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List Grows as More Automakers Plan to Go Electric

Renault wants hybrids, EVs to generate half its sales by 2022.

by on Oct.06, 2017

Renault now plans to have electric vehicles comprise 50% of its sales by 2022.

French automaker Renault, a pioneer in the drive to electrify, now wants hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles to account for half of its global sales by 2022.

The carmaker is echoing the strategy of its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, which also sees a future increasingly dependent upon electric propulsion systems like the one used in its Leaf model, the world’s best-selling all-electric automobile. More broadly, some of the industry’s largest manufacturers, including General Motors and Volkswagen, as well as smaller and niche players such as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and even Aston Martin, have in recent weeks announced similar plans to shift to electric propulsion.

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“We are confident we can turn upcoming … challenges into significant business opportunities,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault, who also serves as chief executive of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. (more…)

Getting Connected: Nissan Latest to Link Up with Voice Assistant

“Alexa, start my car, please.”

by on Oct.05, 2017

Nissan owners can now ask Alexa to perform a variety of tasks, such as locking and unlocking doors.

Want to find your Nissan Murano in a crowded parking lot? Simply ask Alexa to honk its horn and then unlock the SUV.

Alexa is the wildly popular Amazon voice assistant more commonly used to check weather, set an alarm or play music. But with “her” ability to pair up with all sorts of devices linked to the Internet-of-Things, or IoT, Alexa is now finding fans in the auto industry where the race is on to connect cars to the rest of the world.

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Later this month, Alexa users will be able to activate a “skill” pairing the voice assistant to Nissan ConnectServices, allowing them to remotely control a variety of vehicle functions, including unlocking the car’s doors, flashing its lights or honking the horn. Other automakers, including BMW and Ford are going further, integrating Alexa directly into their vehicles allowing motorists, among other things, to order a pizza or a coffee to go. (more…)

Renault-Nissan’s Ghosn Raises Caution Flag for U.S. Auto Market

Exec expects NAFTA to survive, despite threats from Trump.

by on Sep.28, 2017

Carlos Ghosn relinquished his title as Nissan CEO this year to focus more on Mitsubishi.

After months of decline, September could bring some good news for U.S. automakers, with a modest upturn in new vehicle sales. But don’t expect that upturn to last long, warns Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The Brazilian-born executive said that sales in the U.S. market are likely to remain “stable,” meaning no growth. On the other hand, he told CNBC he doesn’t expect the serious downturn that some observers have begun to worry about after months of weak sales.

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Asked if there’s an opportunity for the American market to grow, following three record years of sales, Ghosn said, “I’m not planning on that,” adding that, “For the next six years we’re seeing a stable U.S. market (but) we don’t see growth in the U.S.”

(more…)

Renault-Nissan Come Even Closer as They Double Down Bet on Battery Power

Alliance targets annual sales of 14 mil vehicles, revenues of $240 bil.

by on Sep.15, 2017

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Alliance expects to sell 14 million vehicles annually by 2022.

Renault and Nissan plan to double their savings by drawing even closer as part of what often is held up as the world’s most successful automotive alliance.

Together, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which also includes Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, has sold more vehicles than any other company in the world so far this year, leap-frogging competitors Volkswagen and Toyota. Now, as part of the new Alliance 2022 strategy, the goal is to boost global sales nearly 40%, to 14 million a year by 2022, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn said Friday. The partners also announced their goal of having electrified vehicles represent 30% of its global total.

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“This plan will boost the growth and profitability of our member companies,” said Ghosn. “We intend to deliver on growing synergies, with three autonomous companies cooperating with the efficiency of one. The Alliance has grown and performed with two members since 1999. With Alliance 2022, we will prove that we will grow and perform with three companies or more.” (more…)

First Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf

Second-gen model gets horsepower and range upgrades.

by on Sep.07, 2017

The second-generation Nissan Leaf offers more horsepower and nearly double the range of its predecessor.

Most anyone who has driven a modern electric car acknowledges that they are fun to drive with solid ride and handling and the kind of pickup from a standing start that can match a good old-fashioned muscle car.

With the introduction of the second generation all-electric Leaf, perhaps the most successful and popular electric vehicle on the market in the past decade, Nissan is doubling down on the fun-to-drive component of EVs, even as it extends its range and adds new technology into the car, while maintaining what it describes as an affordable price, which starts at $29,990 before adding in the $885 destination charge.

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At its heart, the 2018 Leaf’s electric powertrain has been upgraded. The new Leaf carries a 40-kilowatt battery with a range 150 mileswhich translates into a 40% improvement over the previous generation vehicle and opens the door to longer commutes and reducing driver anxiety. The new e-powertrain is rated at 147 horsepower and 236 foot-pounds of torque, providing improved acceleration and seat-of-the-pants driving enjoyment. (more…)

Nissan Looking to Add Electric SUV

Would join second-generation Leaf hatchback.

by on Sep.07, 2017

As the new Leaf begins rolling off assembly lines, Nissan officials are trying to determine what type of vehicle they'll electrify next.

Even as it launches its second-generation Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan Motor Co. is looking to the future and considering what electrified products could come next.

“We might have a crossover EV shortly in the future,” Daniele Schillaci, the Japanese automaker’s global marketing and sales director told reporters on Thursday.

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Such a move would not only expand the automaker’s line-up of all-electric models but move it into one of the world’s fastest-growing product segments. SUVs are especially popular in the U.S., where light trucks, in general, now account for almost two-thirds of the total new vehicle market. (more…)

Nissan Expects 2018 Leaf to Turnover New Buyers

Maker plans to play up Leaf's performance, not its green impact.

by on Sep.06, 2017

Nissan's 2018 Leaf EV is expected to see a bump in sales as interest in electric vehicles is on the rise.

(This story has been updated to reflect the coming addition of an optional, longer-range battery and higher-performance powertrain for the Leaf.)

The rising interest in electric vehicles as well as well as the availability of competitive models will ultimately help Nissan sell EVs in the U.S. once the 2018 Leaf goes on sale across the country early next month, company officials predicted as they took the wraps off the Leaf during an event in Las Vegas.

Brian Mangano, director of EV marketing and sales strategy, noted during an interview that there is greater awareness of electric vehicles now than there was back in 2010 when the first-generation Leaf made its debut. “It’s the awareness that comes with more entrants into the market. It validates EVs as a viable mobility option. Those things help us along,” he said.

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“Plus, we’ve just learned a lot. We’ve expanded into new markets. We’ve been available in all 50 states for a long time, but we’ve expanded our marketing efforts in places like Vermont,” said Mangano, who noted the since its launch in 2010, Leaf has been the most affordable mass production EV in the world. (more…)

Nissan Rolls the Design Dice with 2018 Leaf

Conservative-looking EV expected to hit dealers early next year.

by on Sep.05, 2017

Nissan took a gamble with a conservative design for its second-generation Leaf, which debuted in Las Vegas.

For much of the motoring public, electric vehicles remain something of an exotic technology that carmakers are doubling down on EVs as the automotive landscape continues to change. Nissan and its ally, Renault, are moving to remain the leader in battery-electric vehicles.

José Muñoz, chief performance officer, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and chairman, Nissan North America Inc., said Nissan’s objective is to remain the global leader in electric vehicle sales as he unveiled the second-generation of the Nissan Leaf at an event in Las Vegas.

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The Las Vegas debut immediately followed the Leaf’s global launch in Tokyo, Japan. The next-generation Leaf goes on sale at Nissan dealers in all 50 states in early 2018, Munoz said. (more…)

Nissan Floats New Armada, Adds “Intelligent” Mirror

System helps driver see around interior obstacles.

by on Aug.30, 2017

Nissan will become the first to offer a camera-based mirror as standard gear on the Armada.

All hands on deck. Nissan is offering some notable options for the 2018 Armada SUV, including he brand’s first “Intelligent Rear View Mirror.”

The technology uses a remote camera to allow a motorist to see around obstacles inside the three-row, eight-passenger cabin, images displayed on an LCD monitor built into the conventional rearview mirror. While Cadillac already offers a similar system on several of its own models, Nissan is the first to make a smart mirror standard equipment on any vehicle.

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“Not since a magic mirror of children’s fables has a mirror seemed to have such special powers as the new I-RVM,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “It provides a clear, expanded field of view under a wide range of conditions – giving the driver the best possible view of the rear flanks no matter how tall the passengers in the back seat or how many balloons you have to take to that party.”

(more…)

Automakers Moving to Help Hard-Hit Houston

Companies offering donations, payment flexibility.

by on Aug.29, 2017

Texas dealerships are being devastated by Hurricane Harvey and automakers are rallying to help.

Automakers are mobilizing to provide assistance to customers and dealers in Texas caught in the devastating rain and flooding from Hurricane Harvey by offering payment relief as well as cash for the recovery efforts going forward.

“On behalf of Ford Motor Co., our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this devastating storm. We know for certain that many dealers in the area have sustained significant damage. We are gathering information from local authorities and dealers so we can offer our assistance in the most effective way possible,” Ford said in a statement.

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The Ford Motor Company Fund is contributing $100,000 to disaster relief efforts in Texas, as well as matching up to $50,000 in contributions to the American Red Cross, raising potential assistance from Ford to $200,000. (more…)