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Nissan Will Build Autonomous Vehicles by 2020 – But Will Laws be Ready?

New regulations needed to allow motorists to operate self-driving vehicles, warns CEO Ghosn.

by on May.18, 2015

Carlos Ghosn expects Nissan will begin building fully autonomous vehicles in 2020.

Nissan is on track to put its first fully autonomous vehicle into production in 2020, CEO Carlos Ghosn is confirming. But whether they actually can be driven on public roads will depend on government regulators.

Two years ago, the Japanese maker became the first car company to commit to putting self-driving technology into production. Since then, a number of manufacturers have announced similar plans. Several states, including Nevada, Michigan and California, have enacted laws allowing prototype testing, but experts say the lack of national rules could prevent the sale and use of the technology once production begins.

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“Our cars will be ready,” Nissan CEO Ghosn told reporters during a meeting at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama today. (more…)

Nissan Reports 17.6 Percent Profit Increase

Strong sales in North America, Western Europe aids results.

by on May.13, 2015

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn reviews the automaker's 2014 financial results. Nissan saw profits rise 17.6% last year.

Aided by a strong showing in North America and Western Europe, Nissan reported a 17.6% increase in profits for the fiscal year March 31.

Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive officer for Nissan and for Renault, said Nissan delivered solid full-year revenues and profits. The robust demand, especially for new products in North America and Western Europe, along with cost cutting and a favorable shift in the yen-dollar exchange rate, offset challenging market conditions in Japan and several emerging markets.

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“These are solid results in a highly competitive marketplace,” Ghosn said. (more…)

Nissan Goes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Maker lends autonomous vehicle technology to ocean research.

by on Apr.10, 2015

Nissan is using some of its autonomous vehicle technology to help with sea-floor exploration.

As automakers move toward production of autonomous vehicles, many wonder about the pros and cons of this kind of technology. Many have visions of simply getting behind the wheel and order their car to take them to work.

However, Nissan’s iteration of a self-driving vehicle may lead some riders on a trip they may not have expected until recently: the bottom of the sea. While there are many concerns about what happens when an autonomous vehicle “runs wild,” a Jacques Cousteau-like experience isn’t really on the list.

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In short, forget about the think making you car sick, it’s sea sickness that should be a concern! Nissan is using part of its self-driving technology to help explore the depths of the ocean. (more…)

Feds Aim Rusty Brake Line Probe; Put Onus on Owners

Excess corrosion an issue for many manufacturers.

by on Apr.09, 2015

A 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, one of the GM sport-ute models targeted by the investigation.

Federal regulators have ended a five-year probe of rusting brake lines involving 5 million older General Motors vehicle. Ruling it found no defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has instead put the onus on owners to deal with the potential problem.

The federal safety agency ultimately determined that motorists have been contributing to the problem by failing to wash road salt off of their vehicles, a problem primarily seen in Snowbelt states.

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Excess corrosion has been a problem for a number of manufacturers in recent years. In some cases, such as those involving several Toyota products, NHTSA has ordered recalls. The agency is also facing complaints regarding some Nissan vehicles. But NHTSA has reversed course with the resolution of the GM investigation, indicating that owners need to take steps to keep their vehicles in a safe operating condition.


Nissan and Honda Trade Potshots – and Warn of Troubles Ahead

Keeping incentives under control key to success.

by on Apr.07, 2015

Honda's John Mendel dismissed any notion that Nissan was gaining sales ground on Honda, pointing out that Nissan relies on fleet sales.

Two of the top Japanese automakers have been trading punches in recent days and, in the process, warning of potential problems to come, especially if the U.S. automotive market continues to slow down.

Sales took an unexpected dip in March after five years of generally steady growth coming out of the Great Recession. That has led a number of industry observers to worry that manufacturers might make some risky moves to shore up their sales and market share.

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“As we see the industry flatten, nobody is flattening production volumes,” said Honda of America Executive Vice President John Mendel. As a result, he warned, “You’ll see some bloody battles out there.” (more…)

First Look: 2016 Nissan Maxima

New version builds on sedan’s sporty past.

by on Apr.02, 2015

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan chief, introduces the new Nissan Maxima at the New York Auto Show.

It may not be a pocket rocket, like the GT-R, but the Nissan Maxima has traditionally targeted buyers looking for a midsize to slightly larger car delivering a spirited ride and performance. And Nissan is hoping to up that appeal as it rolls out the latest version of the sedan at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

The 2016 Maxima has been “reimagined and re-energized,” the maker suggests, with a more sporty and distinctive design, a lighter and more rigid platform, features such as its Active Ride Control and, under the hood, an updated version of Maxima’s 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

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The 2016 Nissan Maxima “was designed and engineered here, primarily for U.S. customers,” said the maker’s CEO Carlos Ghosn, during a NY presentation. A key goal, he added, was delivering “a level of performance that moves it closer to its little brother, the GT-R.”


Nissan Recalls 640,000 Altimas

Faulty hood latch cause for action which is a growing problem.

by on Mar.06, 2015

Nissan recalled 640,000 Altimas in the U.S. and Canada from 2013 to 2015 model years.

Nissan is facing a growing problem with faulty hood latches. The automaker recalled 640,000 Altimas in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the total number of vehicles with the problem to nearly 1.1 million.

The newest recall is for 2013-2015 Altimas, which have secondary latches that may not hold properly. In the event the main latch fails, the hood could fly open while a car is in motion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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The automaker has already recalled 238,000 Altimas from the 2013 model year for the same problem. Those were built from March 6, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013, which is a different run of vehicles from the current recall. In January, Nissan recalled 216,000 Nissan Pathfinder SUVs from 2013 and 2014, Infiniti JX35s from 2013 and QX60s from 2014 for the same problem. (more…)

Nissan Hopes to Sway Small Car Buyers with New Concept

Nissan Sway concept expected to reappear as the next Nissan Micra.

by on Feb.25, 2015

The Nissan Sway concept is believed to be a close-to-production design tease for the next Micra.

Nissan is out to prove that big things really can come in small packages, the maker offering up a first teaser image of the new Sway concept vehicle it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

The small hatchback is expected to be a thinly disguised version of the next-generation Micra, according to several sources spoke with. The Nissan Sway concept underscores the increasingly competitive nature of the minicar market, particularly in Europe, where buyers expect many of the same features, and much the same level of creature comfort, as they’d get in larger products.

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“Sway is a glimpse at how a future generation of small Nissan models could look if the company’s striking new design language was applied to a European hatchback,” Nissan said in a short release accompanying the teaser image.


“Father of the Z” Car, Nissan’s Mr. K Dies at 105

“I want to drive a thoroughbred.”

by on Feb.23, 2015

Yutaka Katayama helped build Nissan's U.S. presence "from scratch," the company noted.

Known as “the father of the Z,” the original Nissan 240Z sports car, Yutaka Katayama was both a passionate brand ambassador and a serious business executive who continued to play a role at the Japanese automaker long after his official retirement in 1977.

Katayama, who first joined Nissan in 1935, handling publicity and advertising, died last Thursday, his family announced, at the age of 105.

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Known more widely as Mr. K, Katayama was one of the first American executives for what was then known as Datsun — at a time when Japanese brands had little appeal to U.S. motorists. He helped inspire some desperately needed passion by pushing for a small, stylish and affordable sports car that came to be known as the 240Z.


Infiniti Undergoing Another Management Shake-Up

Maker replaces head of critical U.S. operations.

by on Feb.19, 2015

One of Bartsch's last public duties was handling the debut of the Infiniti Q60 Concept.

Infiniti’s new global CEO is a man who clearly wants his own team in place. And, apparently, Michael Bartsch wasn’t on his list.

The Australian-born Bartsch has been given his walking papers as head of the luxury brand’s U.S. operations, and will be replaced by Randy Parker. The move comes as Infiniti makes some aggressive moves to position itself as a major global luxury brand.

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But while worldwide sales hit a record last year, the brand’s performance in the U.S. lagged behind the rest of the market, apparently leading to the latest shake-up. (more…)