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Study Finds Strong Support for Keeping Mileage Rules Among Key Auto Suppliers

EPA expected to announce CAFE revisions by April 1.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The auto industry is waiting anxiously to see if and how the Trump Administration rewrites the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce revisions to federal mileage rules by April 1, but while a number of automakers are hoping to see a sharp cutback in the standards a new study finds key automotive suppliers hoping the Trump Administration will let the rules stand as they are, ramping up to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

After completing a mandated mid-term review just before leaving office, the Obama Administration decided to maintain that target. But soon after President Donald Trump entered the White House, his EPA chief Scott Pruitt said he would revisit the Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate, appearing to side with auto industry critics who complained CAFE was set to price many buyers out of the new car market.


The debate has led to an unusual split between automakers like Ford and General Motors, who want to roll back the rules, and a number of auto suppliers who support the 54.5 mpg target, according to several reports, including a new study by CALSTART, a California-based consortium aimed at developing clean transportation technologies.


Nissan Teases All-New Altima Ahead of NY Auto Show

Aging sedan gets a welcome makeover.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Nissan's got a new look its teasing for its Altima sedan. The real thing will be on display at the New York Auto Show.

You have to move fast on the auto show circuit. The press days in Geneva are barely over but manufacturers are already teasing what’s to come at the New York International Auto Show later this month.

We’ve already gotten a first look at Kia’s next-generation K900 and now Nissan is teasing the makeover of its mainstay midsize model, the Altima, which is getting its first real redesign since the start of the 2013 model-year.

Breaking News!

What we see is apparently telling us more than just what the new 2019 Altima will look like however, a note from Nissan explaining that, “This official exterior sketch reveals an expressive, sophisticated all-new Altima and hints at the future of Nissan’s sedan design language.” (more…)

Nissan Set to Reveal All-New Altima at NY Auto Show

Nissan hopes to hang onto midsize buyers in an SUV market.

by on Feb.14, 2018

Nissan is looking to ensure that its Altima midsize sedan continues to attract buyers in the competitive segment.

Midsize sedans. Remember them? In reality, while SUVs and CUVs have been gaining lots of momentum in the U.S. marketplace, the classic family four-door is still a seriously popular alternative, ringing up millions of sales each year.

It helps to have new sheet metal in the market, and last year saw two critical offerings, the completely remade Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – the latter being named North American Car of the Year, with Camry a runner-up. Now, it’s Nissan’s turn to weigh in, and the Japanese automaker has confirmed we’ll get our first look at the 2019 Altima at the New York Auto Show in a little more than a month.

Product News!

Spy shots have been popping up in recent months and they suggest we won’t see any radical shift away from Nissan’s current formula. A brief statement from the second-largest Japanese car manufacturer says that, “New Yorkers have always loved the Altima, making the Northeast region the most popular market for Nissan’s best-selling sedan and NYIAS the ideal place to reveal the next generation.” (more…)

Update: Ghosn Successor Plan Wins Thumbs Up from French Government – But Support Comes with Stiff Price

France demanding Renault formally merge with Japanese ally Nissan.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn will get the man he wants to succeed him when he retires: COO Thierry Bollore.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name his successor later this week has cleared a critical hurdle despite creating some turmoil – including the resignation of one of French automaker Renault’s senior board members.

The French government, which owns a major stake in Renault, now says it will accept Ghosn’s plan to appoint Thierry Bollore as the carmaker’s chief operating officer and his heir-apparent. But the government also said that it wants an agreement that Ghosn will push to form an “integrated” company – translation: a merger – with Japan’s Nissan, rather than the current alliance structure. Ghosn has long preferred to see the two companies coordinate efforts but remain independent.

News You Can Trust!

Ghosn, who will turn 64 next month, is expected to be given another four-year contract as chairman, CEO and president of Renault in June, but naming Bollore his successor “is perfectly acceptable to the French shareholder,” according to a source in the government’s finance ministry who spoke to the Reuters news service on Monday. (more…)

Mercedes Dropping Out of Detroit Auto Show in 2019

Auto shows face increasing challenges as automakers look at alternatives.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated the debut of the 2019 G-Wagen at this year's Detroit Auto Show..

(This story has been updated.)

Officials with the North American International Auto Show have confirmed that Mercedes-Benz won’t be on hand when the even returns in January 2019, the latest on a growing list of manufacturers who have decided to pull out of the Detroit show.

The news comes as more and more automakers rethink their commitment to both media previews and public says at events like the NAIAS. As recently reported, industry planners are looking at alternatives that can more directly target potential buyers while also holding down costs. At shows like the NAIAS it can cost as much as $5 million to stage a 20-minute media preview – even more if the event involves the creation of a one-of-a-kind concept vehicle.

Business News!

“At this time Mercedes-Benz AG will not be exhibiting at the upcoming 2019 North American International Auto Show,” said the German marque in a statement. “Our time in Detroit over the years has been very beneficial for our brand, especially coming off of the world debut of the iconic G-Class. Discussions are underway for future show participation.”


Turmoil at Renault as Ghosn Preps to Name Successor

Senior board member ousted.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Thierry Bollore, currently chief operating officer of Renault, is CEO Carlos Ghosn's choice to succeed him when he retires.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name a successor is touching off turmoil within the board of directors at French automaker Renault, according to reports out of Europe.

Senior board member Thierry Desmarest has resigned, according to the Reuters news service, following the recent resignation of Stefan Mueller, Renault’s chief performance officer. Their departures appears to clear the way for Ghosn to name Thierry Bollore as his chief operating officer and heir apparent.

News Now!

One of the highest-profile executives in the automotive world, Ghosn has taken on a variety of senior positions since he was first assigned to rescue the Japanese side of what became the Renault-Nissan Alliance two decades ago. That includes serving as CEO of both Renault and the Alliance, as well as chief executive of Mitsubishi, which recently became third member of the group. (more…)

Nissan Spending $9.5B to Grow China Sales

New plan designed to leap in front of Ford, Toyota and Honda.

by on Feb.05, 2018

Nissan and Dongfeng are counting on growing sales of its low-cost Venucia brand in China to push Nissan past 2.5 million units by 2022.

Through its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi, Nissan may be the best-selling vehicle company in the world, but it still lags General Motors and Volkswagen in China. However, it’s got a $9.5 billion plan to change that.

Nissan executives want to raise its sales by more than 1 million vehicles by 2022 through a mix of new entries, including EVs, and growth of its luxury and low-cost indigenous brands, Infiniti and Venucia, respectively.

Global News!

The move comes in what can be considered a weak sales market in China right now. The country’s auto sales stalled in December and ended 2017 up a meager 1.4% compared with a year ago results, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Sales in 2016 were up 15% compared to 2015. (more…)

Infiniti Will Be “All Electrified” After 2021, Says New CEO

Hiroto Saikawa also hints that Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance may seek a fourth partner.

by on Jan.16, 2018

Nissan's Hiroto Saikawa told attendees at the Automotive News World Congress that Infiniti will be electrified by 2021.

Luxury brand Infiniti will rapidly shift away from conventional powertrains and will be “all electrified,” with the exception of some large SUVs by 2021, according to the automaker’s new CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

The auto industry, as a whole is rapidly beginning to electrify as it comes under increasing pressure from regulators around the world. But the plan for Infiniti is one of the most aggressive moves so far announced by any automotive brand with the exception of Volvo which will switch to only hybrid, plug-in or pure battery-electric power for all new models launched by 2018.

Product News!

“Infiniti will have a specific focus on electrification,” said Saikawa, who replaced Carlos Ghosn as CEO of Nissan Motor Co. on April 1, 2016. “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year plan that will extend through 2022. (more…)

Nissan Xmotion Concept “Signals Design Direction for 2020 and Beyond”

X-Trail reborn or something entirely new?

by on Jan.15, 2018

Nissan's Xmotion Concept is really more than just an idea, it's an early look at something coming around 2020.

Few foreign automakers have become more committed to crossovers than Nissan. It already boasts models ranging from the recently added Kicks up to the big Pathfinder and Murano models – never mind the more classic Armada SUV.

So what to make of the new Xmotion Concept making its debut today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As one senior company insider put it to as we started sniffing around, “We don’t do concepts just for the sake of building a concept anymore.” Translation: the Xmotion is clearly pointing towards a ute that will be joining the line-up sometime around 2020 or “beyond,” according to a Nissan statement.

Product News!

As a three-row, six-passenger design, we can be pretty safe in assuming it won’t be the next-generation Juke. And while there have been rumors that Nissan might revive the classic truck-based X-Trail, we’re getting hints that the Xmotion Concept is intended as an update or replacement for something already in the line-up, and that would seem to suggest the Pathfinder, which migrated from a body-on-frame to car-based platform a few years back. And it would be due a major update around the end of the decade. (more…)

Infiniti Inspired: But What to Make of the New Q Inspiration Concept

Is this the long-awaited successor to the Q45?

by on Jan.15, 2018

The Q45 Inspiration Concept may not show up in the Infiniti line-up but will influence future product design, officials said.

Infiniti has a long history of teasing us with exotic concepts that eventually translate into slightly more sedate production vehicles. So, what to make of the inspiring new fastback prototype making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit?

Have we finally gotten a glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the brand’s original halo car, the 1990 Q45? Or is the new Inspiration just there to tease us with hints of the direction Infiniti will take after a recent shake-up in corporate design management?

What a Concept!

“Our Detroit concept car heralds a new generation of Infiniti,” is all we’re getting from Alfonso Albaisa, the long-time Infiniti stylist who recently was named global design director for parent Nissan Motor Co. The Q Inspiration, he added, it meant to demonstrate Infiniti’s approach to “artistry in the new age of autonomy and breakthrough drivetrains.”