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Efforts to remove federal tax credits

Nissan Motors remains undaunted by congressional efforts in the United States to remove federal tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles said head of Nissan’s operations in North America on Monday.

Nissan’s 2018 Leaf boasts a 40 per cent increase in battery range to around 240 km. The 2018 Leaf will start to hit dealerships around the world early in the new year with an asking price of around NZ$43,000.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

But that’s before a $7,500 federal tax credit that has been a major selling point for buyers of the previous version of the Leaf or other electric vehicles from companies like Tesla or General Motors.

The tax credit could disappear if the House version of a federal tax overhaul bill prevails in negotiations with the Senate.

Jose Munoz, the chairman of Nissan North America, said that there is a “very clear, strong natural demand” for electric vehicles even without the incentives.

“Obviously we welcome support to the EV business,” Munoz said. “At the same time, we’ve built a very strong foundation because we are global leaders on electric vehicles.”

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance announced in September that it plans to produce 12 new electric models by 2022 and that electric cars will make up 30 percent of its overall output.

“We’re going to continue betting on this,” Munoz said.


Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said he expects sales of electric vehicles to continue to grow in the long term, though that pace could be slowed if the federal tax credit ends.

“It’s just a matter of how long it takes us to get to where the electric vehicle is the dominant method of propelling vehicles,” he said.

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Nissan sales show no improvement

The latest figures show that Nissan’s passenger car sales have nearly halved in Japan for the second month in a row as the car maker still struggles with a damaging inspection scandal. (more…)

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Nissan resumes production in Japan

Nissan plans to continue production of vehicles for its home market at five of its domestic factories after Japan’s transport ministry approved changes to the inadequate final-inspection procedures that prompted a major vehicle recall.

The company had suspended domestic production of all passenger cars earlier in October after noticing that uncertified technicians had been signing off on final inspections for decades.

This initiated a recall of around 1 million vehicles for investigation, including all light vehicles it produced for sale in Japan over the past three years.

Nissan said on Monday that its plants in Fukuoka, Kanagawa and Tochigi would resume production for the domestic market, along with plants operated by affiliate Nissan Shatai in Fukuoka and Kanagawa.

Nissan said it had corrected inconsistencies and that it was taking measures to improve training and testing processes for inspectors.

Japan’s transport ministry now requires certified inspectors to sign off on vehicle checks for cars sold in Japan. This is however not a step that is required for vehicles exported overseas.

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Nissan’s sales plummet amid scandal

Nissan Motor Co announced earlier this week that Japanese sales of new vehicles has dropped by approximately 50% in October compared to last years figures. 

Last month the discovery of improper final inspection procedures at Nissan Motor Co.’s domestic plants caused it to partly suspend production. 

Nissan didn’t provide exact figures for this month’s sales, but the car company sold 38,708 vehicles in Japan in October 2016.

The plants will resume production once the final inspection procedures have been brought in line with transport ministry requirements, a spokesman for the automaker said.

Nissan has completed those measures at one assembly plant and expects to have made similar changes at five other plants by the end of the week, he said.

This month was supposed to mark the unveiling of an electric-vehicle offensive for Nissan, who is eager to establish itself as the leader in the race to electrify its vehicle line-up.

Nissan is anticipated to outline a global EV sales push when it reports its earnings next week.

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The Nissan IMx unveiled

One of the major unveilings at the 45th Tokyo Motor show was the Nissan IMx. An all-electric concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometres. 


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Nissan X-TRAIL diesel not in NZ

Nissan’s X-TRAIL TL diesel variant is on sale in Australia, however it will not be available in New Zealand.

The new X-TRAIL variant is available in two grades, including the entry TS and high-spec TL.

“There is still an appetite for diesel, and offering a diesel engine in not only important for us but for Nissan X-TRAIL buyers,” said Nissan Australia Managing Director Stephen Lester.

With 130kW of power at 3,750rpm and a maximum torque of 380Nm at a low 2,000rpm, the vehicle includes strong acceleration early when you need it most. The new 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine has 35 per cent more power and almost 20 per cent more torque than its 1.6 litre diesel predecessor.

“The X-TRAIL range has sold well since the May update, and with the base model TS diesel available since June, we are excited to have the full diesel range now on sale.

“With a strong grade walk, whether it be petrol or diesel, the X-TRAIL range offers something for everyone,” says Lester.

Now with three engine choices, the diesel engine sits alongside 2.0 litre and 2.5 litre petrol alternatives.

Nissan’s X-TRAIL range starts with a 2.0 litre petrol two-wheel drive 2.0 litre petrol engine with 6-speed manual transmission#. It has outputs of 106kW at 6,000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

The larger, and more popular, 2.5 litre engine has a higher 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque, and is fitted exclusively with the same CVT transmission as its diesel sibling.

Standard across the range, the X-TRAIL is fitted with Intelligent Emergency Braking, with the range topping Ti petrol and TL diesel also having pedestrian detection.

The TS features front, front-side and side curtain SRS airbags, and also comes with Vehicle Dynamic Control with Traction Control, Forward Collision Warning and two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row. The TL also includes Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

Inside, the Nissan X-TRAIL comes with an impressive list of comfort and safety features, with the TL including a rearview camera with predictive path technology, an Intelligent Around-View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Sat Nav and Cruise Control – as well as black or tan leather-accented trim.

Available in seven contemporary exterior colours and three interior seat trims, Nissan X-TRAIL starts from $28,490 for the 2.0 litre petrol with 6-speed manual, while the diesel range begins at $35,990.

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Mazda at Motor Show

Mazda has teased two concepts they will debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show at the end of this month.

Mazda will also display the SKYACTIV-X next-generation gasoline engine as a technology exhibit at the show, which runs from October 28 through November 5.

Mazda’s theme for this year’s show – “Celebrate Driving.” – hints at concepts that focus on the driving experience, on road and in the vehicle.

The concept, a compact hatchback that fuses next-generation technology and design, will make its world premiere at the show. It adopts Nissan’s SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture. The concept, powered by the SKYACTIV-X engine, is set to become the world’s first commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition. Dynamic performance has been dramatically refined and next-generation design condensed to create Mazda’s ideal compact hatchback.

The design vision model embodies the concepts that will define the next generation of Mazda design, resulting in a more profound expression of the globally-acclaimed KODO design language Mazda debuted on the Mazda CX-5 in 2012.

The Mazda CX-8, a new three-row crossover SUV that goes on sale in Japan in December, will also be on display at the show. The company’s flagship SUV in Japan, it features sophisticated styling and comfortable seating in all three rows. Major upgrades to the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel engine increase torque and power for composed performance.

A special edition Mazda Roadster (MX-5) Red Top featuring a dark cherry red canopy and auburn Nappa leather upholstery will be exhibited.

“In August, we announced our Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term vision for technology development, setting out how Mazda hopes to use driving pleasure, the fundamental appeal of the automobile, to help solve issues facing people, the earth and society,” said Masamichi Kogai Mazda’s representative director, president and CEO.

“Our stand this year marks the beginning of a new era for Mazda. We will showcase a concept model with the design and technologies that will define a whole new generation of Mazda cars. Among them is SKYACTIV-X, a gasoline engine that realizes a long-held dream of the global automotive industry.”

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Over 1 million Nissans could be recalled

Nissan Motor Co announced on Friday a potentially highly damaging call to temporarily suspend registrations of thousands of new vehicles, following Japanese government checks found that unqualified personnel had carried out final safety checks at six domestic factories.

Nearly 60,000 new cars are stockpiled at its plants awaiting reinspection, and Japanese officials have suggested over 1 million vehicles may have to be recalled.

Japan today reports that 21 models including the Note, Skyline, and Leaf are affected.

However, Nissan said on Friday that it does not know when the unqualified checks were carried out, or how many vehicles were affected.

The issue was brought to Nissan’s attention after an on-site probe by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism earlier this month.

The Japanese car maker will re-inspect affected vehicles, with a third party taking part in an internal investigation to figure out how the failures occurred.

The Japanese government has asked Nissan to produce a report detailing how it intends to prevent a recurrence of this event by the end of this month.

Nissan’s shares fell as much as 5.3 per cent today, their lowest since April.

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Buyers cautious over paint choices

The vast majority of drivers are in the wrong coloured car for their personality. That’s the surprise finding of a pan-European study by Nissan, which reveals 86 per cent of those polled made an incorrect choice in the showroom.

The research found that even though there are now more vibrant exterior colours and personalisation options than ever before, car buyers are still too conservative when it comes to picking paint.

The study was carried out by Nissan to celebrate the personalisation options on its new Micra hatchback. It found about a third of those surveyed should have opted for more striking shades like orange instead of traditional grey and black, based on their personality type.

To help consumers, Nissan has turned to technology and developed an innovative Chatbot in conjunction with colour psychologist Karen Haller. Delivered via Facebook, it determines the user’s personality and presents the perfect Micra colour match for them.

The findings include:

  • About two-thirds of drivers went for more traditional or conservative colours
  • 38 per cent are driving a grey or black vehicle
  • 53 per cent claim colour has impacted their vehicle choice
  • Of those, more than half claim to have selected their favourite colour

Based on the 5,000 responses throughout Europe, high-energy colours such as orange should top the table. These signify energetic, fun and optimistic traits within someone’s personality.

Karen says “Often colour choices are based around aspirations and black is often seen as an aspirational colour, associated with high-end technologies and innovative brands. It may be that far from playing it safe, they are choosing what they perceive as the finer things in life.”


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150 million Nissans to date

The Nissan Motor Company has produced its 150 millionth vehicle.

Established in 1933, Nissan is based in Yokohama Japan and sells vehicles world-wide. The US, China, Mexico and the UK lead Nissan’s sales, and Australia has contributed to producing over 1.6 million of these vehicles, including 806,432 of the 50 million cars sold since the start of 2005.

Nissan held about 6 per cent market share of passenger and commercial new vehicle sales in New Zealand in 2016, selling 11,219 that year.

The Nissan Motor Company has its origins in the pre-war Japanese Empire, being one of the members of the “zaubatsu”, a group of business that dominated the Japanese economy from the late 1800s to the end of World War Two.

In 1914, the company produced its first car. Named DAT, the car’s name was an an acronym of the first letter of each of its investor’s surnames. The DAT was followed by the smaller DATSON (son of DAT) Type 11.

The 1933 Datsun 12 Phaeton.

Nissan were the first manufacturer to produce cars in New Zealand, when they sold under the Datsun brand.

They built cars in Mount Wellington from March 1963, and until the company built its own permanent plant in South Auckland in the late 1970s, Nissans were assembled all over New Zealand.

Nissans were manufactured by NZ Motor Bodies in Mt Wellington, Campbell Industries in Thames, Motor Holdings, Waitara and Todd Motors Porirua. Nissan also owned a plant in Mt Roskill, Auckland and commercial vehicle plants in Glen Innes and Mangere.

Nissan closed its last plant in New Zealand in 1998, but retains plants in North America and Mexico, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Latin America & Caribbean, the Middle East and Gulf States, and Africa.

Today, Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands.

Nissan produces the all electric Leaf, which has become a best-selling electric vehicle both globally and in New Zealand. The Leaf’s ancestry can be traced all the way back to 1947, when the Japanese government encouraged auto makers to produce electric powered cars, due to oil shortages caused by World War Two.

The 1947 Tama Electric Car and the 2017 Nissan Leaf.

This resulted in the Tama Electric Car, which went on to succeeded in bettering its catalog specifications in government performance tests, with a cruising range of 96.3km, and a top speed of 35.2kmh. It was widely used as a taxi and a cargo vehicle.

Nissan is currently operating in six regions: ASEAN & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America and North America, and has a global workforce of 247,500.

In fiscal year 2015, the company sold more than 5.4 million vehicles globally, and generated revenue of ¥12.19 trillion, about $160 million NZD.

The company has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since March 1999.

The 1980 Nissan Violet, four time winner of the infamous Safari Rally.





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EV completes 12,000k trip across Europe

A Scottish husband and wife team have become the first entrants to complete the Mongol Rally in an electric vehicle, after travelling over 12,800 kms through 13 countries in a Nissan Leaf.

Chris and Julie Ramsey, dubbed Plug In Adventures, crossed the Mongol Rally finish line in Ulan-Ude on Saturday, after charging the Leaf 111 times and claiming to have spent about $182 in electricity costs.

Team Plug In Adventures at the finish line.

 The modified 2016 Nissan LEAF, labelled the AT-EV (All-Terrain Electric Vehicle), faced its critics, Chris said.

“There were a number of detractors who told me an electric car isn’t capable of long distance journeys,” he said.

“After thousands of miles and almost zero problems, I can tell you that is not the case.”

Throughout Europe, Chris and Julie had the use of an extensive rapid charger network that can provide an 80 per cent battery charge in just 30 minutes.

However, once they got into Bulgaria and beyond, they faced far less rapid charge options. They charged the EV at bars, cafes, hotels, hostels, a barbershop, a post office, garages, car dealerships, a tractor showroom, a police station, and three fire stations in Russia.

They even had their LEAF plugged directly into an electricity pylon in the middle of the woods in Siberia, by a local who (Nissan is keen to stress) was a trained electrician.

“In terms of vehicle reliability, the car’s been brilliant. We’ve had one puncture, one damaged alloy wheel, a mud flap came off and someone stole one of our stickers,”Chris said.

The longest stretch the couple did on a single charge with their fully loaded vehicle was 115 miles, pulling in to charge with 6 per cent capacity left.

The Plug In Adventures’ car was a standard 2016 30kWh Nissan LEAF Acenta, which offers a range of up to 250 km on a single charge, though with a number of modifications for better off-road performance.

Nissan has announced the 2018 Leaf will go on sale in Japan October 2.

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