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Nissan Filling the Need for Speed with New GT-R, 370Z

Japanese maker brings the fast with new debuts.

by on Apr.11, 2017

The new 2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe Heritage Edition hits the show floor at this year's New York Auto Show.

Nissan is getting back to its sports car heritage with the release of two new models in New York: the limited production GT-R Track Edition and the new 370Z Heritage.

The new GT-R Track edition follows the earlier releases of the GT-R Premium and GT-R Nismo, actually it melds the best of both of those models. Nissan claims it “occupies a unique position” resting between the touring and racing sides of the GT-R line-up.

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It puts out the Premium’s 565 horsepower — compared with the Nismo’s 600 hp — but sways back toward the “racing” side with additional adhesive bonding (in addition to spot welding), which helps increase body shell rigidity versus the GT-R Premium model. (more…)

Nissan Gets a Gripz on the Next Juke

A hint of a sportier Juke to come.

by on Sep.15, 2015

The Nissan Gripz Concept aims to blend the functionality of a Juke with the sportiness of a 370Z.

Even before it rolled onto the stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, the Nissan Gripz was already generating some wild rumors suggesting it might be anything from the next Juke crossover to a replacement for the Nissan 370Z sports car.

In a sense, both of those ideas are accurate. No, the Z-car isn’t going away, but today’s buyers want something more than the minimal soft-roaders of years past, and the Gripz suggests the next-generation Juke will bring not only the flexibility and utility of a crossover vehicle, but also the fun-to-drive characteristics of a sports cars.

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Exactly how much of the Gripz concept will carry over into production remains to be seen, but expect to see some key elements, including the so-called V-Motion grille, which Nissan global creative director Shiro Nakamura confirmed will be the new face of Nissan products.


Nissan Teases Mystery Car Before Frankfurt Show

But crossover likely to be next-generation Juke.

by on Sep.08, 2015

Nissan's show car teaser has kicked off plenty of speculation prior to the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Who is that masked man? Or so went the line from the old Lone Ranger TV show. Lately, the question might be, what is that masked car? There’s been plenty of speculation about the teaser image Nissan has released in advance of its news conference at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Unlike some manufacturers who have given us a clear sense of what to expect next week, Nissan has issued only a most cryptic comment, its news release asking, “”So can Nissan continue to innovate and move the bar higher? What if Nissan created a new way to feel driving excitement? The answer will come at the Frankfurt Motor Show.”

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Among the wilder theories, some are speculating this mystery vehicle might be an all-new replacement for the Nissan Z-Car. Considering the huge migration from passenger cars to utility vehicles, perhaps that might actually make a bit of sense. But the reality is likely a lot simpler.


Nissan Slashes Prices on 2014 Z-Car By up to $3,100

Japanese maker’s recent price cuts have generated new sales momentum.

by on Jul.29, 2013

Nissan is cutting the price of the 2014 370Z by as much as $3,000.

If it were a few months later Nissan might have wanted to hand out Santa suits to its sales folks, but even being the middle of a scorching hot summer, the maker is gearing up to deliver some bit presents to fans of its Z-car, price cuts that run to more than $3,000 depending upon the specific model.

It’s the latest in a series of price reductions by Japan’s second-largest automaker covering a wide range of its U.S. product lineup, from the Leaf battery-electric vehicle to some of the newest offerings in the Infiniti brand. And industry analysts suggest the strategy is working, Nissan sales getting a big boost in recent months.

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The latest pricing announcement covers the 2014 Nissan Z-car line-up, which includes the 2014 versions of the 370Z, the 370Z Nismo and the 370Z Roadster. Prices will dip by as much as $3,130 on the standard coupe version – the base six-speed manual set at $29,990 – while the price of the top-line Touring edition drops $2,550, to $35,270. (more…)

Nismo 370Z Coming This Summer

Nissan second product joins Juke Nismo.

by on May.01, 2013

Nissan announced the 370Z Nismo will reach dealer showrooms this summer.

Nissan announced back in February that it would be expanding its performance-oriented sub-brand, dubbed Nismo for Nissan Motorsports, which will offer sportier, enthusiast versions of Nissan products. And now the second Nismo-inspired vehicle is coming.

The Nismo version of the Nissan 370Z will reach showrooms this summer.

The 2014 370Z Nismo follows the new Nismo design theme with distinctive new exterior and interior accents.

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“The 370Z Nismo, since its introduction as part of the original Nissan 350Z lineup, has embodied the spirit of Nismo – race-proven engineering that is attainable,” said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product and Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan Americas.


Nissan Goes Subtle With ’13 Z-Car Update

2013 370Z will be offered in three body styles.

by on Feb.08, 2012

Can you spot the changes in the new Z-Car?

If Nissan’s newly-updated 370Z were a game it would be the type that requires you to spot the subtle differences between two largely identical images.  To borrow various clichés, the changes for 2013 are “subtle” and “evolutionary,” rather than the type likely to grab your immediate attention.

Not that this necessarily matters, as the outgoing model was a pretty striking design that doesn’t need many changes to stay fresh.

Your Auto Show Guide!

So, for the 2013 update making its debut today at the Chicago Auto Show, the most significant changes include:

  • A refreshed front fascia with vertical LED daytime running lights;
  • Revised 19-inch aluminum allow wheels on the Sport Package and new 18-inch wheels for the 370Z Coupe;
  • Euro-tuned shocks on the Sport Package models; and
  • Two new exterior colors: Magma Red and Midnight Blue.


Toyota Output Down 542 Thousand in March

Japanese makers reporting huge production losses after March 11 disaster.

by on Apr.25, 2011

Toyota is building Prius again - but at a reduced rate.

The devastating disaster that struck Japan last month has a calamitous impact on the world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Co. today reporting its global output fell by nearly a third in March — and with the company unlikely to resume normal production levels until the very end of 2011, Toyota seems all but certain to lose its position as industry sales leader.

But Toyota is by no means unique among Japanese makers.  The Asian nation’s powerful auto industry has been humbled by the combination of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power crisis that continues to wreak havoc on Japan’s manufacturing capabilities.

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Toyota has been especially hard hit because it depends more on Japanese assembly lines than other major Japanese makers, like Nissan and Honda, who have steadily shifted more and more of their production abroad.  But even those makers are struggling because of their continuing dependence on Japanese-made parts shipped to so-called “transplant” assembly lines in North America, Europe and other parts of the world.

Toyota’s Japanese-based plants were all but shut down in the wake of the March 11 disaster, vehicle output for the month plunging to just 129,491, a 63% decline.  Of that number, 107,751 were exported, a 33% drop from year-earlier levels.


Camaro Kicks Mustang’s Derriere. Again!

Nine months running, the original pony car loses the sales race?

by on Mar.05, 2010

How sweet it is to trounce Mustang.

Chevrolet Camaro extended its lead in the U.S. sports car segment in February, posting 6,482 total sales.

This is a 21% increase when compared to January results and easily outpaces the original pony car, the fading Ford Mustang at 5,115.

Year-to date, it’s Camaro, 11,853 in sales and Mustang at 9,862.

More importantly from a trend line point of view, Chevrolet Camaro has now outsold the Ford Mustang for nine consecutive months – while being production constrained all the way.

Ford seems to be taking a “wait until next year” attitude?

GM’s Oshawa, Canada, Assembly Plant has been running Saturday overtime since June 2009 to keep up with demand for Camaro.

Where, oh where, is now retired Ford sales executive Bob Rewey, when Ford needs him, Mustang aficionados might ask?

Overshadowed by an upstart from a bankrupt company? "Rewey" the day...

With this ongoing rout, there is no doubt that Rewey, who arguably moved more metal than any other Ford sales executive since Lido Anthony Iacocca, would be on the phone with key dealers and pushing through the packages and promotions that would — at the very least – let Alan Batey, the new vice president, sales and service at Chevrolet, know that this ball game is going into extra innings.

Ford did not respond to our requests for clarification and comment, basically the same approach it’s taking in the marketplace.

Moreover, it’s not only the Mustang in Camaro’s rearview mirror. Such formidable competitors as the Nissan 370Z, at 1,372 sales YTD and Dodge Challenger, 3,828 YTD, are eating Camaro dust as well.   (more…)

World Car of the Year Finalists Announced

European makers dominate.

by on Feb.05, 2010

Porsche's Panamera is one of the European models that dominate the Top 10 list of finalists for World Car of the Year.

European makers, ranging from giant Volkswagen to the lilliputian Lotus, dominate the list of finalists for World Car of the Year – or, more accurately, lists, for the judges, this year, have been asked to choose both a World Car of the Year and a World Performance Car of the Year.

The multi-stage voting process plays out, appropriately, around the world, with the two Top 10 lists being each whittled down to a final three, those picks to be announced at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.  The winners will be named, in April, at the New York International Auto Show, the event that traditionally wraps up the spring auto show season.

Launched in 2004, the World Car of the Year project now includes 59 North and South American, European and Asian judges.  Their task is a tricky one in that it requires the jurors to look beyond their own borders at vehicles they may normally not see on their own local roads.  That tends to eliminate regional products from consideration, based on the WCOTY’s history.  It, in turn, seems to provide an advantage to those brands that market products on a truly global basis.

The Winner!

Notably, six of the 10 finalists for World Car of the Year come from Europe, including the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the latest Volkswagen Polo.  Only two are Japanese and one is Korean, the Kia Soul.  The full list after the jump:


First Drive: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

If timing is everything, does 4.7 seconds, 0 - 60, count?

by on Mar.20, 2009

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count?

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count? Okay fuel economy might help.

Timing is everything – especially when it comes to muscle cars. It’s hard to argue against 0 to 60 times, of course. This is a class that embraces the hare, not the tortoise. But timing matters in another sense.  The original Ford Mustang hit the streets at precisely the right time to launch the pony car craze, and enthusiasm seemed even stronger when the first Chevrolet Camaro followed, two years later.

Ford hit it right, once again, with the 2002 Mustang, which launched the short-lived retro craze. Dodge, however, couldn’t have planned it worse with the introduction of the resurrected Challenger, which hit market just as oil prices started soaring to record levels. So what to make of the reborn, 2010 Camaro, which went into production this week?

There’s no question it’s long overdue. The concept version made its debut at the 2006 North American Auto Show, and was unquestionably the star of that event. But a lot has changed in those three years.  While fuel prices have settled back from their mid-’08 peak, everyone expects they’ll shoot back up when the recession ends.  And that pesky economic downturn has resulted in the lowest demand for new cars since, well, not long after the original Chevy Camaro rolled into showrooms, more than four decades ago. (more…)