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Posts Tagged ‘nissan news’

The Car Key is Becoming an Endangered Species

Keyless systems quickly taking over.

by on Dec.09, 2014

The red key fob unleashes all 707 horsepower in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The black key limits a driver to "just" 500-hp.

Officially, it isn’t a recall, just a technical service bulletin, but whatever General Motors is calling the announcement, dealers have been advised to replace the keys on 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, as well as several other large pickups and SUVs.

Some owners have complained that when they shift gears they can knock the ignition switch out of position – bringing to mind this year’s earlier recall of GM vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches now linked to 38 deaths and 100s of injuries.

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While that has put the spotlight on GM, the maker is just one of several to order recalls in recent years due to key and ignition switch problems – which is adding more momentum to a broad industry shift away from conventional ignition switches to push-button starters.

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First Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano

A flagship crossover that remains a design benchmark.

by on Dec.08, 2014

The 2015 Nissan Murano shows off its V-Motion grille and floating roof design.

When the original Nissan Murano made its debut a dozen years ago, it stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the SUVs of that era. Conventional wisdom suggested that U.S. buyers wanted rugged utes capable of serious off-roading – or at least looking like they could handle the roughest trails.

One of the first car-based entries in the midsize segment, the Murano didn’t try to disguise what it was with lots of macho cladding. Instead, Nissan’s five-seat crossover put a premium on edgy styling, improved handling and reduced fuel consumption.

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Today, Murano has plenty of competition in a booming segment where car-based crossovers handily outsell traditional, truck-based SUVs. In fact, it’s becoming all but impossible to find a classic body-on-frame ute in a market where even the Ford Explorer and Nissan’s own Pathfinder have migrated to car-based platforms. But as Nissan makes clear with the launch of the 2015 Murano, its midsize model remains a styling trendsetter. (more…)

Nissan Rapidly Boosting US Production

Launch of new Murano bringing local production to 85%.

by on Dec.05, 2014

Jose Munoz, the CEO of Nissan North America, with the third-generation, 2015 Murano.

For its part, Nissan operates two major assembly plants in the U.S. The biggest is in Smyrna, Tennessee, a plant capable of producing up to 650,000 vehicles annually, and employing 8,000 hourly workers. The mile long factory produces the midsize Altima and the Leaf battery-electric vehicle, among other models.

About 400 miles to the southwest, Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi employs another 6,000 blue-collar workers. While production is lower than at Smyrna, the Canton factory is one of the most flexible in the American market, capable of production eight different models, including both car-like unibody vehicles, such as the Murano, and frame-based trucks.

As the first of Nissan’s new third-generation Murano crossovers roll into showrooms this month, buyers will find a lighter, more stylish and more fuel-efficient vehicle. But what only a few are likely to notice is that the new model also will be made in the U.S.

Nissan’s big assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi has become the new, global production base for the 2015 Murano – which until now had rolled off a Nissan line in Kyushu, Japan.

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“We want to localize more of everything we do,” noted Pierre Loing, the head of product planning for Nissan North America.

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Recalls Aside, Automobiles Becoming Safer than Ever

An era of zero fatalities may be within reach.

by on Dec.03, 2014

Volvo's new AstaZero safety proving grounds. The maker wants to see zero deaths in its vehicles.

With a record 54 million vehicles facing recall — and nearly another month to go before the books are closed on 2014 — it’s no surprise American automakers and auto buyers alike have been focused on safety this year.

But despite all the lapses that have seen dozens of deaths from faulty airbags and flawed ignition switches, there’s another side to the story: cars are safer than ever. U.S. highway fatalities are now about 40 percent down from their 1970s peak, even though there are more cars on the road logging more mileage.

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“I don’t think we’ve ever seen vehicle safety reach this level before,” contends Raj Nair, global product development director for Ford Motor Co.

The latest vehicles are not only better-equipped to survive crashes but also to avoid them altogether. That’s led several automakers, including both Nissan and Volvo, to declare that they hope to see no deaths occur in the new vehicles they bring to market by the beginning of the next decade.

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Nissan Launching Teaser Blitz for New Titan Pickup

Maker launches 12-episode "Truckumentary."

by on Dec.01, 2014

Nissan offers a first look at a thinly disguised version of its 2016 Titan pickup.

With the official unveiling of the next-generation Nissan Titan pickup just six weeks away, the Japanese maker is launching a teaser blitz to drum up interest.  That’s probably a good idea considering the Titan has been, at best, an afterthought in a full-size truck segment overwhelming dominated by Detroit.

Nissan originally had big hopes of carving out its own niche, but after 11 years with no major makeover of the outgoing Titan, the maker clearly needs to start all over with a fresh design, improved powertrain options and a raft of new features.

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The first hint of what Nissan will deliver with the 2016 Titan debuts today, notes Chief Product Specialist Rich Miller, who says “The ‘Truckumentary’ is not meant to be the all-encompassing last word on Titan. Rather it’s the continuing story of the vehicle’s evolution, accompanied by a close look at the American-based team that is bringing this all-new truck to market.”

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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.

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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 TheDetroitBureau.com that the plans call for that preview to put the spotlight on a new diesel developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan.

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