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Infiniti Charges into Detroit With QX Inspiration Battery-Car Concept

This could be “a direct blueprint” for the first pure-electric Infiniti.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Infiniti revealed the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on Jan. 14.

It’s been nearly a decade since Infiniti first promised to bring a battery-electric vehicle into its line-up, the automaker quickly deciding not to go with a gussied-up version of the decidedly down-market Leaf sold by parent brand Nissan.

With Infiniti now trying to plug back in and promising that it will electrify virtually everything in its line-up by 2021, you can expect to get a good idea of what’s coming with the QX Inspiration Concept making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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“The Infiniti QX Inspiration marks the beginning of a new generation of Infiniti cars and establishes a direct blueprint for the brand’s first electric vehicle,” said Christian Meunier, the luxury brand’s new president and chairman. “Based on a new, dedicated electric vehicle architecture and inspired by Infiniti’s Japanese DNA, the SUV concept previews a product portfolio which will offer high performance, ultra-low emissions and range confidence.” (more…)

Nissan Hopes To Electrify With Debut of IMs Concept

Detroit show car hints at expanded line-up of battery-electric vehicles.

by on Jan.14, 2019

Nissan's IMs concept hits the Detroit Auto Show just after the company rolled out its longest-range Leaf ever.

Barely a week after unveiling the latest – and first truly long-range – version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan is offering a glimpse at where it is “imagining” its future in the form of the all-electric IMs “elevated sports sedan.”

The concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show pushes the envelope when it comes to three key trends: the shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. It also features a pure BEV drivetrain, a technology Nissan promises will dominate its line-up moving forward. The show car also adds autonomous driving capabilities. Add them together and, Nissan suggests, its future models will feature a distinctly different approach to design, as well.

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“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.” (more…)

Downsized Detroit Auto Show Still Has Some Big Debuts

SUVs, CUVs, even a few sedans and coupes.

by on Jan.13, 2019

The North American International Auto Show will host scads of new vehicle debuts in January for the last time as it moves to June for 2020.

The North American International Auto Show is set to make its last winter run. No, NAIAS isn’t going away. It’s just moving to June in 2020, a definite relief for those who’ve had to trudge down to the Detroit riverfront for the annual event since it went “international” 30 years ago.

The show is a fair bit downsized from its glory days when as many as 70 new products debuted during three packed days of press previews. That said, this year’s event still has some significant, headline-making vehicles set to make a first appearance.

Auto Show News!

And TheDetroitBureau.com has a list of the most important products set to show up in Detroit this year. Check out this preview of the upcoming week’s highlights: (more…)

Nissan Shake-Up Claims First Victim: Former US CEO Muñoz

Is this the start of a “bloodbath” that will purge non-Japanese senior managers?

by on Jan.11, 2019

Jose Muñoz, Nissan's chief performance officer, parted ways with the automaker today.

José Muñoz, a widely respected Nissan executive and a protégé of ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn, is leaving the automaker just days after he reportedly took a leave of absence to deal with “special tasks.”

Muñoz, who had gone to Japan this week, was said to have resigned, according to Nissan, but several observers questioned whether his departure marks the beginning of a purge of senior managers linked to Ghosn. The 64-year-old executive was arrested on Nov. 19, and accused of a number of financial misdeeds, prosecutors on Friday indicting him for the second time.

Breaking News!

“José Muñoz has elected to resign from Nissan Motor Company, effective immediately,” Nissan said in a statement e-mailed to TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Ghosn Indicted Again

This time Ghosn faces charges of “breach of trust,” as colleague Greg Kelly and Nissan also indicted.

by on Jan.11, 2019

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown here in January 2018, reportedly has lost over 20 pounds while in detention.

Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been indicted again, this time on charged of breach of trust, a development that could again delay his release on bail.

The once-powerful executive has been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center since his arrest on November 19 and already faces charges related to claims he underreported his income by about $44 million between 2011 and 2015. Prosecutors are reportedly looking at other potential charges that arose from a months-long investigation conducted by Nissan.

Breaking News!

Ghosn, who claimed innocence during his first court hearing earlier this week, wasn’t the only one to face a legal setback on Friday. Prosecutors also laid out charges against the 64-year-old executive’s former colleague Greg Kelly, as well as Nissan itself.

(more…)

Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

Stay Charged Up!

“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

(more…)

Ghosn Pleads Not Guilty in First Court Appearance

“I have been wrongly accused,” says former Nissan chief looking gaunt but defiant.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn shown during an appearance at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn made his first public appearance since being unexpectedly arrested on financial corruption allegations Tuesday, telling a Tokyo court that he has been “wrongly accused.”

Ghosn has been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center since shortly after his corporate jet arrived at Haneda Airport on November 19th in a case that, while centered around claims of financial wrongdoing has also raised concerns about whether his arrest was influenced by Nissan’s desire to shake off the control of its alliance partner Renault. The French affiliate rescued the Japanese automaker from bankruptcy 20 years ago but has since dominated their partnership.

Breaking News!

“I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” the 64-year-old Ghosn said while wearing handcuffs tied to a rope around his waist. “I believe strongly that in all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company.”

(more…)

Ousted Nissan Boss Ghosn Ready to Tell His Story in Court

“I think everyone will be rather surprised,” son says.

by on Jan.07, 2019

Carlos Ghosn, former CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, will get his day in court tomorrow.

Seven weeks after his unexpected arrest, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will finally get a chance, albeit a brief one, to lay out his side of the story when he gets to address a court in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Having so far refused to sign a confession demanded by Japanese prosecutors, Ghosn is expected to assert his innocence and deny allegations of various financial wrongdoings during a 10-minute session. It will be the first time since the 64-year-old executive was arrested after landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, that he has been seen in public. He has since been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center.

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“For the first time, he can talk about his version of the allegations against him,” 24-year-old son Anthony Ghosn said in the interview with the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “I think everyone will be rather surprised hearing his version of the story. Until now, we’ve only heard the accusers.” (more…)

Infiniti Aims to Electrify With QX Inspiration Concept

Detroit show car hints at future plans for a plug-based future line-up.

by on Jan.04, 2019

Infiniti will reveal the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on January 14th.

It’s been a year since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, announced plans to shift to an “all electrified” powertrain strategy starting in 2021, but the automaker plans to give us a hint of what’s coming with the debut of the QX Inspiration concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

The show car picks up some of the design cues we first saw at the 2018 NAIAS in the form of the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration. But it picks up on the dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

Beyond the Headlines!

“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” explains design director Karim Habib. “New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and the new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core.”

(more…)

Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

Stay Plugged In!

Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

(more…)