If I didn’t already have a newer model, I’d be sorely tempted:
In thirty-five states, the Ford F-150 pickup truck is the single best-selling motor vehicle. This of course means that something actually outsells the F-150 in the remaining states, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have figured this: Oklahomans buy more Nissan Altimas than anything else.
Then again, maybe I should have. If everybody actually shows up to work, the parking lot will be awash in Nissan products: apart from my Infiniti, you’ll find a Frontier pickup, a Maxima, and two — sometimes three — Altimas. (El Jefe has, or at least had for several years, the massive Armada SUV, and I’ve seen him in a Z.) Only Chevy comes close. I’m guessing this is because none of us, El Jefe included, are getting rich.
You will now be able to get Certified Pre-Owned Nissan Leafs (Leaves?), assuming some are actually traded in:
Beginning in September, Certified Pre-Owned Nissan LEAF vehicles will be backed by the company to provide years of quality and performance at a great value.
In addition to the existing 8-year/100,000 mile battery warranty coverage protecting against defects in materials and workmanship, and 5 year/60,000 mile coverage for battery capacity loss below 9 bars of capacity as shown by the vehicle’s battery capacity level gauge, Nissan will extend the EV system and powertrain warranty coverage to 7 years or 100,000 miles.
All warranties, of course, are Whichever Comes First.
The battery gauge has 12 bars, but this does not necessarily mean that capacity eventually drops to 75 percent; if I’ve learned nothing else as the owner of a Nissan-built vehicle, it’s that the gauge calibrations, other than speedo/tach, are more arbitrary than linear.
Doug DeMuro’s Frankfurt Auto Show recap for TTAC contained the following paragraph:
Nissan revealed the all-new X-Trail, which will be sold stateside as the Rogue. Female drivers rejoiced, while male car shoppers thought to themselves: Am I comfortable enough with my sexuality to like this?
No photo was offered, so I went out hunting, and came up with this rendering courtesy of Australia’s The Motor Report:
It’s not as bizarre as the Juke, but scarcely anything is as bizarre as the Juke. Still, I continue to maintain that a Real Man™ drives what he damn well pleases. Were I buying in this class, I’d probably rather have a Mazda CX-5, which is similarly devoid of the sort of boy-racer styling cues that DeMuro suggests, possibly tongue-in-cheek, that the lads covet.
I mean, he put up something like £76,000 to own this car:
Wonder if he’s had his 30,000-km service yet.
From Car and Driver‘s take (8/13) on the Nissan Juke NISMO:
There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does, so clearly drawn without conventional aesthetic considerations in mind. And its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or negative bead of adhesive in the Juke’s batrachian body.
The online version of this same half-paragraph is a lot less scintillating:
There are no logical reasons for it to look the way it does; its aesthetics are so clearly drawn without concern for what critics would think. Its 1.6-liter turbo four is an overachiever, imbuing this automotive non sequitur with the verve to match its shape. There’s not a cynical bolt or bead of adhesive in the Juke’s spunky, amphibian body.
I have to assume that someone in the Web department choked on “batrachian,” and that’s a shame, unless you’re Miss Piggy.
(Title from this recording, a copy of which I have owned for close to forty years.)
Actual Nissan ad from Fark.com, screencapped on Sunday, 2 June 2013 at just after 11 pm:
Hope they can unload some of these before the ’14s start showing up.
Species that exhibit non-optimal behavior, says Mr Darwin, are on the royal road to extinction. Two or three cars from now, you won’t have to deal with some joker like this anymore:
Today I went to verify that I love the 2013 Nissan Rogue which I got to know as a rental on two long business trips. The salesman thought I’d save a lot of money if I bought the 2012 because it [was] essentially unchanged. I told him no, so he went to retrieve the car I asked for so I could try out the equipment I wanted and he brought back a 2012 for me to test drive.
Perhaps this was his way of proving that the ’13 was not so different from the ’12, inasmuch as he couldn’t tell them apart himself.
But no, that’s giving the fellow too much credit:
I didn’t stay to hash it out because I had to leave when he referred to my fatness. (Yes he did.) (The one absolutely unlivable thing about the Rogue is that it has crappy fabric like a reusable grocery bag on the door handles and console cover when I was explaining that my current car has that and it’s a problem with hand prints and wear, he said something like “Larger people like you and me have special problems and we need a lot of room to maneuver around.” Dude, I might be fat but I’m not so fat that I rub the fabric off of car doors.)
Way to go with the synthetic empathy, chump.
How long do we have before dealer-franchise laws are yanked and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down? Ten, fifteen years?
Funny thing: the first ads for Infiniti, which wouldn’t show you anything so gauche as an actual car, are now better remembered than the cars they failed to show. (In fact, apparently they’re so well remembered that no one has bothered to post them to YouTube.) Eventually Nissan figured out that they ought to show a car once in a while, even if the message was muddled otherwise.
Mazda, however, hasn’t had a really memorable TV spot since the old rotary days. I’m not sure what to think of this one, but I definitely approve the music (and the musicians).
Not a place on the map, but a fact of life. Last time I took Gwendolyn in for a spa day, the techs declared that one engine mount and one transmission mount were not long for this world. That was 1600 miles ago. As usual with stuff like this, there’s not going to be much change from a $1000 bill.
Still, what’s the alternative? Ditch her and buy someone else’s problems? It is a fact of life that no one ever traded in a car because it was running too well.
Not that you were going to or anything, but if you pointed at my car’s dashboard and asked me “What’s the least-accurate display here?” I’d tell you, without hesitation, that it’s the gas gauge: the last time it bottomed out, the subsequent refill took just under 15 gallons — for a 70-liter (18.5-gallon) tank.
But people don’t post pictures of their gas gauges on Facebook, so this is the complaint:
When the mercury hits the levels we’ve seen in recent days it’s inevitable — someone will post a photo of their car thermometer on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. But how accurate are they?
“They’re parked on hot blacktop; there’s going to be residual heat from just the engine itself, the car may not be moving,” said Bill Linsenmayer with AAA Ohio.
He estimates they’re about 5-10 degrees off from the official temperature measured by the National Weather Service.
Which is specious, unless you happen to be driving past the official National Weather Service weather station. In Oklahoma City, you’re not; it’s tucked away into a corner of Will Rogers World Airport. Out where I live, just off the heat island that is Penn Square Mall, being five to ten degrees off is routine.
Besides, Nissan thought of these objections years ago, and set a delay circuit into the HVAC system I have. This time of year, it’s typically in the middle 80s in my garage at sunrise, and the car’s thermometer will so indicate; if it’s, say, 75 outside, the reading will slowly drop, a degree at a time, until it’s reached 75, somewhere near the mall. (At which time, it’s probably 70 at the airport.) In general, the little display is more accurate than the few remaining time/temperature signs around town: it was 96 degrees yesterday when I passed by a local church that claimed it was 105. (Hellfire and damnation, indeed.) And the only time I’ve ever seen it have problems was when the temperature was about -5, and it kept bouncing between -3 and -4.
Now how Nissan can get climate-control gizmos to do this and yet can’t build an accurate gas gauge to save its Qashqai is beyond me.
Let the record show that (1) I have carried a tire gauge — in fact, the same tire gauge — for about thirty years, and on occasion I bring it to the local tire shop, which will happily verify its accuracy. My car is not quite that old, but it dates to well before the widespread adoption of tire-pressure monitoring systems, which are now mandatory on passenger cars sold in the States. And up to now, I’ve never regretted not having one, but that was before I saw TPMS v2.0:
This neatly solves the one annoying aspect of old-style pencil gauges: you have to stop filling, apply the gauge, start filling again if you’re not up to where you’re supposed to be, lather, rinse, repeat.
Of course, by the time I’m ready for this, I hope I can also get my own in-house nitrogen supply.
The conventional wisdom about Nissan’s VQ engine is that the greater the displacement, the less appealing the sound of it: a Car and Driver scribe once asserted that the 3.7-liter version buzzes “like a blender set to ‘frappé’.” (The 3.0 version bolted into my car doesn’t sound bad at all.) Still, even if they stroked and bored it into the 4-plus range, it’s hard to imagine it making noises like this:
And then there’s the latest Merc’ Hammer. Yes it now has enough torque to strangle a humpback-whale, but at what cost? Even at idle, the old 6.2L engine burbles like the borborygmi of Cthulhu, and when prodded with a violent downshift barks like a stabbed Allosaur.
Try that with your fart-canned Civic.
Datsun is back! Well, sort of:
Nissan Motor Co’s revived Datsun brand will target increasing sales in Indonesia, India and Russia, the firm’s chief executive told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s a green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content,” [Carlos] Ghosn said of the Datsun. “It’s going to be a generous car.”
What it’s not going to be is an American car; there are apparently no plans to offer anything branded Datsun in the states.
Still, it gives me an opportunity to step up the Mr Humble game. In the past, people who seemed impressed for some reason that I drive an Infiniti would be told that “Oh, it’s just a Nissan.” Now I can give them “Oh, it’s just a Datsun.”
Contemporary cars have a panoply of warning lights, some pretty standard, some model-specific. My first Mazda 626, for instance, had a warning light to tell you if one of the exterior lights was burned out; this was apparently decontented away in the next generation. One I’ve never seen, though, was Nissan’s FLOOR TEMP warning, which is explained thusly:
The thing that really put the malaise into the Malaise Era was the inability of the automotive industry to meet US federal and (in the case of cars sold in California) state exhaust-emission regulations without crippling the vehicles (whether this inability was due to Naderite anti-progress bomb-throwers infesting the government or corporate mismanagement and the over-reliance on lobbying to fend off emissions regulations is your subject to debate). While Honda’s CVCC engines managed to beat the tailpipe test without the use of the early, incredibly inefficient catalytic converters, just about everybody else had to bolt a super-restrictive and surface-of-sun-temperature cat onto the exhaust. On low, sporty vehicles that didn’t have a good location for the catalytic converter, an overheating cat could set the car’s interior on fire. Nissan’s solution to this was the FLOOR TEMP indicator light, which used a temperature sensor near the catalytic converter to warn the driver to slow the hell down.
My primary Malaise Era ride was a ’75 Toyota Celica, which, in 49-state mode, lacked a cat altogether. (Despite the absence of the oft-derided device, minor tweaking of the rudimentary engine controls enabled this car to pass — barely — California emissions in 1988.) There was a lamp on the dash labeled EXH. TEMP, which I assume would have served the same purpose; I never saw it glowing.
The Italians, apparently, took a more direct approach:
Fiats, Ferraris, and (I’m pretty sure) Alfa Romeos of the late 1970s got this lovely and equally confusing “SLOW DOWN” idiot light to warn drivers of overheating catalytic converters; at least this light gave the driver some idea of the remedy for the problem. Some Fiats and British Leyland cars got a similarly cryptic (yet technically more accurate) “CATALYST” idiot light. Perhaps a really big idiot light reading “CATALYTIC CONVERTER OVERHEATING — SLOW YOUR ASS DOWN OR PERISH IN FLAMES!” would have been best.
They couldn’t do something like that today; why, that message is just as long as one of those wicked text messages and would thereby almost certainly constitute Deadly Distraction.
While we’re all cursing the ever-increasing price of gasoline, Bertel Schmitt has snagged a picture of what he describes as “Leaf’s Grandfather”: tucked away in a corner of Nissan’s Tech Center is a pure-electric vehicle, circa 1950.
It is not technically a Nissan; the Tama Electric Car Company, which built this nifty, if slow, box, was formed from the remains of the Tachikawa Aircraft Company, which (surprise!) got out of the aircraft business after 1945. Tama eventually became Prince Motor Company; Nissan bought it in 1966. (Nissan fanboys will perhaps be shocked to hear that the fabled Skyline was originally a Prince product.) Schmitt quotes the following numbers: cruising range, 96.3 km (almost 60 miles), top speed 35.2 km/hr (22 mph). You could probably get more than 60 miles out of the current Nissan Leaf if you kept the speed down.
Still undetermined, at least by me: if Tama was named for IJN Tama, a Kuma-class light cruiser sunk by the US Navy in 1944.
Sometimes it’s the little throwaway paragraphs that tell you the most. TTAC pounced on this one:
Renault-Nissan announced today in Detroit that its Decherd, Tenn., plant will build Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2014.
I’m not quite sure which is the more startling news: that Daimler is outsourcing engine production to the States — yes, they build Benzes in America, but we’re talking mostly the M-Class, which hardly seems suited to a four-banger — or that Infiniti, which hasn’t had a four in a car since the demise of the G20 a decade ago, has decided that they need one.
Deep speculation: Mercedes, for CAFE reasons, may want to bring the B-Class to the States for the first time. The current B-Class is offered with an optional CVT; your current go-to guys for CVT-related technology are Nissan and Audi, and Daimler would rather suck smart cars through a straw than buy anything from the VW Group. So when this new four comes out of Decherd, the engines bound for Benzland will be fitted with the appropriate hardware for a CVT, which might even be one of Nissan Jatco’s.
As for Infiniti, they presumably don’t need a four in the G: they’ve already conjured up an entry-level G25 with a small V6. The question then becomes “What would BMW do?” The Bavarians have already shown the way: they’ve brought out a 1-series just below the 3, and are reported to be working on a small FWD car. Besides the Mini, I mean. Since the Nissan Bluebird/Sylphy is about due for a rework … but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Nissan sales are booming — in the last decade they’ve boosted their US market share from about four percent to twice that — yet they get no press to speak of, and their product line ranges from ancient (Sentra) to anodyne (Altima) to alarming (Murano CrossCabrio). TTAC’s Edward Niedermeyer brought up the “ancient” issue with a Nissan official, and got this as a response:
Nissan’s VP for Communications David Reuter told us that this fact was what made him so optimistic about Nissan’s future. If sales are doing this well with product this old, he wondered aloud, what might happen if … say, models representing 75% of Nissan’s sales volume were replaced in a two-year span? He admitted that one of the brand’s biggest issues was breaking through the Honda-Toyota monopoly on media perceptions of Japanese automakers, and he suggested that a new product blitz was the only way to really accomplish that. I was reminded of the current darling of the mass-market brands, Hyundai, which grew sales steadily with aging and stolid but value-laden products, before replacing its entire lineup with eye-catching new models. Could a fresh batch of new designs do the same for Nissan?
Hard to say for sure. The funky little Cube isn’t selling all that well, but the far-funkier and no-less-little Juke is making bank. And the new Versa, unapologetically cheap, is scoring well with people who’d otherwise be buying a three-year-old Civic but live in constant fear of timing belts, a market far larger than I’d ever realized.
I think one thing holding the Hamburger back is its obsession with CVTs: even the Maxima, the ostensible “four-door sports car,” is saddled with one of these contraptions, and once you’ve seen the tach sitting at 4800 the entire time you’ve been climbing the onramp, you don’t particularly want to see it again. If they’re going to ask just-under-Infiniti money for this thing, they might as well bolt in Infiniti’s seven-speed auto and be done with it.
And I think the Frontier pickup, like every other pickup in the market, has been bloated beyond recognition. Were it not for that damned chicken tax, they could bring in a nice small truck, the kind that made their name in the States.
Except, of course, that their name at the time was “Datsun.”
You want to complain, complain on Facebook:
“Based on what I’ve seen in 90 days, I can realize that this is something we are going to have to deal with in the future. As opposed to operators or help desks just waiting for a customer to complain, we need to have a Facebook presence to solve issues before they get bigger, and take a more proactive role in identifying consumer issues or question.”
So saith Erich Marx, director of Marketing Communications for Nissan North America, who apparently has a staff of 15 who do nothing but watch social media all day and/or all of the night.
I have my doubts. I do read the Infiniti page on Facebook, and it’s largely filled with concept-car teases and low-level market research; I can’t see bringing them into the picture if I’m stuck by the side of the road. (Then again, I’m not above sending off a tweet if I have a bar’s worth of cell service.)
One of the motivations for scheduling Gwendolyn’s spa day(s) was the seeming inability of the A/C to deal with 100-degree days on anything resembling a consistent basis. As it turned out, the A/C was in decent shape, but one of the engine-cooling fans was hors de combat, which doesn’t make life any easier for the compressor.
I should probably quit whining about it, though, given the plight of this fellow:
I brought a new car — Nissan Sunny — if the outside temperature reaches 45 deg centigrade, A/C not working, compressor trips. How to solve? any technical answer?
Before you ask: 45°C is 113°F. And oh, yes, he lives in Qatar.