superior financial acumen, automotive knowledge, or enthusiast credentials of the person making the comparison. “I sure feel bad for that single mother emergency-room nurse who just wasted her money on a new CR-V. Doesn’t she know that she could get an ’86 Silver Spur for that kind of money? Or a early 308GTS roller chassis? Or a Cessna 152 that just needs a major overhaul to be pretty close to airworthy?” I have a pal, Freddy, who specializes in that sort of article for the nice folks at Jalopnik: “For the price of a new Mirage, you could be the owner of a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL with 178,000 miles on the clock and half of a wiring harness!”

Just this once, however, I am going to make an exception to my own self-imposed rule, and it goes something like this: Last week, I rented the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder S that you see above. I drove it from Columbus, Ohio, to High Point, North Carolina, over the course of a long morning. It was pretty much okay, as you will read below. If you go a Nissan showroom, you will see the 2017 Pathfinder, which offers some nontrivial improvements, starting at $30,200. And you will see the Nissan Rogue Sport, which is the company’s smallest crossover in this market, starting at $21,800 or thereabouts. But if you open up the used-car search engine of your choice, you will see that a 2016 Nissan Pathfinder S — just like the one pictured above with reasonable mileage and still very much under the factory warranty — can be had for the mildly astonishing sum of $18,000.

So let’s evaluate this Pathfinder in the context of its current price, which is $18,000. Is it worth paying less to get “more truck” than you would get with a brand-new Rogue Sport? Or should we leave questions like this to the Bring-A-Trailer types out there?

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QOTD: What Modern Automaker is the Most Daring?

Daring. Thinking outside the box, as it were (a three box, naturally). Putting forth a car which is a bit risky and against the grain of the accepted beige [s]sedan[/s] CUV. Increasingly, automakers are unwilling or unable to play in this space. Regulations, fuel economy and stiff competition force each manufacturer in line with the others. A midsize vehicle that’s almost identical to the offering at the dealer across the street is not out of the question.

But there has to be an answer to my Question of the Day, which is thus: Which modern auto manufacturer is the most daring?

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QOTD FU: Your Suggestions for the Future of Mazda

About three weeks ago, my Question Of The Day focused on public statements about Mazda’s future plans. The statements came from the CEO of Mazda North America, as reported in an article by Tim Cain. Many of you responded and agreed with the assertions and opinions I put forth, while some were brave enough to disagree. By and large, it was a fairly productive conversation, with over 150 replies in the comments.

Now that some time has passed and the comments have largely ceased, I can fulfill a request made by commenter slow_poke: a summation of your top recommendations, in our first Mazda QOTD FU (follow-up). Let’s see what you had to say.

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Nissan Embarks on a Demon-esque Teaser Campaign for New Leaf

It won’t come with a minimum of 808 horsepower, nor will there be a crate to turn it into a dragster. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles raised the bar on how to intrigue fans (and annoy journalists) with its weekly pre-reveal teasers for the Dodge Challenger Demon, and who is Nissan to ignore FCA’s success?

The Japanese automaker has embarked on a summertime teaser campaign leading up to the unveiling of the next-generation Leaf “later this year.” Back in March, Nissan tweeted that the new Leaf would appear at a global launch event in September before going on sale before the end of the year.

So, what lies in store for the long-in-the-tooth electric’s replacement?

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Nissan Considers Bringing Its Unusual E-Power Technology to America

The success of Nissan’s e-Power system in the Japanese-market Note hatchback has company brass considering a trans-Pacific trip for the technology.

Should it arrive stateside, e-Power stands to give Nissan an edge in low-priced electrification — potentially undercutting the price of compact hybrid rivals by thousands. Unlike conventional hybrids and plug-in models, Nissan’s system burns gasoline every moment of the drive, despite an electric motor doing all the pulling work.

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It's Official: The Nissan Quest Is Dead, Discontinued, Defunct, Cancelled

“The Nissan Quest has been discontinued for the U.S. marketplace.”
– Nissan Sr. Manager, Product Communications, Dan Passe

TTAC has been tracking the Nissan Quest’s failure in the U.S. marketplace for some time. Just ahead of Christmas last year, when it appeared as though the Quest was surely dead in the water, Nissan confirmed that there would in fact be a 2017 Quest.

But when tipped off by an industry insider last February, we noticed that Nissan was reporting higher-than-normal Quest sales despite lacking any meaningful inventory. That’s right — the 2017 Nissan Quest was essentially a fleet-only vehicle.

Most of us stopped tracking the story. After all, it’s a minivan, and a long-ignored minivan, in a market where buyers are currently turning away from minivan in droves. TTAC’s Corey Lewis didn’t quit, however. Like a dog with a bone, Corey discovered that the Quest was missing from NissanUSA.com. Under the Minivans & Vans section, there’s no minivan. We asked Nissan, not for the first time, whether the Quest is dead.

The Nissan Quest is dead. Gone. Expired. Terminated.

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Price War: Mid-Year Changes Coming as Two Rival Crossovers Battle for Sales

America’s insatiable crossover thirst has made the Nissan Rogue — a relative newcomer to the segment — a sales juggernaut and a top rival to the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

As summer approaches, two of those vehicles are undergoing a sales strategy shift to better position the models against each other. No, one of the models isn’t the new-for 2017 CR-V. Nissan and Toyota, however, hope to draw in more customers by tweaking prices and content on the Rogue and RAV4, though the two automakers are going about it in very different ways.

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Nissan Rogue Sport Is a Truly Cheap Qashqai In Canada, But Has Six-Speed Thirst

#SaveTheManuals?

Nissan USA will not. In changing the name of the pre-facelift Qashqai upon its import from Kyushu, Japan, Nissan has determined a manual transmission does not meet the requirements of the U.S. market. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission, the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport has a starting price of $22,360.

Yet north of the border, Nissan Canada has determined that the Rogue Sport — which keeps the Qashqai name in Canada — ought to be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Not only a boon for small crossover buyers keen on maintaining a level of interactivity during the morning commute, the manual transmission drops the CAD base price by $2,000.

The result is a Nissan Rogue Sport, or rather a Nissan Qashqai, at a USD-equivalent MSRP of just $15,850.

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Heading to Ponderosa? Don't Forget Your Nissan Card

If supermarkets, gasoline retailers and a slew of other automakers can offer branded credit cards, why not Nissan?

The Japanese automaker most closely associated with the word “value” is throwing a perk at its customer base, rolling out a consumer credit card program to turn those fuel and meal purchases into real Nissan cents.

The Nissan Visa card, offered through Synchrony Financial, allows dedicated brand loyalists (with good credit) to collect points towards a new or pre-owned Nissan vehicle, or servicing. While some owners might entertain thoughts of gassing and eating their way into a new Armada, the card’s other features are probably a bigger draw. The fine print, however, might prove less tempting.

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Pickup Trucks Tanked In April 2017, Titan Quadruples

After improving in 11 consecutive months, U.S. sales of pickup trucks declined 4 percent in April 2017.

8 of the 11 truck nameplates on offer in America sold less often in April 2017 than in April 2016, causing declines in both the dominant full-size pickup truck sector and in the until-this-year burgeoning midsize category.

One month does not a trend make, but April’s downturn didn’t represent the first batch of evidence suggesting a forthcoming pickup truck sales slowdown.

Granted, not all trucks are heading in the same direction.

Nissan Titan sales quadrupled in April 2017.

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  • MelanieRichardson GOOD
  • El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
  • FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
  • Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
  • Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.