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U.S. Sales Buoy Nissan’s Quarterly Profits

Slow sales in China, Japan force 3.5% cut in global sales outlook.

by on Nov.04, 2014

Nissan's sales jump in October was due, in part to continuing strong results of the Versa.

Nissan’s operating profit was up 22.4% during its second quarter due to strong sales in the U.S.  as well as a weak yen. However, the maker cut its global sales forecast by 3.5% for the year due to weaker than expected sales in China and softness in Japan.

Nissan plans to sell 5.45 million vehicles worldwide during its financial year, which ends March 2015.

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Japan’s No. 2 automaker reported an operating profit of 139.34 billion yet ($1.2 billion), which beat analysts’ estimates. The big driver was strong sales in the U.S., which were up 13.7% during the quarter. Like most of the automakers in America, Nissan benefitted from low gas prices and a slowly recovering economy. (more…)

Nissan Leaf Breaks EV Sales Record for U.S. – Again

Maker tracking to hit 30,000 units.

by on Oct.30, 2014

The Nissan Leaf broke it's on single-year sales record, which it set last year, with two months left this year.

And the winner is…the Nissan Leaf! Again.

The best-selling electric vehicle in the world set a new annual sales record in the U.S. with two months to spare. Through September, the company sold 21,822 Leafs and was on pace to beat the previous high of 22,610 in 2013.

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The Leaf set that record too. For the record, Leaf sales are up 36% this year and are on track to approach 30,000 units. (more…)

Sao Paulo Show Spotlights Some Hot Concepts

Nissan, Fiat and Chevy roll out some edgy possibilities.

by on Oct.30, 2014

The new Nissan Kicks concept takes the Nissan Extrem from pure fantasy to a market position that is a little closer to reality.

While we media scribes tend to focus on a handful of big car shows in Europe, North America and Asia, we risk missing some promising prospects that show up in other locales, this year notably the car show in Brazilian capital Sao Paulo.

Among the makers rolling out concepts for the occasion are Fiat, Chevy and Nissan. Each appears focused on finding distinct new white space between conventional product segments. That’s a tradition in Brazil, but according to several industry sources, don’t be surprised to see some of these show cars wind up in production – possibly even making it to the American market.

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That’s a particularly solid possibility, we’re being told, for the Nissan Kicks, a second take on the Japanese maker’s 2012 Extrem concept. (more…)

Ford Latest to Cut EV Pricing as Battery-Car Market Struggles

Maker trims $6,000 from price tag of Focus Electric.

by on Oct.21, 2014

Ford has so far sold only 1,500 Focus Electric vehicles this year - less than 1% of total Focus sales.

With battery-car sales lagging expectations, automakers have been slashing prices in a bid to spur demand. The latest to announce a big discount is Ford Motor Co., which will trim the MSRP on its Focus Electric model by $6,000.

That’s on top of the $4,000 discount the Detroit maker took on the compact battery-electric vehicle a year ago. Originally introduced in January 2011 at $39,995, buyers now can plug in a Ford Focus Electric for just $29,995 – plus delivery charges and the usual fees and taxes.

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Ford is by no means alone. With rare exception, automakers have been cutting prices of both plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, models in a bid to boost sluggish sales. And with gas prices now near or below $3 a gallon in much of the U.S., industry analysts suggest it will be even more difficult to convince buyers to opt for vehicles that plug in rather than tank up.


Nissan Readying Replacement for Titan Pickup

High-mileage diesel expected to enhance truck’s appeal.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Nissan's Titan replacement will reach market about four years later than originally planned.

Better late than never? Nissan is certainly hoping so – as are those who’ve long been hoping for an update to the maker’s slow-selling full-size pickup.

It’s been a long 11 years since the original Titan made its debut – and four years since the Japanese maker originally planned to offer a replacement. But plans for the update fell apart, forcing Nissan to return to the drawing board.

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What it’s come up with will make a debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and several inside sources have confirmed to that the plans call for that preview to put the spotlight on a new diesel developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan.


Nissan Latest to Join Big Recall Club

Altima sedans could see hoods fly open while driving.

by on Oct.10, 2014

Nissan targets the Altima for recall.

In most years, a recall of 220,000 midsize sedans might make major headlines. This year, however, Nissan’s latest safety news could almost be lost in the noise, the auto industry already recalling roughly 40 million vehicles for all matter of problems.

But the Japanese maker is warning that it is looking into the possibility that its problems could be more serious, leading to a possible expansion of today’s announcement.

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The initial news, at least, involves 220,000 Nissan Altima sedans sold in the U.S. during the 2013 model-year because their secondary hood latches could fail. If that happens, the hoods could potentially fly open while the vehicles are in motion.


Global Union Chiefs Gather at Nissan Plant in Mississippi

Group investigating alleged workplace violations.

by on Oct.09, 2014

Nissan's Canton, Miss. plant is hosting union leaders from around the globe.

Union influence is beginning to be felt in earnest across the south United States. Just days after the UAW opened a new Local at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, a group of global union leaders are descending on Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi, to meet with plant employees and community leaders.

The plan is to find out what the working conditions are like in the facility and investigate alleged violations of international standards at the plant.  While there they’ll also meet with temporary workers employed by Kelly Services who help staff the plant.

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The delegation is being led by Jyrki Raina, head of the IndustriALL Global Union, which is an international organization that represents more than 50 million workers in 140 countries. Some of those workers include including Nissan and Renault employees in other countries. Raina is being accompanied by representatives of auto unions from six countries including Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Brazil and South Africa. (more…)

Toyota, Nissan and GM Take Top Honors in Motorist Choice Awards

Balancing customer satisfaction and cost of ownership.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Toyota's FJ Cruiser is the favorite SUV, according to IntelliChoice and AutoPacific's Motorist Choice Awards.

When it comes to the brands that best fit their lifestyle needs, U.S. drivers are pointing to Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the three topping the charts in the new Motorist Choice Awards.

Compiled by data tracking service Intellichoice and automotive research firm AutoPacific, Inc., the awards are meant to reveal the vehicles that deliver the best combination of customer satisfaction and lower-than-expected operating costs.

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“Buyers look for a vehicle based on their usage needs and emotional desires” said Daniel Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. “By paying attention to these buying patterns, and incorporating our satisfaction data and IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership insights, we can offer sound advice to consumers across all vehicle segments.” (more…)

Nissan Charged Up about Battery Rumors

Maker denies any changes to powerplant program.

by on Sep.19, 2014

Nissan denied reports that it is considering cutting back on its EV-related production that has been a key component of CEO Carlos Ghosn's tenure.

Nissan officials dismissed speculation that it was preparing to scale back production at its battery plan in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Nissan spokesman Travis Parman said in an e-mail the company have no plans to make any changes in its ambitious electric vehicle program. The program has been a signature initiative of Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive at both Renault and Nissan.

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“The Renault-Nissan Alliance remains 100% committed to its industry-leading EV program. This global commitment continues for the foreseeable future, and we have not taken any decision whatsoever to modify battery sourcing allocation,” Parman wrote. (more…)

Nissan’s Need Sparks One-of-a-Kind “Hybrid” Truck

Customized Leaf creates team camaraderie, meets team’s needs.

by on Sep.18, 2014

Nissan engineers in Arizona needed a truck to use at their tech center so they built one... out of a Leaf.

Auto shops all over the country typically need a reliable “shop truck” to pick up parts and run other errands, and the engineers at Nissan’s technical center in Arizona are no different. Many of these trucks are original creations and Nissan’s truck is no different.

Well, it’s a little different: it’s a Leaf… sort of.

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The 30-plus member durability and reliability team created Sparky: it’s part Frontier, part Titan and mostly Leaf. (more…)