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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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Nissan debuts 2018 Leaf

Nissan has debuted the 2018 Nissan LEAF, the next model of its flagship EV.

The specifications for the model closely align with details that leaked early last month.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf.

The new Leaf offers a range of 400 km, a 33 per cent increase on the 2017 model. It will have 110 kW of power output and 320 Nm of torque a large increase in power from the current model Leaf, which has an output of 90 horse power and 254Nm of torque.

The new leaf comes with autonomous drive technology, used during single-lane driving on highways.

The car has an autonomous parking system that takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spot.

The Nissan Leaf was New Zealand’s most popular EV in 2016.

The car will go on sale October 2 in Japan. Though with only imported second hand Leaf EVs available for sale on the New Zealand market, it could be some time before we see the 2018 model on our roads.

The interior of the Leaf.

Despite this, the demand for the Leaf is growing. The car climbed to gain 1 per cent of total used imported cars this August.

The Leaf is also the most popular EV worldwide with 277,000 units sold since it was released seven years ago.

The new Leaf will introduce what Nissan calls e-Pedal technology that will enable the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, bringing the car to a stop.

The new leaf comes with a autonomous parking system.



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370Z NISMO to arrive in NZ October 1

Nissan has announced that the 370Z NISMO will go on sale in Australia today, and have provided a release date for the New Zealand maket as Obtober 1.

The 370Z is the second Nissan nameplate to receive the NISMO treatment following the arrival for the GT-R earlier this year. Nissan says that the 370Z NISMO embodies NISMO’s passion for motorsport, technology and performance – the cornerstones of the brand for over 30 years.

“Most powerful Z ever offered” – Nissan

NISMO (Nissan Motorsport) is Nissan’s in-house tuning, motorsports and performance division.

The 370Z NISMO sports a 3.7 litre V6 engine that is identical to that of the standard 370Z, but adds an extra 8kW of power and 8Nm of torque. Nissan says this is achieved by the H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with ECM (Engine Control Module) calibration, which reduces back pressure by up to 30 per cent.

The 370Z NISMO’s front and rear suspension have been tuned with increased spring, dampening and stabiliser rates for better handling, while its rigid body structure, strut tower bar brace and performance dampers help control body vibration.

NISMO sports brakes with large diameter 14-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium calipers will enhance the motorsport feel.

The NISMO variant also features satellite navigation with 3D mapping, a seven-inch integrated colour touch screen and Bluetooth as standard equipment.

The 370Z NISMO features a fully integrated NISMO body kit that not only adds to its aggressive look but provides more front and rear downforce.

Several safety features are included, with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Anti-lock Braking (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and dual front, side and curtain airbags.

Nissan NZ expects that the 370Z NISMO will be on sale in New Zealand from October 1. The coupe is priced from $71,990 for the manual model to $75,490 for an automatic transmission.

On sale in NZ October 1.


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Renault-Nissan announce Chinese EV joint venture

A little over a week after Ford announced the signing of an agreement with a major Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has signed a new joint venture to co-develop and sell EVs in China.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd. announced the new joint venture yesterday.

Renault, Dongfeng and Nissan (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (Nissan) have signed an agreement to set up the new joint venture. Renault will hold 25 percent of eGT, Nissan will hold 25 percent and Dongfeng the remaining 50 percent.

The new joint venture will be called eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd. (eGT), and will focus on the core competencies of each partner to bring together the competencies of the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the resources of Dongfeng in the new energy industry, says Renault-Nissan. The company says this will help them meet the expectations of the Chinese market.

“The establishment of the new joint venture with Dongfeng confirms our common commitment to develop competitive electric vehicles for the Chinese market,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. “We are confident to meet the expectations of the Chinese customers and to strengthen our global electric vehicle leadership position.”

Dongfeng’s sales and service network throughout China. Source: Dongfeng.

According to the China Association of automobile manufacturers, China is the world’s largest battery EV market.

The association said that in 2016, 256 879 battery EVs were sold in China, up 121 per cent from the previous year. In the first seven months of 2017, production of BEVs reached 223,000 units and sales 204,000 units, representing an increase of 37.8 per cent and 33.6 per cent respectively.

“This project is the result of a joint effort to develop electric vehicles for the Chinese market, by the ‘Golden Triangle’ formed by Dongfeng, Renault and Nissan, with an innovative business model,” said Zhu Yanfeng, Chairman of Dongfeng. “We expect to meet the transformation trend of the market in China; where cars are becoming light, electric, intelligent, interconnected and shared. This is also testimony of a deepened and strengthened strategic cooperation between the three parties.”



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2018 Nissan Leaf to debut September 6

The new Nissan Leaf has an official release date.

Following a number of leaked specs, pictures and other information about the highly anticipated model, Nissan has announced that the new Leaf will debut officially on September 6 in Japan.

The Leaf is the world’s highest selling EV, with more than 280,000 units sold between December 2010 and July 2017.

Teaser image of the new Leaf released by Nissan.

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2018 Nissan Leaf specs leaked

Following last week’s leaked pictures of the unreleased 2018 Nissan Leaf, a US marketing company appears to have accidentally released technical specifications of the Japanese manufacturer’s flagship EV.

Teaser image of the 2018 Leaf, released by Nissan.

The further leaks came courtesy of the Autobytel website, who apparently uploaded information on the Leaf too early. The specs have since been taken down, but according to website Inside EVs, we now have a reasonable idea of what to expect from the new model.

Some of the leaked specs included an electric motor with an output of 110kW and 320Nm of torque – a large increase in power from the current model Leaf, which has an output of 90 horse power and 254Nm of torque.

Its new battery will reportedly see a 33 per cent capacity increase over the current model, climbing from 30 to 40-kWh.

The Nissan Leaf was New Zealand’s most popular EV in 2016. Though with only imported second hand Leaf EVs available for sale on the New Zealand market, it could be some time before we see the 2018 model on our roads. 

The Leaf is also the most popular EV worldwide with 277,000 units sold since it was released seven years ago.

Nissan has declined to confirm or deny any of the leaked figures, so at present the above information is speculative.

The 2018 Nissan Leaf will officially debut in Tokyo on September 6.

Screencap of the leaked specifications posted on the Autobytel website, published by Inside EVs.

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Nissan workers vote against unionisation

Workers at Nissan Motor Company in Canton, Mississippi have voted against union representation.

The vote took place nearing the end of a campaign to organise an automaker’s plant in the south of the United States.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is about to approach contract negotiations with Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz and BMW (the Detroit Three) which could be weakened thanks to the recent vote. 

The votes totalled at 2,244 against unionisation to 1,307 in favour.

“They have rejected the UAW and chosen to self-represent, continuing the direct relationship they enjoy with the company,” a Nissan representative said in a statement.

The National Labor Review Board (NLRB) has charged Nissan with threatening workers to vote against the union. If it is concluded that this has happened, and Nissan has broken the law, another election could take place within six months

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