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Renault-Nissan, Microsoft Ink New Connected Car Deal

Renault-Nissan, Microsoft Ink New Connected Car Deal

by on Sep.26, 2016

Renault-Nissan and Microsoft are teaming up to develop next-generation connected car technology.

Renault-Nissan and Microsoft just inked a global, multiyear deal to partner on next-generation technologies that will advance connected driving experiences like navigation, mobile services and, ultimately, autonomous driving.

The new venture is only the latest in a series of alliances that have sprung up in recent years between old-line automobile manufacturers with their expertise in bending metal and mass production and tech companies with their roots in the digital economy.

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Microsoft, however, is something of a veteran at partnering with car companies having entered into a venture with the Ford Motor Co. nearly a decade ago when connected cars were a novelty and self-driving cars still belonged in science fiction movies as far as the general public was concerned. One of the fruits of the Ford-Microsoft alliance with the oft-criticized Sync system. (more…)

Despite Retreat by Some Makers, Diesel Not Dead Yet

BMW cleared to sell diesels in U.S. after meeting new, tougher standard.

by on Sep.07, 2016

BMW delayed the launch of its various diesel models in the U.S. due to added testing, which they have passed.

For years, Volkswagen set the stage for the comeback for the diesel engine for the U.S. market and its continued growth worldwide. Now it appears to be the leader in killing it.

The German automaker’s recent scandal has not only cast doubt in the minds of potential buyers of diesels, it has other automakers reconsidering their diesel-center plans. Renault executives recently stated that they expect diesel engines to disappear … in Europe.

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The announcement came after the French automaker examined the costs of meeting tougher emissions standards after the VW scandal. According to Reuters, the determination was revealed during an internal meeting earlier this summer. (more…)

Renault and Nissan Tighten Embrace to Boost Earnings

Partners target $6 billion in new synergies.

by on Mar.04, 2016

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn sees more opportunities for savings.

Already one of the most successful partnerships in automotive history, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is targeting an additional $6 billion in new “synergies” by 2018, the two carmakers announced Friday.

The plan comes as something of a victory lap for Carlos Ghosn, the Brazilian-born executive who serves as CEO of the two companies. Late last year, he beat back a push by the French government, a major investor in Renault, which threatened to fracture the Euro-Asian alliance.

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“The auto industry is rapidly evolving, requiring Renault and Nissan to leverage the Alliance as a pragmatic business tool,” said Ghosn in a prepared statement.


Daimler, Renault/Nissan Could be Open to Alliance with Fiat Chrysler

Six years in, Daimler and Renault/Nissan continue to expand their partnership.

by on Sep.16, 2015

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche and Renault/Nissan's Carlos Ghosn brief reporters on their growing alliance during a meeting in Frankfurt.

Increasingly frustrated in his bid to merger with General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne might consider an alternative in his bid for better economies of scale.

At a media briefing called to discuss the results of their own, six-year partnership, Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche and Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said they would be open to the possibilities of adding FCA to their successful alliance.

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“Any single opportunity we have in front of us…we will entertain,” said Renault/Nissan’s Ghosn.


Smart Reveals New ForTwo Cabrio

America’s smallest car goes topless.

by on Aug.28, 2015

The newly redesigned Smart ForTwo Cabrio will offer a three-position canvas top.

The new Smart car hasn’t yet landed in showrooms in the U.S. but the German microcar maker is already rolling out a second version, with a third on the way.

The redesigned Smart ForTwo Cabrio gets a new canvas “tritop” that can open up like a sunroof or fold back more like a conventional convertible. Set to formally debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the two-seater will reach showrooms in mid-spring 2016.

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“Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for”, said Smart brand boss Annette Winkler. “I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon.”


EVs Going Mainstream, Insists Renault-Nissan’s Ghosn

Exec promises new, extended-range battery cars coming later this year.

by on Jul.07, 2015

Sales of the Nissan Leaf have slowed by about 23% in the U.S. so far this year.

Despite recent struggles in the market, battery-electric vehicles are going “mainstream ,” or so says Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance – which just happens to produce the world’s best-selling EV, the Nissan Leaf.

That optimism might not be shared by everyone. With gas prices in a slump – and expected to dip even further – sales of battery-based vehicles have taken a sharp tumble this year. The Leaf itself was down 23% in the U.S. for the first half of 2013. But in a commentary on LinkedIn, Ghosn suggested the setback is temporary.

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And he predicted demand will get a boost with the launch of longer-range electric vehicles such as the ones Renault-Nissan plans to introduce later this year.

“From the start, we set lofty goals for the LEAF. While we fell short of our initial sales targets, I remain bullish on the future of EVs as they move into the mainstream,” Ghosn wrote.


Citroen Show Car to Deliver 141 MPG

Nothing prickly about the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L.

by on Sep.19, 2014

The Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L is as large as a Ford Focus but lighter than a Mazda Miata.

It’s as big as a Ford Focus, lighter than a Mazda Miata, and can cut through the air nearly as efficiently as a jet. But what’s likely to stand out most about the new Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow concept is its fuel economy, an estimated 141 miles per gallon.

While that’s not quite up there with the 261 mpg Volkswagen XL1, or even the new 235 mpg Renault Eolab prototype, the new Citroen appears to be perhaps the most practical of the three models – though it remains to be seen if the French maker can actually bring the Cactus Airflow to production.

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Set to debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, the full name of the new concept vehicle is the Citroen C4 Cactus Airflow 2L – the little fillip at the end is arguably the most significant detail, as it positions the latest Cactus concept as a so-called two-liter car. In other words, it burns that much fuel to go 100 kilometers. For metrically challenged Americans, think of going more than 70 miles on barely a half gallon of gas.

To get there isn’t easy, of course – at least not for Citroen designers and engineers.


Renault Eolab Concept Delivers 235 mpg in Style

Prototype opts for lightweight materials, advanced aero and new hybrid technologies.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The Renault Eolab sips barely 1 liter of fuel every 100 km, and gets 37 miles per charge.

When Volkswagen announced plans to go into production with its 261 mile per gallon XL1 it seemed unlikely any manufacturer would be able to top it. Perhaps, but Renault is ready to come close with the new three-door Eolab concept vehicle it plans to unveil at the Paris Motor Show next month.

The French hatchback will only be able to manage a mere 235 mpg, according to Renault – but it also should deliver nearly twice the power of the anemic German mileage champ.

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For now, the real difference is that Volkswagen is rolling out 250 copies of the XL1 where Renault plans to use the Eolab as a test bed for technologies it says it might bring to market in the near future.


Nissan, Daimler Power up their Growing Alliance

New Infiniti plant will also provide engines for Mercedes C-Class.

by on Jun.13, 2014

Infiniti's new Decherd plant will eventually have capacity to produce 250,000 engines annually.

The growing, three-way alliance between Nissan, Renault and Daimler is about to take a critical next step with opening later this month of an engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee.

Officially known as the Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant, the facility will serve not only the Nissan luxury brand but also provide engines for the Mercedes-Benz assembly line in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


The three makers first agreed to work together in 2010, announcing a variety of projects that included joint vehicle development and a powertrain swap – the latter leading to the Decherd program. The factory will initially produce a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that will be used in European versions of the Infiniti Q50 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.


New Renault Twingo Offers Hint of New Smart ForFour

Smaller outside, bigger In – with new rear-engine layout.

by on Mar.05, 2014

The new Renault Twingo will share its platform with the upcoming Smart ForFour 4-seater.

There’s a big car inside the little Renault Twingo making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show this year – and it offers some significant hints as to what’s to come when Smart unveils its own new minicar, the Forfour, later in 2014.

The two vehicles were developed as part of an expanding alliance pairing the French automaker and Smart’s German parent Daimler AG – along with Renault’s Japanese partner Nissan.  The three makers are jointly developing an array of vehicles, from microcars to compact luxury models.

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The new Twingo is more than just a modest redesign. Working with Smart, Renault made some radical changes – starting with the decision to mount the engine in the rear, a strategy that offers a number of advantages, contends Benoit Bochard, the program’s product planning chief.  Among other things, it helped engineers move the front axle forward, yielding significantly more space for both passengers and cargo.