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    Drew Dowdell

    Munoz is considered loyal to Ghosn.

    Another Nissan exec who is in hot water resigned suddenly today.  Jose Munoz is Nissan's Cheif Performance officer.  He and Arun Bajaj, Nissan's Senior Vice President for Human Resources took leaves of absence one week ago.  Both men are considered loyal to Carlos Ghosn, leader of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, who is currently jailed in Japan on multiple corruption charges. 
    Nissan has moved to oust Ghosn after his arrest. 
    We will update this story as more details emerge.

    William Maley

    His first appearance since being arrested back in November

    Today in a Tokyo courtroom, former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn arrived for a hearing to have an explanation of why he is being detained. The hearing also allowed Ghosn and his team of lawyers to make their case against the various charges brought against him.
    Since November 19th, Ghosn has been in detention on violating various financial rules including failing to report 5 billion yen (about $44 million) from the 2010-2014 fiscal years.
    Ghosn's lawyers got their day in court via a "rarely used Japanese legal maneuver in which suspects are allowed to petition the court to hear a justification of their detention." According to Automotive News, Ghosn entered the courtroom "in handcuffs, wearing a dark suit with no tie and green plastic slippers. The usually immaculately coiffed businessman looked thinner than usual, courtesy of his rice-heavy diet in detention. The gray roots of his trademark raven black hair were beginning to show." Presiding judge Yuichi Tada read out the charges and explained to Ghosn that he is being detained due to being "a flight risk and might tamper with evidence."
    After this, Ghosn and his lawyers made their defense against the charges brought by Japanese prosecutors. 
    “Contrary to the accusations made by the prosecutors, I never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed. The test is the ‘death test’: If I died today, could my heirs require Nissan to pay anything other than my retirement allowance?  The answer is an unequivocal ‘No,'” Ghosn said at the hearing on the first indictment on not reporting compensation.
    Ghosn also addressed his most recent arrest on "allegedly transferring personal losses" to Nissan. He admitted in court "to leveraging Nissan as collateral against his swap losses but said that the loss-making swap contracts were transferred back to him at no cost to Nissan."
    “I have a genuine love and appreciation for Nissan. I have acted honorably, legally, and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company -- with the sole purpose of supporting and strengthening Nissan, and helping to restore its place as one of Japan’s finest and most respected companies,” Ghosn said towards the end of the hearing.
    Whether this helps remains to be seen. Ghosn's lawyers are planning to petition the court to immediately end his detention later this week, but they are doubtful. At a press conference, lead defense attorney Motonari Otsuru said his cilent "would likely be indicted for a second time on Friday and be denied bail, keeping him locked up." Otsuru also predicted that Ghosn's case may not be brought to trial for another six months, allowing prosecutors to gather more evidence.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg

    William Maley

    The dream of leaving jail has been dashed

    The dream of Carlos Ghosn spending the holidays outside of jail has been dashed. Early this morning in Tokyo, prosecutors re-arrested Ghosn on new charges that allege he shifted personal trades to Nissan to "make it responsible for 1.85 billion yen ($16.6 million) in appraisal losses," around October 2008. Prosecutors also allege that Ghosn had Nissan " deposit a total of $14.7 million on four occasions between June 2009 and March 2012 into a related bank account."
    This re-arrest allows prosecutors to detain Ghosn for another 10 days to allow them to continue building their case against him. It may also hurt his chances of getting bail down the road. Lawyers for Ghosn declined to comment.
    The new allegations would be in violation of Japan’s Companies Act and is seen as a more serious charge than under-reporting income. According to Bloomberg, Ghosn could be facing a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a 10 million yen fine (about $89,980).
    “It’s a very serious charge. If there was a conviction, I think it would mean that there’s been a judgment that it’s more than just typical self-dealing corporate malfeasance but something that really harmed the company and was particularly malevolent in terms of the amount of planning that went into it,” said Colin Jones, a professor of law at Doshisha University in Kyoto.
    Source: Bloomberg (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Some possible good news for Carlos Ghosn

    It hasn't been easy for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and aide Greg Kelly since being arrested last month. In that time, the two have been brought up on various charges alleging financial misconduct and having their stay of detention being extended. But there appears to be some good news over the horizon.
    Today in a Tokyo courtroom, a judge rejected the request of prosecutors to extend Ghosn's and Kelly's detention by an additional 10 days. The Japan Times reports that prosecutors were seeking an additional 10-day extension related to a "separate warrant served to Ghosn" under the allegation that he understated "his remuneration by ¥4.2 billion in the automaker’s securities reports for the three business years through March this year."
    Lawyers for Ghosn said they are planning to apply for bail, which could mean Ghosn could be out of jail by Friday. But Japanese prosecutors have appealed the decision. According to Automotive News, there is no set date for a possible decision. As for Kelly, lawyers are planning to file for bail either today or tomorrow. 
    “The chances of bail are very high. To begin with, this isn’t a case that should need such a lengthy detention,” said Nobuo Gohara, a lawyer and former prosecutor.
    Tsutomu Nakamura, a former public prosecutor doesn't share the same view. He tells Bloomberg that the decision made by the court doesn't mean Ghosn will walk out immediately.
    “The prosecutors will file the complaint against this judge’s decision immediately. I think that the prosecutors failed to prove the seriousness of the case,” he said.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg (Subscription Required), Japan Times

    William Maley

    The mad drive by Carlos Ghosn for the U.S. caused a fair number of problems

    Since the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, a fair amount of dirty laundry has come to light showing the turmoil and tension between various executives and the relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault.  The arrest has also brought questions as to whether Ghosn 'jumped' or 'was pushed'. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to the latter.
    The paper obtained a transcript from a town hall meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan - days after Ghosn's arrest. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that he disagreed with Ghosn's move to increase market share in the U.S., at the cost of investments for the Japanese market.
    “The investment in the Japanese market was very weak because there was too much power concentrated in one individual who decided that the Japanese market was less important, and we spent too much money on the U.S.,” said Saikawa.
    “He felt that there was no point investing in Japan where the population was stagnating.”
    Ghosn set a goal of achieving a 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2017. Nissan came very close to hitting goal, reaching 9.2 percent last year. For Nissan to reach this goal, they piled on the incentives and made a push with sales to rental car companies - the latter according to industry analysts isn't as profitable, despite the higher volume. Nissan also put a lot of pressure on its dealers to move products. José Muñoz, who was Nissan's chairman in the U.S. from 2014 to this past January introduced a campaign under the slogan “Grow or Go.” Basically, if a dealer wasn't prepared to grow fast to meet the targets, Muñoz urged dealers to sell their franchise. 
    “If a dealer didn’t perform they’d threaten a dealer with termination notice,” said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a brokerage firm that deals with the sales of car dealers.
    The report doesn't say how much investment was moved from Japan to the U.S. But reading between the lines and noting the relationship between the two became quite tense, we're assuming it was a large amount.
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Primarily focusing on those in Europe. Plus, the relationship between Nissan and Renault becomes further strained.

    Nissan has expanded its probe into former chairman Carlos Ghosn with the investigation into various European subsidiaries that may bring more criminal charges.
    Automotive News has learned from sources that the focus of the investigation will be around the Renault-Nissan BV based in the Netherlands. This was set up by the two automakers back in 2002 to be a strategic management company that oversees the alliance. But one source says that Nissan is planning to look into "as many as a dozen other Nissan-affiliated subsidiaries set up in the Netherlands," for possible financial misconduct. Japanese prosecutors are looking into some of the companies with the help of Nissan.
    (Emphasis mine.)
    This move may signal that the scandal may have reached outward of Japan and bring investigations right to Renault's doorstep. Automotive News also notes this could "further complicate" the delicate relations between the two.
    That neatly transitions us to a report from Reuters where a source reveals that Renault has told Nissan not to contact its directors ahead of a December 13th meeting of their board. The source says "such contact was outside the agreed channels for communication of the sensitive findings."
    As we reported back on Friday, Nissan offered Renault "a presentation that summarized the evidence" to help assuage some suspicious held by the French automaker. Renault declined, asking Nissan for the "presence of lawyers and the full report on the allegations." This reportedly came earlier this week as officials from Nissan met with Renault's legal team in France.
    The meeting tomorrow will see the members of the board discuss the findings of Nissan's investigation and debate the future of Carlos Ghosn.
    Spokespeople for Nissan and Renault declined to comment.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters

    William Maley

    Nissan also gets indicted and a new twist in the investigation

    This morning, Tokyo prosecutors have indicted former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, and former representative director Greg Kelly for violating Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. According to Japanese media, Ghosn allegedly failed to report 5 billion yen (about $44 million) from the 2010-2014 fiscal years. Prosecutors also rearrested both men on new allegations for under-reporting compensation totaling 4 billion yen (about $35.5 billion) from the 2015-2017 fiscal year.
    Prosecutors had until today to either indict or re-arrest Ghosn and Kelly. Under Japanese law, prosecutors can hold someone in custody for 20 days. After that, they need to either indict, set them free, or re-arrest the person with new charges. The last option resets the clock and allows prosecutors to continue their investigation.
    Both Ghosn and Kelly have denied any wrongdoing according to Japanese media.
    Nissan was also indicted today on charges of filing falsified securities reports. As we reported on Friday, a company can be held accountable if employees make false statements in company reports under Japanese law.
    “Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret. Nissan will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information,” said Nissan in a statement.
    There's also a new twist in the case. Reuters reports that Ghosn and Nissan are currently fighting over access to an apartment Rio de Janiero. In a filing to a Brazilian court last week, Nissan (who owns the apartment) is trying to block Ghosn from getting access into the apartment as it would “represent an incalculable risk of destruction of potential evidence of crimes allegedly committed.” The company says there are three safes that were found in an audit and are waiting to be opened.
    Ghosn has been trying to get into the apartment since late November when a lawyer representing Ghosn asked for permission to enter the apartment. It currently houses “personal belongings, documents, cash, objects and art pieces” that Ghosn wants to retrieve. 
    “Nissan has been cooperating with authorities to investigate misconduct on the part of its former chairman, and is working to prevent the destruction of any potential evidence that could occur by allowing access to residences in question,” a Nissan spokesman told Reuters.
    The apartment was purchased in 2011 by a Nissan subsidiary after the company opened a plant in the nearby city of Resende. In a filing, Nissan said it had bought the apartment expecting that Ghosn’s trips to Brazil would “become more constant” after the factory opened. It should be noted that Ghosn was born and maintains Brazilian citizenship.
    Jose Roberto de Castro Neves, a lawyer representing Ghosn told Reuters he didn't know about the existence of three different safes and that it was “absurd speculation” that they may contain evidence of wrongdoing.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters, 2

    William Maley

    But that would not happen

    "Since the arrest former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, various reports have come out revealing the strained relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault. It has also brought up questions as to whether or not Nissan decided to 'push' Ghosn out by using the misuse of corporate assets as the reason. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is only stoking those fires.
    Sources tell the paper that Ghosn was planning to "shake up the senior management ranks at Nissan" and told some executives that he was planning on replacing current Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa - his hand-picked successor. While Ghosn supported Saikawa in public, the two would clash over various problems the company was facing. This included,
    Problems with inspections done on JDM vehicles, prompting recalls of more than a million vehicles Declining sales in the U.S. According to one source, Ghosn wanted to oust Saikawa and planned to put it to a vote at a board meeting in November. But that would not happen as Ghosn would be arrested in early on in the month. The board would oust Ghosn at a meeting later on in the month.
    Some believed that Saikawa wasn't in danger. A source familiar with the relationship between the two said "their differences hadn’t reached a point where Mr. Ghosn would have contemplated removing Mr. Saikawa."
    Still, Saikawa's reputation is taking quite the hit. The Nikkei has learned that Saikawa had signed various documents that "spelled out payments to Ghosn after his retirement as a consultant and for agreeing not to work for or join the board of any competitor." These documents are being used as evidence to show that Ghosn deferring payments of current salaries that were not reported. While prosecutors don't believe Saikawa knew about this, his position as CEO may be questioned "for missing the opportunity to catch the improprieties."
    Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required), Nikkei Asian Review (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Nissan is also likely to be indicted on various charges

    Three weeks after he was arrested in a Tokyo airport, Carlos Ghosn will soon be officially charged. Bloomberg has learned from sources that Ghosn will appear in Japanese court as soon as Monday to be indicted on various financial charges. Japanese prosecutors have to either charge Ghosn or arrest him new charges if they don't want to release him.
    Sources also tell Bloomberg that prosecutors are planning to bring new charges against Ghosn. While not public, sources believe it may relate to Ghosn under-reporting his income for the past three fiscal years. 
    The Tokyo prosecutors’ office declined to comment.
    Meanwhile, Nissan is facing its own set of issues from Ghosn's arrest. The Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that prosecutors will file charges against the company for making false statements on securities reports. This is due to Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former member of Nissan's board of directors for under-reporting salaries in five annual reports that go through the fiscal year that ended in March 2015. In Japan, a company can be held accountable for employees misstating financial information and not stopping it - hence why Nissan is getting charged.
    A source told Automotive News that Nissan had been "preparing for the possibility of charges" since allegations against the two men came out last month.
    It appears that the relationship between Nissan and Renault is taking hit. Unlike Nissan and Mitsubishi which have outed Ghosn as chairman, Renault is keeping him as chairman and CEO for the time being. The French automaker has named an interim CEO and the duties of chairman are being performed by a director.
    Why hasn't Renault followed Nissan and Mitsubishi? According to a Renault spokesman, Nissan hasn't provided evidence that the board has asked for in their internal probe. He declined to comment any further. Sources at the automaker give a clearer view. Executives at Renault are quite suspicious of Nissan’s motives with Ghosn. The French automaker has asked for proof from Nissan concerning the allegations against Ghosn. Nissan offered a presentation that summarized the evidence, but Renault passed, asking for the "presence of lawyers and the full report on the allegations."
    Renault has good reason to be suspicious of Nissan considering the odd arrangement of their alliance. Renault is the largest shareholder in Nissan and has voting rights. But Nissan doesn't have any voting rights at Renault due in part to the French government being the lead shareholder. Nissan has been trying to balance this relationship, "but its demands have been stonewalled by Renault and the French state." It should also be noted that Ghosn had been pushing for a possible merger between the two - something Renault wanted but Nissan didn't.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Bloomberg, Nikkei Asian Review

    William Maley

    There was supposed be an updated Leaf, but Carlos Ghosn was arrested...

    Nissan's showing at last week's LA Auto Show was a bit underwhelming with mid-cycle refreshes of the Maxima and Murano. But Nissan had bigger plans for LA. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Japanese automaker was planning to show a longer-range version of the Leaf EV. The model would increase range from 151 miles to 225 miles via a larger battery pack. The Journal reports that Nissan had rented space in the Japanese American National Museum for the media unveiling and hired Hollywood actress Margot Robbie to introduce the model.
    But the reveal was postponed. 
    “The official announcement regarding details of the 2019 Nissan Leaf with additional performance capabilities is postponed to a later date,” Nissan said in a statement.
    A spokesman went on to say that the reveal was delayed “to ensure that this important product unveiling could receive the coverage it merits.”
    Emphasis mine.
    Currently, the coverage at Nissan deals with the arrest of former Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn over alleged misuse of company funds and understating his income. This would have overshadowed the introduction of the updated Leaf.
    It is unclear when Nissan is planning to show off the revised Leaf, but it may take awhile. This week alone saw new allegations come against Ghosn for having a salary above a cap set by shareholders and that he passed on personal losses totaling more than a billion yen ($8.8 million) from derivative trading on to the company. Over at Nissan, the company has pushed back a decision on nominating a successor to Ghosn as chairman. It is expected that a recommendation made by a  three-member panel of external Nissan directors will present their choice to the board later this month.
    Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    A fall from grace for the person who helped bring back Nissan

    Carlos Ghosn, the person credited with saving Nissan from total collapse and bringing it together with Renault and Mitsubishi finds himself in very hot water. Today, Ghosn was detained by Japanese authorities in Tokyo over the suspected breach of Japanese financial laws.
    During a press conference this morning, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa explained that Ghosn under-reported his income and used corporate assets for personal use. Another executive, Greg Kelly (Nissan's director of human resources) is also involved.
    "The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn's compensation," Nissan said in a statement today.
    "Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly's deep involvement has also been confirmed."
    Saikawa said that the two would be removed from their posts during a board meeting on Thursday.
    While many consider Ghosn to be a hero, he is also quite controversial. A lot of this comes down to his compensation. Ghosn got paychecks from his numerous roles as "chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, CEO of Renault, and chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi." According to Bloomberg, Ghosn took home about $17 million from the three companies.
    Ghosn's arrest also calls into question to the future of the alliance between Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Nissan


    Regarding serious misconduct by Nissan Chairman and one representative director
    YOKOHAMA, Japan – Based on a whistleblower report, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Nissan) has been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving the company's Representative Director and Chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly.
    The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn's compensation.
    Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly's deep involvement has also been confirmed.
    Nissan has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and has been fully cooperating with their investigation. We will continue to do so.
    As the misconduct uncovered through our internal investigation constitutes clear violations of the duty of care as directors, Nissan's Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa will propose to the Nissan Board of Directors to promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as Chairman and Representative Director. Saikawa will also propose the removal of Greg Kelly from his position as Representative Director.
    Nissan deeply apologizes for causing great concern to our shareholders and stakeholders. We will continue our work to identify our governance and compliance issues, and to take appropriate measures.

    William Maley

    Affects models sold in Japan only

    Nissan finds itself in trouble once again as it admitted today that it had improperly measured exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 models sold in Japan. According to Reuters, Nissan found that test environments for emissions and fuel economy at final inspection stations didn't meet up to standards. Nissan also found that inspection reports were be based on altered measurements.
    The automaker was quick to point out this misconduct doesn't affect models exported to other markets "as it applies to requirements intended specifically for the Japanese market."
    “This is a deep and serious issue for our company,” Nissan Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi told reporters at a briefing today.
    "We realize that our compliance awareness remains lacking."
    Nissan will be carrying out an investigation to determine the cause, which it expects to take a month or longer.
    This comes a few months after Nissan revealed that it had uncertified inspectors signing off on final inspection of JDM models for decades. It prompted a recall of 1.2 million vehicles and suspending production for two weeks.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Profit over market share

    Nissan's goal in the U.S. for quite some time was increasing its market share. To do this, the company piled on the incentives and sold more vehicles to rental car fleets. While fine in the short-term, the long-term effects would hurt profitability and brand image. This isn't helped by sales declining 6.5 percent this year and a growing supply of vehicles on dealers - Kelly Blue Book reports an 88-day supply of Nissan vehicles.
    Nissan is changing its plan for the U.S. Back at the 2018 NADA Show in April, Nissan's U.S. sales chief Dan Mohnke told dealers the company would focus on boosting profitability by reducing inventory. One way to do that is cutting back on production.
    The Nikkei Asian Review reports Nissan is slashing production as much as 20% at their North American plants. The cuts are already taking place at Nissan's two plants in the U.S. (Canton and Smyrna, TN) and three in Mexico. No layoffs are expected, instead, workers will have an extra day or two off of work. The cuts are expected to end in the fall when production of the next-generation Altima kicks off. It is expected that the production cut will drop Nissan's U.S. sales for the year by three percent.
    Source: Nikkei Asian Review

    William Maley

    Nissan joins Toyota in this trend

    Nissan is joining Toyota in gradually ending the sale of diesel vehicles in Europe.
    “Along with other manufacturers and industry bodies we can see the progressive decline of diesel but we do not anticipate its sudden end in the short-term. At this point in time and for many customers, modern diesel engines will remain in demand and continue to be available within Nissan’s powertrain offering,” a Nissan spokeswoman told Reuters.
    “In Europe, where our diesel sales are concentrated, our electrification push will allow us to discontinue diesel gradually from passenger cars at the time of each vehicle renewal.”
     
    Sales of diesel vehicles have been on a sharp decline for the past year due in part to rising taxes and possible bans looming. Analysts believe this trend will continue in 2018.
    Last month, a source revealed to Reuters that Nissan is planning to lay off hundreds of workers at its Sunderland plant due to falling diesel vehicle sales.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Something isn't adding up with this rumor

    The fate of the Nissan Z has been up the air for a number of years. One minute, it seems the Z will be killed off. The next, Nissan is figuring out how to keep the Z alive. This brings us neatly to a report from Autocar which says a new Z car is expected in 2020. But after reading this report, we have some questions as to the validity of this information.
    According to "senior officials from Nissan," the new Z car has the codename of Z35 and will share a number of components with the Infiniti Q60 Coupe including the rear-drive platform and engines. Using the Q60's platform would make the Z a bit larger - the Q60's length is 17 inches longer and the wheelbase is about a foot longer. 
    Power will come from a twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine from the Q50 and Q60 producing 400 horsepower. There will also be a high-performance NISMO model that will use a re-tuned version of the twin-turbo V6 to produce 475 horsepower and be paired with an all-wheel drive system.
    But this report has a huge red flag. 
    Emphasis ours. The issue is that there will not be a 2018 Tokyo Moto Show. It is a bi-annual auto show. The last one took place in 2017, meaning the next one will not happen till 2019. This also puts a red flag on the reveal of the production model at the 2019 LA Auto Show.
    This report comes a week after another rumor about the Z car was debunked. Japanese site Response reported that Nissan has asked their partner Mercedes-Benz on developing a new Z car. Using a Mercedes-Benz platform, the new Z would be offered with two engines. A 2.0L turbo-four from Mercedes as the base and the twin-turbo V6 from Infiniti. But as Japanese Nostalgic Car notes in their report, "the automotive rumor mill in Japan is like 1990s Motor Trend on crack." The partnership between Nissan and Diamler hit a rough patch earlier this year as Reuters reported that Infiniti would not use Mercedes' MFA2 modular platform due to cost issues. The new QX50 which was supposed to be the Infiniti vehicle to use this new platform would instead use its own unique platform.
    Motor Trend would deliver the final nail in the coffin of this rumor. According to their sources, Mercedes and Nissan did talk about the possibility of working together on a new platform that would be shared between the Z and SLC roadster. But these talks reportedly went nowhere. Also, Mercedes is planning to kill off the SLC once production of the current model ends.
    We know that Nissan does want to keep the Z alive from comments made by Philippe Klein, Nissan's chief planning officer back in January.
    As of right now, your guess is as good as ours.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    Never gonna give you up, never gonna make you cry

    “It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle. This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult," said Philippe Klein, Nissan's chief planning officer when asked about a successor to the 370Z back in October.
    “We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side. We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”
    This sparked speculation that either the 370Z would be going the way of the dodo bird or go a completely different route. It seems death isn't on the table for the Z car.
    "The Z is a difficult market. It is rather shrinking worldwide. But we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that's what we're working on," said Klein to Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.
    "That's for the midterm. For the long term, there are other considerations. If we do a complete new vehicle, what should it be to keep the passion alive? And we're working very seriously on this — how we can keep the Z alive and refreshing and what would be the next generation?"
    Those are very good questions to be asking considering how many people are taken with the likes of SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. Not helping are government regulations on safety and fuel economy that has required automakers to add more equipment, which in turn causes vehicle weight to increase. Not a good thing for a model that is marketed as a lightweight and affordable sports car.
    "The passion is there," said Klein. "The question is how can we refresh it and what will be the breakthrough for the long term?"
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Where's the V6 Titan?!

    Nissan and Toyota are outliers in the full-size truck market as they only offer V8 engines. Nissan had announced that a V6 was coming, but it hasn't appeared.  Michael Bunce, senior vice president-product planning for Nissan North America told Wards Auto said a V6 is still in the cards, but it will appear in the next-generation Frontier.
    “A new Frontier (small pickup) is on its way, and a V-6 is more geared toward that segment. Both (the Frontier and Titan) are built in the same plant in Mississippi, so that opportunity is being looked at for Titan also,” said Bunce.
    “I can’t give you any specific details on that, but we will be moving in that direction,” Bunce said when asked if the V6 would first appear in the Frontier before appearing the Titan.
    The V6 engine for trucks is mostly positioned for those buying them for fleet duty.
    Wards Auto reports that it is unclear what V6 engine will be used.
    Bunce also revealed the automaker is looking at a return to the off-road utility segment due to the resurgence of the segment due to models like the Jeep Wrangler.
    “We know (via research) the Millennial male, through devices they’re becoming more isolated. And they want to reconnect with friends, family, outdoors. And a vehicle is an expression, a way to do that. We’re doing a lot of work in the space to understand that customer very well.”
    Bunce also said the XTerra nameplate “is a great asset in terms of a name and a badge. It’s on the shelf right now, but it’s something we could utilize in the future.” The XTerra nameplate went away in 2015. Judging from these comments, it might mean the XTerra could be coming back.
    Source: Wards Auto

    William Maley

    Nissan's big bet on rental fleets

    If you have been recently renting vehicles, then you may have noticed the number of Nissan vehicles sitting out there. There is a reason for that, Nissan is selling more vehicles to rental car companies.
    According to the Wall Street Journal, Nissan has sold close to 300,000 vehicles to rental fleets this year. Judy Wheeler, Nissan North America's VP of Sales Operations tells the paper the company has boosted sales to fleets from 14 percent in 2015 to 18 percent of total deliveries - the highest of any automaker. Wheeler goes on to say that rentals are a “very profitable business for us,” partly due to the company providing fleets with well-equipped models instead of barebone models.
    Kurt Kohler, Senior Vice President for Fleet Acquisition and Remarketing at Enterprise said that selling to rental fleets is a good thing as it leaves an impression for a customer on a particular brand - good or bad. Kohler goes on to say, “It doesn’t require expensive retail advertising, and is a guaranteed source of business.”
    But there is a major downside to expanding sales to rental fleets, falling resale prices. It also flies in the face of other automakers who are shrinking their sales to rental companies. General Motors, a poster child for rental car sales is projecting a retail/rental ratio drop below 10 percent for the first time in many years.
    The top 10 vehicles sold to rental fleets according to Polk/IHS Automotive (through October)
    Nissan Altima - 70,826 units Dodge Caravan - 65,674 units Nissan Rogue - 55,969 units Ford F-Series - 49,963 units Toyota Corolla - 48,427 units Toyota Camry - 47,620 units Ram Truck - 44,810 units Nissan Versa - 37,989 units Nissan Sentra - 35,635 units Ford Fusion - 33,045 units Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    A Great Wall of Titan?

    The Nissan Titan will soon be available for sale in China. According to Automotive News, Nissan is planning to export Titans from their Canton, Mississippi plant to China to hopefully take a slice of the country's commercial and construction segments. But Nissan North America's Chairman Jose Munoz admits there's another reason for the Titan in China.
    "The Chinese look very much to the United States and they see pickups driving families here. They asked, Why don't we have those pickups here?" said Munoz.
    Nissan is saying how many Titans it will be sending to China, but Munoz said there isn't a lot of factory capacity to build out more Titans at the moment.
    This seems to mesh with Nissan's plan on launch the Titan family of trucks into other markets we on reported last month .
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    You could be seeing the Titan in other markets

    The full-size truck is very much an American vehicle - its big, brash, and powerful. But Nissan is considering selling their full-size Titan and Titan XD in several other markets.
    "We are now looking at other markets where we can introduce the full-size pickup," said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's light-commercial business unit.
    "That market is really growing."
    Those markets include Australia, China, the Middle East, and Russia.
    Gupta did not divulge plans for the Titan, but being the head of Renault-Nissan's LCV unit gives us a clue. As Automotive News notes, the Titan is now considered a member of the alliance's LCV lineup which includes cargo vans and the smaller Navara pickup. This tells us that Nissan could be aiming the Titan at fleets and construction crews.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    The future is a bit cloudy for the Z car

    The Nissan 370Z is getting up there up in age (almost nearing a decade) and many have been wondering if there would be a replacement. Rumors abounded that Nissan would be showing a new one at the Tokyo Motor Show, but that did not happen.
    Speaking with the media at the show, chief planning officer for Nissan, Philippe Klein gave a non-committal answer when asked about a 370Z successor.
    “It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle. This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult.
    “We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side. We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”
    You can read this one of two ways. The first is that there will be no replacement for the 370Z and you'll need to step up to the GT-R if you want a Nissan sports car. The other is that the Z could morph into a crossover.
    Source: Drive.com.au

    William Maley
    October has not been the best of months for Nissan. Earlier this month, Japan’s transport ministry revealed that at five of the company's six plants in the country had quality checks being certified by unauthorized workers. According to Reuters, vehicles destined for the domestic market have to go under a final check by certified technicians.
    “It’s extremely regrettable, causing anxiety for users and shaking the foundation of the certification system,” said Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii at a press conference earlier this month.
    Nissan announced that it would be recalling 1.2 million vehicles built within the past three years due to this issue.
    The news has only gotten worse as the Japanese automaker announced today that it would be suspending production at all of their Japan plants for at least two weeks to investigate and address this issue. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed at a briefing that this unauthorized approval continued a month after Nissan was told about this issue and said it strengthened the control of its inspection processes.
    “Our emergency measures were not enough. We were unable to change our bad habits,” said Saikawa
    There are numerous factors as to how this debacle developed including increasing the efficiency of the inspection process and plants transferring the checks to other lines.
    Nissan is planning on recalling an additional 34,000 vehicles for re-inspection.
    Production of export vehicles will continue as this issue is specific to Japanese-market models.
    Source: Reuters, 2, Bloomberg, Nissan
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Regarding recurrence of final vehicle inspection issue at Nissan’s vehicle plants in Japan
    YOKOHAMA, Japan – As previously announced, on September 18 the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MLIT) notified Nissan that in the final vehicle inspection process, certain checks were carried out by technicians not properly registered to perform those duties under Nissan’s own processes. Nissan took corrective measures at Japanese production plants by September 20 to address the issue. By October 18, the investigation team (led by a third party) discovered that at its Oppama, Tochigi and the Nissan Kyushu plants, certain parts of the final inspection process were still being carried out by technicians not properly registered to perform those duties for vehicles for the Japan market.
    Nissan decided today to suspend vehicle production for the Japan market at all Nissan and Nissan Shatai plants in Japan.
    Nissan regrets any inconvenience and concern this has caused to its valued customers and other stakeholders in Japan.
    Findings
    The plants transferred final vehicle inspection check items from the final vehicle inspection line to other lines, such as the “marketability inspection” and the “offline inspection”. As a result, employees who were not internally registered as final vehicle inspectors performed final vehicle inspections. Measures planned
    Nissan will take the following actions with regard to the production line and vehicles that did not meet Japanese market requirements for final inspection:
    Production line in the plants
    The final vehicle inspection line will be configured as originally submitted to MLIT, consolidating all final inspection processes. Final inspection process will be separated from other processes and only internally registered final vehicle inspectors will have access to the final inspection line. Unregistered and registered vehicles
    Nissan is considering re-inspecting the unregistered vehicles at certified Nissan dealership facilities throughout Japan. Nissan is considering submitting a noncompliance recall report for registered vehicles. Approximately 34,000 vehicles produced between September 20 – October 18, 2017 including those produced for other makers will be subject to re-inspection. Nissan regards the recurrence of this issue at domestic plants — despite the corrective measures taken — as critical. The investigation team will continue to thoroughly investigate the issue and determine measures to prevent recurrence. Details of the above will be included in the final report to be published on a later date.

    William Maley

    Yes, there is a new Frontier. No, we don't know when it will debut.

    The current Nissan Frontier has been with us for over a decade and not much has changed with it. It has put Nissan well behind the pack of newer models from GM, Honda, and Toyota. Back in April, Nissan's North America vice president Christian Meunier the Frontier has future, hinting to us that a new model is on the horizon.
    Car and Driver reports that Nissan has officially announced that a new Frontier is coming and will be built at the company's Canton, Mississippi plant - currently home to the current model. Nissan also said that the arrival of the new Frontier is more than a year away.
    Not much more information was given on the next Frontier. A previous rumor had Nissan using the Navara pickup sold elsewhere in the world. But as we reported back in April, Meunier put a stop to this idea. He explained that the Navara was more of lifestyle vehicle, like a Honda Ridgeline. The next Frontier would be a true truck. Though we're wondering if Nissan's North America office has ever driven the Navara as reviews have it being as capable and riding as well as the Frontier.
    Source: Car and Driver

    William Maley

    Turning over a new Leaf... I'll show myself the door.

    While the likes of Tesla and the Chevrolet Bolt have been fighting over the spotlight, the Nissan Leaf has been quietly going about its business. Since its launch, Nissan has moved over 283,000 Leafs, making it the best selling EV in the world. But Nissan is hoping to take some of that spotlight back with the introduction of the 2018 Leaf.
    The second-generation Leaf looks like it will fit in with other Nissan models. The front end is similar to what you'll find on the Sentra and Altima with the V-Motion grille and boomerang-shaped lights. The rest of the shape is mostly unchanged as the hard points from the first-generation model carry over. Dimension-wise, the 2018 Leaf is 1.4 inches longer, 0.8 inches wider, and 0.4 inches lower.
    Inside, the Leaf looks like your standard Nissan interior with a conventional dash layout and a simple design for the instrument cluster. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is available for the 7-inch touchscreen when your order navigation.
    Nissan has boosted the power of the Leaf's electric motor from 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet to 147 and 236 respectively. Part of this power increase is due to a new inverter. A 40-kW lithium-ion battery pack provides 150 miles of total range, 33 miles more than the current Leaf. There will also be a 60-kW battery pack that will bump range to 225 miles. This is expected to launch sometime next year.
    Recharging times for the 40-kW Leaf are 8 hours when plugged into a 240V outlet and 16 hours for 120V. When plugged into a quick charger, the Leaf can reach an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes.
    The 2018 Leaf will be the first Nissan model to feature ProPilot Assist, a partial self-driving system. This allows a driver to set a distance at speeds between 18 and 62 mph. The system will also make adjustments in the steering to keep the vehicle in its lane, and bring it to a complete stop if the system detects the vehicle in front has also stopped. 
    There is also Nissan's e-Pedal that allows you to drive with only the accelerator. The regenerative braking system is increased and can bring the vehicle to a complete stop when you take your foot off the accelerator.
    Nissan hasn't announced pricing for the 2018 Leaf but said it will arrive in the U.S. early next year.
    Source: Nissan
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Overview: 2018 Nissan LEAF
    All-new LEAF embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility Greater range and advanced technologies make new LEAF the ultimate electric vehicle 2018 LEAF offers a longer range at a lower price – with stronger performance, striking new design and cutting-edge technologies Since its launch in 2010, LEAF has been the #1 affordable, mass production EV in the world LEAF’s advanced ProPILOT™ Assist and e-Pedal technologies offer a look into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility LAS VEGAS – The all-new Nissan LEAF sets a new standard in the growing market for mainstream electric vehicles by offering customers greater range, advanced technologies and a dynamic new design.
    Drivers will feel more confident, excited and connected thanks to the new Nissan LEAF's ProPILOT™ Assist driver assistance technology, e-Pedal, increased power and range, and improved refinement, comfort and convenience.
    The new, zero-emission Nissan LEAF embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s approach to changing the way cars are driven, powered and integrated into society. The three key aspects of Nissan Intelligent Mobility exemplified by the new Nissan LEAF are Nissan Intelligent Driving, Nissan Intelligent Power and Nissan Intelligent Integration.
    Nissan Intelligent Driving
    Headlining the new LEAF’s Nissan Intelligent Driving technology are ProPILOT™ Assist, e-Pedal and the company’s heralded Nissan Safety Shield. ProPILOT Assist is a single-lane driving assistance technology. Once activated, it can automatically control the distance to the vehicle in front, using a speed preset by the driver (between about 18 mph and 62 mph).
    It can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, the ProPILOT Assist system will automatically apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a full stop if necessary. After coming to a full stop, the vehicle can remain in place even if the driver's foot is off the brake. If traffic restarts, the car will resume driving when the driver touches the switch again or lightly presses the accelerator to activate ProPILOT. All these functions can significantly reduce stress when driving on the highway in both heavy and flowing traffic.
    Another innovation that enhances the LEAF’s driving experience is the e-Pedal, which is offered as standard equipment on all grade levels. It allows the driver the simplicity of accelerating, decelerating and stopping the car by using the accelerator pedal alone — a revolutionary innovation that can change the way people drive.
    By simply releasing the accelerator, the LEAF will come to a smooth and complete stop without the need to press the brake pedal. With a deceleration rate of up to 0.2g, the e-Pedal eliminates the need for drivers to constantly move their foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal to slow down or stop. This helps reduce fatigue and increase enjoyment.
    Studies by Nissan in Japan, Europe and the U.S. have shown that the LEAF’s e-Pedal reduces the number of times the driver must apply the brakes while commuting in heavily congested traffic. While the conventional brake pedal must still be used in aggressive braking situations, the e-Pedal lets drivers use a single pedal for more than 90 percent of their driving needs.
    Along with ProPILOT Assist and e-Pedal, the new LEAF is equipped with a set of advanced safety technologies including Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
    Nissan Intelligent Power 
    The focal point of Nissan Intelligent Power in the new LEAF is the e-powertrain, which offers improved energy efficiency and increased torque and power output. The new e-powertrain delivers an exhilarating, linear driving performance with a power output of 147 horsepower, 38 percent more than the previous-generation LEAF. Torque has been increased 26 percent to 236 lb-ft, resulting in improved acceleration.
    Existing LEAF drivers already enjoy the instant response and linearity of performance as they navigate the city. The new LEAF’s improved acceleration will boost enjoyment even further. Even with the additional power output, the new LEAF’s driving range has been increased. The car’s new lithium-ion battery pack delivers an estimated range of 150 miles1, which should satisfy the daily driving needs of the majority of LEAF owners.
    The new battery design adds energy-storage capacity without increasing the size. The battery pack occupies the exact same dimensions as that of the previous-generation LEAF. The individual cell structure of the laminated lithium-ion battery cells has been improved, representing a 67 percent increase in energy density versus the original 2010 LEAF model.
    Another key engineering improvement for the lithium-ion battery pack is the use of enhanced electrode materials with revised chemistry, resulting in higher power density while contributing to greater battery durability upon charge and discharge.
    For those who want more excitement and performance, Nissan will also offer a new higher power, longer range version at a higher price for the 2019 model year.
    Nissan Intelligent Integration
    The new LEAF links drivers, vehicles and communities through the user-friendly NissanConnectSM feature and systems that share power between electric vehicles and homes, buildings and power grids.
    Using vehicle-to-home systems, the battery makes it possible to store surplus solar power during the daytime and then use it to help power the home in the evening. The customer can also recharge the battery in the middle of the night, when prices are lowest in some markets, and then use the electricity during the day to reduce energy costs.
    In some countries with V2G (vehicle-to-grid) systems, LEAF owners can get incentives from energy companies to improve power grid stability by absorbing demand fluctuation. The system is not offered in the United States at this time.
    A newly designed interface on the Nissan LEAF smartphone app allows users to monitor the vehicle’s state of charge, schedule charging to benefit from optimal energy tariffs, find the nearest charging station, and pre-heat or cool the car before getting in.
    Chassis and body
    In performance and agility, the new LEAF excels. To match the improved output of the electric motor and inverter, Nissan engineers enhanced the car’s chassis for better stability. Heavy components, including the battery, are placed in the center of the body, helping achieve smaller yaw moments of inertia compared with front-engine vehicles and thereby improving directional stability, enabling smoother cornering.
    The new LEAF’s electric power steering system has a more linear feel that enhances confidence, especially on highways, with enhanced feedback from the road surface. This is thanks to a software upgrade, new control logic working in conjunction with the steering angle sensor, and a 10 percent increase in steering torsion bar stiffness. Additionally, the urethane bump stop for the rear suspension has been replaced by a rubber stop to reduce shocks and bumpiness when driving on uneven roads.
    The new LEAF also comes with Intelligent Ride Control for more precise electric motor torque control generation when cornering, reducing vibration while simultaneously improving ride quality and steering control.
    Exterior design: sleek silhouette and “cool tech attitude”
    The new LEAF’s design expresses Nissan’s forward-thinking attitude and its pioneering approach to replacing the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. It is inspired by the IDS Concept car, first shown at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
    The sporty, eye-catching body represents the car’s dynamic personality. The philosophy behind the exterior design was to express clean and simple lines and a robust and sleek silhouette, creating the feeling of a high-tech device. The horizontal character line, the bumper, and the striking highlights in the lower part of the body emphasize the lower center of gravity, giving the beholder an instinctive feeling that it’s agile and fun to drive.
    The signature V-Motion grille, the boomerang light signature and the floating roof emphasize the presence of Nissan brand design, giving the LEAF an appearance similar to other Nissan models, such as the popular Rogue.
    A clear-blue 3D mesh pattern with a "freezing" motif, on a flush surface inside the V-Motion grille, expresses the LEAF’s uniqueness as an EV. The new LEAF’s projector-beam headlights with dual, direct-lens low and high beams are a first for Nissan. More mechanical details and a floating signature configuration express a high-tech feel, while visibility and safety are improved by enhancing forward illumination coverage, optimally balancing design and functionality.
    The rear combination lamps feature a unique signature that’s easily recognizable from a distance. A spoiler integrated in the window graphics gives the new LEAF an impressive, sporty look. The low hood blends flawlessly into the windshield and floating roof, creating a sleek silhouette that makes air flow.
    The underfloor and a diffuser-type rear bumper combine to achieve reduced drag and zero lift, resulting in improved vehicle stability. Thanks to the aerodynamic body styling, including a rear bumper with a clear-cut curve and aero-design wheels, the new Nissan LEAF has a 0.28 coefficient of drag.
    The angle of the charging port at the front has been reconfigured for greater convenience, letting the customer connect the charging cable without bending down. Ergonomic testing by Nissan shows that this new 45-degree angle allows drivers of all heights to easily and comfortably connect the charger.
    Interior design: premium ambience with a clean, relaxed, high-tech feeling
    The new LEAF’s cabin features roominess and openness with the brand’s “Gliding Wing” design language used as a framework. The redesigned driver information display has a simple, light configuration without excessive decoration. It focuses on visibility, creating a tasteful, understated look and feel with both excellent spaciousness and functionality.
    Customers will immediately appreciate the signature vibrant blue stitching, an emblem of Nissan EVs, in the seats, door trim, armrest and steering wheel. The blue, illuminated vehicle start/stop button and shift knob finisher create a cool, high-tech feeling.
    Through the thoughtful design of the center console and switchgear, the new LEAF gives drivers the information they need where they need it. This helps them focus on what really matters the most – an enjoyable drive. When the car is activated, a start-up movie is displayed, giving the driver a sense of excitement about driving an electric car.
    Monitors and switches have also been redesigned for smart, stress-free operation. Most notable is the combination of an analog speedometer and a multi-information display. On the left side, the 7-inch, full-color, thin-film transistor (TFT) display shows a power gauge meter by default. The driver can smoothly change the information that is displayed.
    The center display has a screen with a flush-surface design allowing the driver to easily operate audio and navigation systems and connect to smartphones intuitively with just a fingertip. The display shows the Safety Shield technology, the vehicle’s state-of-charge and a power gauge, as well as audio and navigation system information.
    Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been added to the infotainment system in cars equipped with the navigation system. The audio and navigation functions can be modified with a steering switch, without taking hands off the steering wheel.
    Overall interior quality has also been enhanced. A matte chrome finish with a high-quality feel has been applied to the rim of the steering wheel, wrapped in genuine leather, and the center display, making for consistent brightness and quality of each metal finisher. Matte and glossy shades of black have been carefully applied in the air conditioner control panel and the vent grille, creating an advanced, precise interface and a comfortable cabin – like a high-quality living room with relaxing softness and warmth combined at their best.
    Using NissanConnect, a key part of Nissan Intelligent Integration, the driver can search for continuously updated information such as the location and operating hours of free charging stations and charging station availability. Owners can also access their smartphone to check the car’s battery status.
    The comfort and quietness of the new Nissan LEAF deliver a peerless ride. Even at highway speeds, the new Nissan LEAF’s cabin stays very quiet. Along with producing less drag, aerodynamic upgrades and exterior refinements have led to a reduction in wind noise.
    Other noise-reduction measures include optimization of the redesigned inverter’s structural rigidity, and a noise-isolating cover on top of the PDM. The noise from the electric motor itself has also been reduced, even as it generates more torque and power than ever before.
    The front console has been completely redesigned. The dual cup holders, in a tandem configuration, are now between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat. This allows for a new stowage area at the base of the center console – ideal for a smartphone or wallet – as well as an easily accessible power switch, a 12-volt power outlet and a USB port. This new and ergonomic center console design gives easier access to the controls and switchgear in the lower portion.
    Energy-efficient air-conditioning and heating systems provide elevated comfort inside the cabin for all occupants. A smartphone app provides convenience features such as remote pre-conditioning of the vehicle’s interior temperature and wireless remote charging.
    While the energy capacity of the lithium-ion battery pack has been significantly increased, the cabin’s interior dimensions remain essentially unchanged and comfortably accommodate five people. What’s more, the rear cargo area has been redesigned to provide increased luggage space, offering 23.6 cubic feet of available stowage. The square space, with bumps removed as much as possible, allows greater space utilization, increasing convenience and usability. The rear cargo space can now accommodate two large suitcases or three medium-sized, airline carry-on suitcases. It also allows for easier charging cable storage.
    Color design: a lineup that meets customers’ tastes
    The new LEAF’s palette of colors offers customers a wide range of options according to their tastes. It is available in eight body colors. The new LEAF is also available in a two-tone White/Black.
    Moving to the interior, the clean design ethos extends to the color options. An all-black interior gives an air of cool sophistication, discreetly enhanced by lighter accents on the seats, as well as the blue stitching on the steering wheel, seats and central armrest. The alternative option is a pale shade of gray, which colors the seats, door trims, central portion of the dashboard and central armrest. These surfaces are contrasted with the dark gray accents of the central console, binnacle, lower and upper dashboard sections and steering wheel. The overall effect is a light and airy ambience.
    The new LEAF goes on sale Oct. 2 in Japan. It is slated for deliveries in the U.S., Canada and Europe in early 2018. It will be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide.

    William Maley

    Australians will soon be able to purchase a Titan XD

    The Nissan Titan XD is heading down to Australia. No, Nissan isn't importing into the country. Instead, Australian conversion specialist and importer Performax International will be bringing the truck to Australia.
    Performax will be offering the Titan XD in a regular or crew cab with prices ranging from $105,000 to $139,000 AUD ($79,119.89 to $104,739.66). A large chunk of the cost comes from the company converting the truck from left-hand to right-hand drive. The only engine Performax will offer is the 5.0L Cummins turbodiesel V8 with 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. Servicing can be done at various service centers around Australia.
    Performax has a history of converting vehicles to RHD. Currently, the company offers conversions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Corvette, Silverado HD, GMC Sierra HD, Ford's F-Series trucks, and Toyota Tundra.
    Source: CarAdvice, Motoring
    Pic Credit: Performax

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