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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.

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“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 TheDetroitBureau.com 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.”

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creates $1 Bil Venture Fund

“We can’t everything ourselves,” says Ghosn.

by on Jan.10, 2018

The new fund is expected to invest about $200 million annually in new technology and services.

The Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance will invest around $1 billion over the next five years to help it fund start-ups and other small tech companies that can help it bring to market electrified, connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn announced Tuesday.

The corporate venture capital, or CVC, fund is intended not only to give the Franco-Japanese alliance access to potentially breakthrough technology but to help it make decisions more quickly than is normally the case for a big corporation, Ghosn said during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Tech News!

“We can do everything ourselves,” explained the Brazilian-born executive. “We have to get access to people who think about things in different ways.”

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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creating $200M Mobility Tech Fund

Franco-Japanese alliance also setting up new robo-taxi project.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, will discuss plans for its $200 million mobility tech fund at CES.

These are challenging times for even the most well-funded automakers. The industry is expected to change more during the next decade than it has during the last century, and carmakers need to stay on top of technologies such as electrification, connected cars and autonomous vehicles, never mind business shifts, such as the rise of car- and ride-sharing services such as Car2Go, Uber and Lyft.

That’s leading the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to set up a $200 million mobility tech fund, according to a report by the Reuters news service. The alliance’s CEO Carlos Ghosn is expected to announce details during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next week.

The Last Word!

Separately, officials with the Franco-Japanese alliance announced plans to set up a consortium aimed at putting robo-taxis into commercial use. Among other things, that could include existing ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, as well as Waymo which is developing its own autonomous and driverless technologies. The Google spinoff has said it does not plan to produce its own vehicles. (more…)

Infiniti Inspired: Q Inspiration Concept Hints at Future Flagship

Q45 reborn?

by on Jan.03, 2018

Infiniti provides a rear view of the Q Inspiration Concept coming to the NAIAS this month.

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 it plans to bring to the North American International Auto Show in mid-January.

Though the brand now uses “Q” to designate all of its passenger car models – and QX for its SUVs and CUVs — the name, Q Inspiration Concept, clearly suggests it is envisioned as the long-awaited successor to the original Q45 sedan that first put the brand on the map.

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“Experimenting with new proportions in a typically conservative segment, the Q Inspiration features a shorter hood and elongated body,” says Karim Habib, here delivering his first major concept car as the newly named Infiniti executive design director. “We aim to take the traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution.”

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Nissan to Demonstrate Brain-to-Vehicle Technology at CES

System can anticipate what a driver is going to do.

by on Jan.03, 2018

A volunteer uses the Nissan B2V technology to test how it works will driving on a simulator.

I think, therefore I drive? So, classical philosopher Rene Descartes might have opined after checking out the new Brain-to-Vehicle technology that Nissan Motor Co. will unveil at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Anyone who has driven a relatively recent-vintage vehicle has probably experienced the benefits – and occasional snags – of voice control. But Nissan’s system is designed to decode what a driver is thinking and use that to help control how a vehicle steers, accelerates or brakes. In an emergency, for example, it could allow a car to begin slowing down as much as a half-second before the driver’s foot actually hits the brake pedal.

Brain Power!

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” helping motorists relax more while driving, while also improving vehicle safety, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan.

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Nissan Hints a Revival of Xterra May Be in the Works

Could it be based off the same platform as next-gen Frontier pickup?

by on Dec.29, 2017

The Nissan Xterra drove off into the sunset in 2015.

All things go in cycles, even when it comes to booming demand for utility vehicles. Make that CUVs, or crossover-utility vehicle, which have all but bumped traditional sport-utes off the market.

But there are signs a revival of classic, body-on-frame SUVs just might be a-coming, with Ford readying a reborn Bronco, Toyota promising to follow the FT-AC Concept with a production model, and Jeep betting big on the all-new remake of the classic Wrangler – currently one of the few true SUVs left on the market.

Market Trends!

Could Nissan be ready to toss its own hat back in the ring, however, with an all-new version of the Xterra, which it pulled from the U.S. market in 2015? Apparently yes, according to a senior Nissan executive.

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Nissan Set to Debut Leaf Grand Touring Concept

GT will share Tokyo stage with Leaf NISMO concept next month.

by on Dec.29, 2017

The two-tone Nissan Leaf Grand Touring Concept will debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Much as Toyota has done with its Prius hybrid, Nissan appears ready to create an entire “family” of Leaf battery-electric vehicles.

The second-largest Japanese automaker plans to pulls the wraps off the Leaf Grand Touring Concept during the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon next month – where it will share the stage with the Nissan Leaf NISMO Concept that was first unveiled at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.

Electrifying News!

Nissan isn’t saying what it might have in mind for the GT show car, but it has been hinting that it wants to offer more than a single variant of the newly redesigned, generation-two Leaf. Among other things, it plans to introduce an optional battery pack later in 2018 that will boost the EVs range from 150 to “200-plus miles.”

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First Drive: 2018 Nissan Leaf

Nissan balances range and price while upping the fun factor.

by on Dec.12, 2017

Nissan's second-generation Leaf features a significant upgrade in range and technology.

Eight years after Nissan lifted the covers on what would become the world’s first mass-market battery-electric vehicle, the Japanese automaker has just launched production of the all-new, second-generation Nissan Leaf.

Plenty has changed since the original model came to market. Batteries are growing more powerful, even as their price has fallen more than six-fold since the beginning of the decade, translating into longer range at lower costs. And while “BEVs” still make up little more than a rounding error when it comes to overall U.S. sales, demand is clearly growing. But so is the list of competitors Leaf has to stare down, including both the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3.

News You Can Use!

With the Gen-2 Leaf, Nissan chose to walk a tightrope. It doesn’t offer quite as much range as the Chevy and Tesla battery-cars, but it’s thousands of dollars cheaper. The 2018 Leaf is also less wonky in appearance and a lot more fun to drive than the model it replaced, TheDetroitBureau.com discovered, during a long day of driving through fire-scarred Napa Valley earlier this month. (more…)