• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Afterthoughts: The Mitsubishi/Nissan U.S. Conundrum


    • Throwing out a crazy idea for Mitsubishi's future in the U.S.

    The past month at Mitsubishi Motors has been tumultuous with the announcement that they had manipulated fuel economy numbers on a number of small city cars sold by them and Nissan. It would come to light that this manipulation had been going since 1991 on a number of models sold in Japan. Shares in the company dropped like a rock and there were concerns that Mitsubishi Motors would have to borrow money from other companies in the Mitsubishi conglomerate. But soon a white knight would appear, Nissan. The company that first discovered and reported it to Mitsubishi would buy a 34 percent share into the automaker, making it the largest shareholder. Thus, an alliance between the two was created.

     

    The two automakers are currently still in the beginning stages of their alliance, but certain things have been made clear of what the two hope to accomplish. The biggest one is to improve the reputation of Mitsubishi Motors in Japan. There is also talk about two working together on electric vehicles and possibly sharing a platform for their next-generation pickups.

     

    One of the questions still up in the air is what will the alliance bring to the U.S.? That’s probably way down on the priority list for both companies. But it is something that will have to be discussed sooner or later.

     

    At the moment, there seem to be two camps of thought. The first is that Mitsubishi should make an exit out of the U.S. Sales are on the rise for the Japanese automaker, but they pale in comparison with other competitors. Also, Mitsubishi doesn’t have the presence as other automakers when it comes to getting the message out. The second is that Mitsubishi should stay, which for the most part is followed by ‘bring back the Lancer Evolution!’. I hate to be the evil person here, but it isn’t coming back. Stop asking for it.

     

    Recently I was going back through some old Autocar magazines and came across an editorial talking about Nissan’s change in strategy for the U.K. and how they are currently reaping the benefits.

     

    “I remember when Nissan said it was giving up the ‘boring’ car market and dealing only in what were, at the time, niches. Quirky tall things. Things that didn’t sell in large volumes. That funny Qashqai thing: not quite a car, not quite a 4x4 either.

     

    We weren’t long out of the 1990s, a decade in which the list of the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK went something like this: Ford's Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Vauxhall's Vectra, Astra, Corsa, Peugeot 306, Volkswagen Golf, Rovers 200, 400. Family cars all. Straight family cars. Not always a Nissan among them, although the Micra dabbled inside the top 10, because it was, then, a cute supermini. So Nissan got into what were seen as niches. Ballsy move. And it has stayed there.

     

    It was quite the gamble when Nissan made this call in the 2000’s to drop out of some very popular segments at the time to focus on some odd vehicles. But it has paid off as Nissan has become one of the popular brands in the U.K. and two of their vehicles - the Qashqai and Juke - are in the top ten of the best-selling vehicles.

     

    This got me thinking, what if Mitsubishi and Nissan were to apply this same strategy for the U.S.? You might think I’m being somewhat crazy with this idea, but what does Mitsubishi have to lose?

     

    What could this strategy possibly look like? I think we need to go back to 2015 and look at comments made by Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko for a possible starting point.

     

    "We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction. We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.”

     

    In 2015, more than 58 percent of Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales were crossovers. That trend is continuing in 2016 as 54 percent of sales through April are crossovers. We know that later this year, Mitsubishi will finally launch the long-delayed Outlander PHEV in the U.S. There is also talk of a small crossover and next-generation Montero/Pajero coming in the next few years. I know crossovers and SUVs aren’t really considered a niche anymore as every automaker has one. But this is an area that Mitsubishi that is quite strong.

     

    So what could Nissan bring to the table with crossovers/SUVs? A key item would be electrification. Yes, Mitsubishi does have a fair amount of experience here. But as I mentioned, one of the key things the two automakers are planning to work on together on electric vehicles. They could make some big inroads with building an electric crossover with decent range (200 or more miles). Considering the huge craving for crossovers by consumers, the two could strike something big here. The other item Nissan could bring is new a new platform and/or engines for the next-generation Outlander/Outlander Sport. One complaint about both crossovers are the four-cylinder engines as they don’t have enough power to get either model moving at a decent clip. There’s also the issue of Outlander Sport having a very jarring ride due to the suspension tuning.

     

    But this is one part of the Mitsubishi conundrum. The other deals with their other best-selling passenger car, the Mirage. Aside from being the current whipping boy of the automotive press, the Mirage makes up about 38.3 percent of Mitsubishi’s 2016 sales through April. A lot this is due to the low price of the model ($12,995). To capitalize on this success, Mitsubishi will be launching a Mirage sedan later this year.

     

    To go back to the comments made by Masuko, “We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. Market.” But the Mirage is proving to be a strong model and one that should be considered a core model. It would be mad for Mitsubishi to drop it. One thing that the Mirage does need is a new engine. The 1.2L three-cylinder does deliver excellent fuel economy figures (37 City/43 Highway), but it is slow. Snails could outrun this vehicle. This is where Nissan could come in by giving the Mirage an engine transplant. The 1.6L four-cylinder from the Versa/Versa Note with 109 horsepower would provide a needed boost in power and wouldn’t affect fuel economy numbers much.

     

    Now that I have outlined some key issues and comments, let’s dive into what a smaller lineup for Mitsubishi could possibly look like with some help from Nissan.

     

    Mirage/Mirage G4: New engine from Nissan and possibly an improved interior.
    Lancer: Rebadged version of Sentra and Pulsar Hatchback, or Nissan helps with speeding up development of the next-gen model.
    Outlander Sport: Electric model possibly joins range.
    Outlander: Plug-in hybrid model sticks around.
    Pajero/Montero: All Mitsubishi here. Gas and plug-in hybrid powertrains on offer. Five and seven-seat configurations on offer.
    Triton/L200: Next-Generation model using Nissan Navara platform. Mitsubishi works on everything else from engines and four-wheel drive system. This is way out as both companies have introduced their latest trucks.

     

    Would Nissan be willing to help Mitsubishi with this? That is tough to say at this time since we’re still in the honeymoon period between the two automakers and there are more pressing things to address. There is also the consideration of why Nissan would help a competitor in the market. But Mitsubishi is a small bit player in the U.S. Last year, Mitsubishi only sold 95,342 vehicles. This pales in comparison with the 1,484,918 vehicles sold by Nissan last year. This could help Mitsubishi out with making a case for this idea.

     

    The U.S. is way down on the priority list between Mitsubishi and Nissan. But I’m sure the U.S. offices are thinking about what will happen. There are two real choices that are on the table, either leave the U.S. market or take a gamble and change up your lineup somewhat drastically. If I was Mitsubishi, I would push for the latter option by using the niche plan.

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    This will be interesting to see what comes of this tie up and how the product portfolio changes.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thinking it's pointless to have Mitsu here....unless they want it to compete with someone (aka "AWD"). It's going to have to at least start a niche, or it is going to drown even before it gets the chance to start.

     

    I think FCA bought into it more for other markets anyways...upgrading the core products, and adding a few new ones. As it gets stronger out there, maybe think about bringing it back here to pair with FCA products here in the states at the same dealership.....

     

    Mitsu offers no value but the markets that it is in....might also be what they are after as well....

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. 2005 EquinoxLS
      2005 EquinoxLS
      (41 years old)
    2. Shaula
      Shaula
      (36 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Mitsubishi Motors Reports November Sales
      Best November sales since 2007; up 1.6 percent year-over-year Mitsubishi SUVs up 7.8 percent over the previous year Outlander up 29.3 percent; best November sales since 2002 Outlander year-over-year sales up 40.8 percent Mirage sales up 32 percent over last November CYPRESS, Calif., Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) today reported November 2016 sales of 6,896 up 1.8 percent from November of 2015. This was the best November for the brand since 2007 with Outlander Sport and Outlander leading the charge. Sales for the year remain up at 1.6 percent over the previous year.
       
      November
      YTD
       
      2016
      2015
      2016
      2015
      i‐MiEV
      5
      4
      91
      106
      Mirage
      1432
      1085
      20671
      20253
      Lancer
      884
      1011
      13444
      16367
      Outlander Sport
      2355
      2955
      30567
      33610
      Outlander
      2220
      1717
      24111
      17119
      Total
      6896
      6772
      88884
      87455
    • By William Maley
      Nissan Group reports November 2016 U.S. sales
      NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group today announced total U.S. sales for November 2016 of 115,136 units, an increase of 7.5 percent from the prior year and a November record.
      Nissan highlights:
      Nissan Division sold 103,024 vehicles, up 8 percent and also a November record. Overall sales of Nissan crossovers, trucks and SUVs set a November record, rising 24 percent. Rogue crossover sales set a November record at 26,629, an increase of 18 percent. Murano crossover sales also set a November record, increasing 36 percent to 7,589. Pathfinder SUV sales increased 34 percent to 6,801. Armada full-size SUV sales gained 114 percent to 1,738.
        NISSAN DIVISION
      NOV
       
      NOV
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Nissan Division Total
      103,024
       
      95,389
       
      8.0
       
      1,291,585
       
      1,227,213
       
      5.2
      Versa
      7,930
       
      9,783
       
      -18.9
       
      123,296
       
      133,470
       
      -7.6
      Sentra
      14,028
       
      14,505
       
      -3.3
       
      197,672
       
      183,749
       
      7.6
      Cube
      0
       
      4
       
      -100.0
       
      15
       
      930
       
      -98.4
      Altima
      20,039
       
      20,564
       
      -2.6
       
      282,617
       
      303,936
       
      -7.0
      Maxima
      4,093
       
      3,884
       
      5.4
       
      57,377
       
      35,588
       
      61.2
      LEAF
      1,457
       
      1,054
       
      38.2
       
      12,107
       
      15,922
       
      -24.0
      Juke
      1,215
       
      1,897
       
      -36.0
       
      18,287
       
      25,163
       
      -27.3
      370Z
      340
       
      381
       
      -10.8
       
      5,545
       
      6,910
       
      -19.8
      GT-R
      58
       
      34
       
      70.6
       
      652
       
      1,021
       
      -36.1
      Total Car
      49,160
       
      52,106
       
      -5.7
       
      697,568
       
      706,689
       
      -1.3
      Frontier
      5,105
       
      5,099
       
      0.1
       
      80,857
       
      57,124
       
      41.5
      Titan
      3,329
       
      719
       
      363.0
       
      17,484
       
      11,122
       
      57.2
      Xterra
      0
       
      169
       
      -100.0
       
      38
       
      10,602
       
      -99.6
      Pathfinder
      6,801
       
      5,094
       
      33.5
       
      72,333
       
      73,675
       
      -1.8
      Armada
      1,738
       
      812
       
      114.0
       
      11,561
       
      11,581
       
      -0.2
      Rogue
      26,629
       
      22,565
       
      18.0
       
      289,427
       
      260,711
       
      11.0
      Murano
      7,589
       
      5,574
       
      36.1
       
      79,072
       
      55,824
       
      41.6
      Quest
      117
       
      953
       
      -87.7
       
      10,324
       
      9,315
       
      10.8
      NV
      1,193
       
      1,105
       
      8.0
       
      15,936
       
      15,034
       
      6.0
      NV200
      1,363
       
      1,193
       
      14.2
       
      16,985
       
      15,536
       
      9.3
      Total Truck
      53,864
       
      43,283
       
      24.4
       
      594,017
       
      520,524
       
      14.1
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      INFINITI
      NOV
       
      NOV
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Infiniti Total
      12,112
       
      11,694
       
      3.6
       
      120,095
       
      118,405
       
      1.4
      Infiniti Q40
      0
       
      38
       
      N/A
       
      59
       
      8,574
       
      -99.3
      Infiniti Q50
      3,361
       
      3,782
       
      -11.1
       
      38,213
       
      39,196
       
      -2.5
      Infiniti Q60
      814
       
      206
       
      295.1
       
      2,952
       
      3,659
       
      -19.3
      Infiniti Q70
      346
       
      677
       
      -48.9
       
      5,292
       
      7,663
       
      -30.9
      Infiniti QX30
      473
       
      N/A
       
      N/A
       
      1,519
       
      N/A
       
      N/A
      Infiniti QX50
      1,442
       
      908
       
      58.8
       
      14,947
       
      4,015
       
      272.3
      Infiniti QX60
      3,196
       
      3,736
       
      -14.5
       
      37,192
       
      36,783
       
      1.1
      Infiniti QX70
      742
       
      610
       
      21.6
       
      5,175
       
      5,040
       
      2.7
      Infiniti QX80
      1,738
       
      1,737
       
      0.1
       
      14,746
       
      13,475
       
      9.4
      Total Car
      4,521
       
      4,703
       
      -3.9
       
      120,095
       
      59,092
       
      103.2
      Total Truck
      7,591
       
      6,991
       
      8.6
       
      73,579
       
      59,313
       
      24.1
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      NISSAN GROUP
      NOV
       
      NOV
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
      2016
       
      2015
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      TOTAL VEHICLE
      115,136
       
      107,083
       
      7.5
       
      1,411,680
       
      1,345,618
       
      4.9
      Total Car
      53,681
       
      56,809
       
      -5.5
       
      817,663
       
      765,781
       
      6.8
      Total Truck
      61,455
       
      50,274
       
      22.2
       
      667,596
       
      579,837
       
      15.1
      Selling days
      25
       
      23
       
       
       
      280
       
      280
       
       
    • By William Maley
      Thanks to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal and demand for diesel vehicles beginning to shrink, Mercedes-Benz is wondering if it's time to pull back on their diesel efforts in the U.S. 
      "We have to look at that and see whether it makes sense to offer diesels in the future. We have not come to a conclusion but we obviously always tend to develop cars and offer vehicles according to customers' demands," said Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz.
      Dropping diesels for the U.S. "is a theoretical option," he went onto say.
      Mercedes have already dropped plans for bringing the C-Class diesel, a model that was supposed to go on sale earlier this year. Right now, the priority at Mercedes-Benz is getting EPA certification for the GLS-Class. Other models are expected down the road. 
      Luehrs said the company is currently doing market research and expects the first results to come in early next year.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Thanks to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal and demand for diesel vehicles beginning to shrink, Mercedes-Benz is wondering if it's time to pull back on their diesel efforts in the U.S. 
      "We have to look at that and see whether it makes sense to offer diesels in the future. We have not come to a conclusion but we obviously always tend to develop cars and offer vehicles according to customers' demands," said Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz.
      Dropping diesels for the U.S. "is a theoretical option," he went onto say.
      Mercedes have already dropped plans for bringing the C-Class diesel, a model that was supposed to go on sale earlier this year. Right now, the priority at Mercedes-Benz is getting EPA certification for the GLS-Class. Other models are expected down the road. 
      Luehrs said the company is currently doing market research and expects the first results to come in early next year.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      The Nissan Sentra isn't what you would call an interesting compact sedan. That has been changing thanks to the introduction of the Sentra SR Turbo earlier this year. Now, Nissan hopes the Sentra NISMO introduced today can go further.
      The exterior looks like it is up to the task. There is a “layered double wing” body kit - lower-body bits to the front, rear, and side - rear spoiler, updated rear bumper, red accents, and 18-inch wheels finished in gray. Four colors are available for the NISMO - Brilliant Silver, Super Black, Aspen White, or Gun Metallic. Inside, the front seats get extra bolstering, a sport steering wheel with Alcantara and leather trim; red accents, and a dark headliner.
      NISMO has played around with the Sentra's suspension, adding revised springs and struts up front, monotube shocks in the rear, a set of stabilizer bars, and a lowered ride height. The electric power steering system has been tweaked to provide a "NISMO feel." (We'll need to spend some time to figure out what they mean). You can option a set Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R summer tires through your Nissan dealer.
      You man have noticed that we haven't talked about the engine. There is a reason for that because it is a bit of a disappointment. The Sentra NISMO packs the same engine as the one found in the SR Turbo - a turbocharged 1.6L inline-four with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired with a six-speed manual or xTronic CVT. Why not more power? According to those who were at the debut, Nissan said they wanted to keep power and handling balanced, and keep the price at a point that is accessible to many buyers. 
      Nissan says pricing for the Sentra NISMO will start just above $25,000 when it goes on sale early next year.
      Source: Nissan
      Press Release is on Page 2



      2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO makes world debut at Los Angeles Auto Show
      First-ever Sentra NISMO is first mainstream U.S. Nissan model to offer motorsports-inspired NISMO factory-tuned performance Comprehensive transformation includes aggressive exterior treatment, performance-oriented interior, stiffened body structure and unique suspension tuning Available with a choice of 6-speed manual or unique Xtronic transmission with manual mode – each tuned specifically to turbo engine Retains everyday sedan practicality, adds motorsports-inspired driving excitement The 2017 Sentra NISMO is the latest in a long line of compact Nissan performance sedans going back nearly 50 years to the Datsun 510 and the original Sentra SE-R. The new, first-ever Sentra NISMO is also the first mainstream U.S. Nissan model to offer motorsports-inspired NISMO factory-tuned performance. It joins the GT-R NISMO, 370Z NISMO, JUKE NISMO and JUKE NISMO RS in the 2017 Nissan lineup.
      The 2017 Sentra NISMO model's comprehensive transformation from everyday sedan to a highly personal performance machine includes aggressive exterior treatment, performance-oriented interior and unique suspension tuning.
      "With the addition of the new Sentra NISMO, the enthusiasts behind NISMO production sports vehicles like the GT-R NISMO and 370Z NISMO sought to widen the reach of the NISMO brand," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "But they wanted to do it without diluting the NISMO brand – which meant Sentra NISMO going deeper than just visual changes to an enhanced, visceral driving experience."
      At the heart of any NISMO-badged production vehicle is the engine, such as the GT-R NISMO's 600-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. For the new Sentra NISMO, the engineers started with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that fit perfectly within the aerodynamically aggressive Sentra NISMO bodywork. More than just an engine transplant, however, the motorsports-inspired transformation from practical sedan to a vehicle worthy of the NISMO badge involved a precisely balanced tuning of body, interior, chassis, suspension, steering and powertrain.
      "Sentra is Nissan's third most popular vehicle behind Rogue and Altima. For the 2017 model year, a new Sentra SR Turbo grade was added to the previous lineup of Sentra S, SV, SR and SL trim levels," added Bunce. "But it is the new Sentra NISMO that will undoubtedly set the nameplate's image on fire. It is the first introduction of the NISMO brand on a core, affordable Nissan model in the U.S."
      A Distinctive Presence
      The first thing most people will notice about the new Sentra NISMO is its highly aggressive presence, which goes even above the sporty Sentra SR and Sentra SR Turbo grades. Applying the NISMO philosophy of "totally balanced tuning for high speed driving, to provide ultimate driving pleasure," the Sentra NISMO aerodynamic design focus was on realizing zero lift without harming overall coefficient of drag (Cd). Therefore Sentra NISMO offers the same 0.29 Cd as standard Sentra models, but features a 30 percent reduction in lift force. While most of the reduction is provided by the unique NISMO rear spoiler, the revised rear bumper design also contributes.
      Beyond the aerodynamic enhancements, the overall exterior appearance is instantly recognized as pure NISMO with its signature "layered double wing" design in the front, side and rear lower body panels. A thin red stripe accents the lower panels.
      In front, a unique front fascia dominates, along with standard LED Daytime Running Lights, NISMO dark chrome V-Motion grille and NISMO badge. Other styling features include unique side sills, NISMO rear fascia and spoiler, NISMO exhaust finisher, dark chrome door handles and trunk finisher, rear NISMO badge and black NISMO outside mirror caps with integrated turn signals and NISMO red stripe.
      Helping give Sentra NISMO its aggressive stance, while also helping enhance handling performance, are 18-inch NISMO 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with specially selected 215/45R18 Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires. Ride height has also been reduced by 0.4-inch.
      The 2017 Sentra NISMO is offered in four exterior colors – Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black and Aspen White.
      Inside, the Sentra NISMO interior is designed to support exciting driving – starting with unique NISMO front seats with logo and additional side bolstering. The rear seats feature unique cloth material with red stitching.
      Red motorsports-inspired accents are found throughout the interior, including on the unique Alcantara and leather-wrapped steering wheel, the push button start with red start ring, NISMO meter cluster with red tachometer, leather shifter knob and NISMO embroidered carpets. A dark headliner and NISMO logo on the instrument panel complete the special interior treatment. Just one interior color is offered, Charcoal with red accents. "The NISMO interior treatment adds a high level of driving support and sporty style without compromising the everyday drivability," said Bunce.
      Along with the long list of unique NISMO features, the 2017 Sentra NISMO also offers a 5.0-inch Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display (ADAD) located between the tachometer and speedometer, soft-touch instrument panel, sliding armrest, Nissan Intelligent Key® keyless entry, RearView Monitor, power windows with driver's one-touch auto up/down with auto reverse, power door locks with auto-locking feature, remote keyless entry and remote trunk and fuel-filler door releases.
      An AM/FM/CD system with 5.0-inch color display, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Siri Eyes Free™ Voice Recognition and smartphone integration for iPhone® and Android phones are also standard. The optional NISMO Premium Package adds a Bose® Premium audio system with eight speakers.
      Also offered with the NISMO Premium Package is NissanConnectSM with Navigation and Mobile Apps – with 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for audio and navigation, SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link® (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately) and NissanConnect Mobile Apps.
      Balanced Performance
      As a pure factory tuned performance vehicle, Sentra NISMO offers buyers something aftermarket tuners can't – a balanced approach that goes deep under the skin of the vehicle with modifications to the structural integrity.
      Starting with the solid Sentra body, which packs ample interior roominess in a compact-size exterior, the Sentra NISMO body structure is enhanced with a number of factory tuned body reinforcements. The cowl is thicker and vehicle floor and rear parcel shelf are reinforced to stiffen the body structure, improving responsiveness to steering inputs – helping provide an enhanced platform for the new engine and NISMO-tuned suspension.
      "This is not just a ‘lipstick' application that adds a little performance and a lot of flash," added Bunce. "The beauty of the new Sentra NISMO is that every single aspect from front fascia to rear spoiler and everything in between works together to provide an enhanced driving experience – with equal emphasis on power and handling."
      The power side of the equation comes in the form of Sentra NISMO's new 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIGTM) turbocharged engine, which is shared with the new-for-2017 Sentra SR Turbo model. Rated at 188 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 177 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 - 5,200 RPM, the 16-valve DOHC aluminum-alloy inline 4-cylinder engine includes a 10.5:1 compression ratio, Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), spray-coated and mirror-finish cylinder bores, a variable pressure oil pump and a low-pressure EGR system, which helps lower exhaust gas temperature and improve knock sensitivity.
      The Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) includes an intermediate lock function on the intake side, while the use of spray-coated and mirror-finish cylinder bores (versus the iron liners) provides an estimated 12 percent reduction in internal friction, which also improves anti-knock performance and reduces engine weight. The DIGTM system helps improve combustion, enhancing power, torque, economy and emissions, while the use of the turbocharger and intercooler helps boost power. The variable timing control for both intake and exhaust cycles improves low-end engine response.
      The engine is matched with choice of a 6-speed manual transmission, with gear ratios selected to take maximum advantage of the engine's powerband and torque curve, or an advanced, tuned Xtronic transmission.
      "It was important to offer a 6-speed manual transmission with the new Sentra NISMO, both to reinforce its pure performance credentials and to up the direct engagement factor between driver and the vehicle," said Bunce. "While today's sophisticated, paddle shifted automatic gearboxes can often match or exceed the performance of a manual transmission, there's still nothing like the experience of rowing through the gears with three pedals in the footwell."
      For buyers choosing the Xtronic transmission, it has been specially tuned to match the engine's performance. Acceleration feel is enhanced with the Xtronic's D-mode step shift program, giving a more linear acceleration feeling without holding a high rpm constant, letting rpms build as speed builds.
      Delivering on the handling aspect of the Sentra NISMO, the engineering team sought to provide a noticeable improvement even beyond the enhanced performance of the new Sentra SR Turbo. Five key areas were designated to meet the NISMO standards – handling response, grip, steering feel, body control and ride/handling balance.
      The NISMO-tuned independent strut front/rear torsion beam suspension goes beyond the SR Turbo's enhanced design (versus non-turbo Sentra grades) by adopting monotube rear dampers and unique tuning of the front springs and struts. The lightweight monotube shock design features separate oil and gas chambers and high-pressure gas charge to help provide quicker response to damper stroke and velocity changes. Faster damper response means faster reaction to changing steering or road conditions. In addition, the NISMO tuning of the springs and struts helps improve body control (roll and pitch) for higher demand cornering.
      Steering effort of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system has also been specially tuned to provide a "NISMO feel." The special dialing in of the effort/response relationship helps provide good highway and winding road feedback, precise on-center definition without overly high driver effort and a linear, direct steering feel at turn-in.
      Also contributing to the overall handling performance is the unique Sentra NISMO wheel and tire combination. Utilizing NISMO 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with newly developed 215/45ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport all-season tires, cornering power and grip levels are improved, even over the new Sentra SR Turbo. It is the first time 18-inch wheels and tires have been offered on a Sentra. For customers seeking maximum grip, high-performance 215/45WR18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R summer tires are available through Nissan dealers.
      Like the SR Turbo, the steering system includes a larger steering motor and revised electronic mapping to provide reduced effort at parking and low speeds. The Sentra NISMO also utilizes a 4-wheel disc brake system with 11.7-inch vent front discs and 11.5-inch solid rear discs.
      Like all 2017 Sentra models, Sentra NISMO offers a long list of standard safety and security features – including the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt and occupant classification sensors; front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air bags; roof-mounted curtain side impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection; 3-point front and rear seatbelts, front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors; and LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren).
      Also included are child safety rear door locks; Zone Body construction featuring front and rear crumple zones and occupant zone; Nissan Immobilizer system and anti-theft alarm system; and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with position monitoring and available Easy Fill Tire Alert system.
      Just one factory option is available with the Sentra NISMO: the NISMO Premium Package with NissanConnect with Navigation and Mobile Apps, 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, Nissan Voice Recognition for audio and navigation, SiriusXM® Traffic and SiriusXM® Travel Link® (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), NissanConnect with Mobile Apps, and Bose® Premium Audio system with 8 speakers.
      "The new Sentra NISMO will attract new customers not currently considering Sentra – enthusiasts looking for a fun-to-drive vehicle with a sporty image yet at an attainable price point," said Bunce. "As the first ‘core' NISMO model in the Nissan lineup, Sentra NISMO takes us back to Nissan's roots of compact performance sedans. The time has come."

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)