Nissan’s Two-Pronged Attack On Obsolete Diesel

More than 20 years in development, Infiniti’s new four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine represents a major breakthrough in internal-combustion powertrain technology. VC-T technology signifies a new chapter in the story of the internal combustion engine – engines are no longer limited by a fixed compression ratio. The ingenuity of VC-T engine technology lies in its ability to transform itself and seamlessly raise or lower the height the pistons reach. As a consequence, the displacement of the engine changes and the compression ratio can vary anywhere between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency). The sophisticated engine control logic automatically applies the optimum ratio, depending on what the driving situation demands.

EU carmakers race to replace discredited diesel engines with something more palatable, and today’s flurry of electric car announcements at the Paris auto show are testament. Japan’s Nissan embarks on a pincer attack against diesel. Nissan leads world markets with its all-electric LEAF. Today however, the company showed something more conventional, and yet revolutionary, that might hasten diesel’s demise: An engine with all the power, but none of the NOx.

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The Cheap Yen Party Is Over: Nissan’s Lackluster Earnings Promise Gloom For Japanese Automakers

Nissan earnings - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

For more than two years, the Japanese auto industry profited from a cheap domestic currency, which translated foreign sales in to fat earnings at home. The party is over. This became clear today at 16:30 local, when Nissan put the last quarter earnings on the desks of reporters assembled at the company’s 8th floor meeting room of its Yokohama, Japan, headquarters. The company’s first-quarter net profit fell 10.7% year-on-year, operating profits in the same period were down 9.2%.

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Nissan Joins 10 Million Club, Gets The Entry Fee At Deep Discount


Today, journalists assembled in Yokohama, ready to be treated to spreadsheets, and Nissan’s annual financial report. At short notice, they were rerouted to a cramped meeting room two blocks down the road. They knew what was coming. Last night, Japan’s NHK TV station and the Nikkei financial wire reported rumors of a tie-up between Nissan and embattled Mitsubishi Motors. Today, that tie-up was formally announced.

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Carlos Ghosn’s Reluctant Global Giant

Carlos Ghosn Japan Chamber of Commerce -25- Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Who is the world’s 4th-largest automaker after Toyota, Volkswagen, and GM? The stats say it’s Hyundai, but it is not true. For the past several years, the 4th-largest automaker has been the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and this year is no different.

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World’s Largest Automakers
12 Month 2015
Jan-Dec 2015 Jan-Dec 2014 YoY
Toyota 10,083,783 10,285,546 -2.0%
Volkswagen 9,930,600 10,137,400 -2.0%
GM 9,800,000 9,924,880 -1.3%
Renault-Nissan 8,528,887 8,470,610 0.7%
Hyundai Group 7,880,955 7,861,292 0.3%
Ford 6,635,000 6,323,000 4.9%
Source: Company data.

Want a career in luxury cars? Work at Nissan

Start here: Vincent Cobee, head of Datsun

Start here: Vincent Cobee, head of Datsun

Yesterday, I sat down with Vincent Cobee, head of Datsun, to discuss his plans for Nissan’s decidedly non-upscale brand. In the middle of the discussion, Cobee mused that “Nissan has become the breeding ground for top management of luxury car makers.” And right he was. [Continue Reading]

2nd gen Leaf expected 2018: 60kWh NMC battery, 300 mile range, autonomous, CFRP

2ndgen LEAF - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

2nd gen Leaf will look something like this

Last Friday, a small, hand-picked group of journalists was allowed into Nissan’s holy technology grail, the Advanced Technology Center in Atsugi, a town in the mountains southwest of Tokyo. It was the first time that the secretive center opened its doors to nosy outside observers. Ostensibly, the occasion was the Nissan IDS Concept vehicle that goes on display today at the Tokyo Motor Show. Of course, nobody in his right mind allows journalists into a high-security tech center for a day, just to show off a silly concept car, and it quickly became clear that what we saw was the future Nissan LEAF in drag. It is a fair guess that large parts of the IDS Concept will be seen again when the 2nd generation Leaf arrives. Based on what we saw last Friday, here are a few educated predictions of what that new Leaf will look like. [Continue Reading]

Ramen for reporters: Volkswagen cancels Media Night, tonight, and for the future

Where's the party? Stood up by VW at the Meiji Kinenkan

Where’s the party? Stood up by VW at the Meiji Kinenkan

It is Tuesday morning in Tokyo. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the Tokyo Motor Show will open its doors at the Big Sight in Odaiba to the media. Tonight, the always hungry and thirsty members of the Fifth Estate will be sedated with heavy doses of sake and tempura, administered all over town at dinner parties by the world’s (and especially Japan’s) big automakers. Those who are on the guest list of Volkswagen will suffer dry mouth and empty stomach. VW canceled its traditional auto show pre-party, a harbinger of lean times to come. [Continue Reading]

Nissan plans for breakthrough battery, 10% of its cars EVs before the end of the decade

"No more concerns about range" Hoshino and Saikawa

“No more concerns about range” Hoshino and Saikawa

Nissan, first mover in the electric vehicle space, plans for a major EV inflection point in the 2019/2020 time-frame. By that date, two factors will cause EVs go mainstream, the company said today. [Continue Reading]