By on April 13, 2019

Inmage: Nissan

Regardless of which angle it’s viewed from, Nissan’s next-generation Versa stands atop a box and screams “Nissan!” for all to hear. From the side, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone shrunk the Maxima. Looking at the upward-sweeping character line and upstairs/downstairs door handles, its identity could be that of the new Altima. Head-on, a pedestrian might think they were being run down by a Leaf.

Yes, the 2020 Versa keeps it in the family in terms of design, donning a corporate grille and styling flourishes borrowed from its larger siblings. Perusing the car’s specs, it seems that — flat-bottomed steering wheel aside — its mission hasn’t changed one iota. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

Image: Toyota

The first quarter of 2019 reflected a long-predicted cooling off of U.S. auto sales, with volume falling 2 percent. A few automakers bucked the trend, but the news was generally unpleasant. Of course, rising average transaction prices and a bevy of high-margin trucks, SUVs, and crossovers softened the blow for those who got their lineups in order ahead of time.

One segment that gets very little attention — for many reasons — is the lowest rung of all: subcompact cars, which traditionally provide a stepping stone for buyers just entering the market. Many journos bemoan the loss of low-priced cars, claiming relatively cash-strapped Millennials stand to be priced out of the new vehicle market by rising MSRPs and interest rates. It’s true — the herd is thinning, with the last quarter bringing about the death of the Chevrolet Cruze. (This writer actually bought one; the jury’s out if anyone else out there did.)

Still, despite the industry flux, some nameplates continue to earn the love of buyers who choose to spend as little as possible on a new car. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2019

2017 Nissan Versa Note - Image: NissanAmerica’s demand for subcompact cars tumbled 26 percent in 2018, yet another result that points to the eventual demise of all but a few B-segment cars.

2018’s sharp drop – equal to roughly 94,000 fewer sales in the core eight-car subcompact category – follows an equally harsh decline in 2017, when the segment lost more than 95,000 units. Led by a sharp reduction in sales of the top-selling Nissan Versa and year-over-year percentage declines of more than 29 per cent for the Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Toyota Prius C, and Toyota Yaris, the category’s volume has fallen 48 percent since 2014.

And before you say, “Well, cars are all unpopular these days,” keep 2018’s five million-plus car buyers in mind. Car buyers do, in fact, still exist.

But subcompact car buyers are disappearing much, much faster than car buyers at large. And it may well be because the product execution of subcompact cars is really rather poor.  (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2018

Look, there are people who buy cars simply for transportation purposes. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, especially for folks like you and I who are of the opinion that a bright-green Dodge Demon is just the ticket for a daily office commute.

Small, largely style-free sedans have been the mainstay of the affordable end of the market for decades. Despite the wholesale abandonment of that segment by certain automakers, there are still plenty of players in the game. Call ‘em the Econ Majors.

(Read More…)

By on August 28, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

2016 Nissan Versa Sedan - Image: NissanAmerica’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. (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2016

2016 Chevrolet SS blue

Michael Phelps has won more gold medals in the pool at the last four Summer Olympics than the whole Team Canada claimed, across all events, in the last seven.

Despite currently producing more total medals per capita than the American team in Rio, we Canadians can be found suffering from an inferiority complex. And yes, per capita medal counts are the kinds of statistics you can expect from the citizens of a nation that suffer from an inferiority complex.

It doesn’t help that Canada’s new vehicle market, one-ninth the size of the U.S. market, is deemed too small to benefit from one of the planet’s best sports sedan values, the Chevrolet SS.

Yet the Chevrolet SS is by no means the only new vehicle on sale in the United States that doesn’t cross the border. (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2016

Nissan Versa

Through the first-half of 2016, passenger car sales volume is down 8 percent in the United States.

It’s not quite that bad in the subcompact car category, but sharp declines from the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, Toyota Yaris, plus the disappearance of the Mazda2 pushed subcompact car volume down 6 percent.

Yet U.S. sales of the Nissan Versa are on the rise.

Not only are Nissan Versa sales on the rise, the Versa is consistently America’s top-selling subcompact car.

Not only are Versa sales rising now, Versa sales have been on the rise for the last seven years. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2015

TTAC Nissan Micra Versa sales chart

Nissan began selling the Micra in the northern part of North America at the end of April 2014. The Micra was properly available by summer, and over the last twelve months — through the end of June 2015 — 11,832 Micras were sold in Canada.

Could the Micra make it in America? Can we do anything other than report evidence which supports Nissan USA’s decision to leave the Micra to their neighbors in the north and south? (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2015

2015 Nissan Versa Note redWith the hatchback Note available for the duration of the 2014 calendar year, Nissan’s Versa lineup posted huge year-over-year gains in the United States in 2014.

Total Versa volume jumped 19%, or 22,429 units, to a class-leading 139,781 sales in 2014.


• Segment grows in a stagnant car market

• Fit ranked second in the category in 2014 Q4

New Mazda 2 arrives this year


Had Versa volume declined 19%, it still would have ended 2014 as America’s top-selling subcompact. The Versa’s market share in the strict confines of this nine-car subcompact category grew from 23.3% in 2013 to 26.8% in 2014.

(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2014

versa

No nav.

No leather.

No premium or power nuttin’.

All yours for $12,800 before fees, tax, tag, title.

(Read More…)

By on February 24, 2014

450x298xMicra-14-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DYLxdk25LH

The Canada-only Nissan Micra debuts in April, with Nissan hoping to pick up overall market share in The Great White North. But Automotive News reports that one casualty of the Micra’s introduction will be the Versa Sedan – hardly a surprise when both compete at the absolute low end of the market.

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2014

2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior

Making a “cheap” car is a tried and true formula for most auto makers. Making a car with a low sticker and a solid value proposition is tough. Not only do you have to keep the starting price low, but you have to worry about fuel economy, maintenance, insurance and everything that goes into an ownership experience. Reviewing cars that focus heavily on value is even trickier. Indeed a number of buff-book journalists were offended by the Versa Sedan’s plastics, lack of features and small engine. My response was simple: what do you expect of the cheapest car in America? Trouble is, the Versa Note isn’t the cheapest hatchback in America, so this review is about that elusive quality: value.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2013

Sub-prime finance has attracted a bit of interest (no pun intended) over at TTAC lately, and the segment itself has experienced phenomenal growth in the post-bailout era.

Auto lending site www.carfinance.com released a list of the top 10 most popular new and used vehicles as purchased by sub-prime buyers over the last six months. While it’s not the most complete list by any means, it does give us a glimpse into the choices of sub-prime buyers. As far as we know, no such list has ever been compiled prior to this.

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2012

For 2013, America’s cheapest car will get another bit of unloved technology to go along with its continuously variable transmission.

(Read More…)

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