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Auto blogMon, 16 Jun 2014 15:30:00 EST
It seems Toyota won't be the only one recalling the faulty Takata airbag inflators for long. Honda insiders in Japan claim that the company is getting close to announcing its own worldwide campaign that would begin before the end of June.
Unnamed sources close to Honda in Japan tell Automotive News that the company is pursuing an internal investigation into possibly affected models and is working with Takata to gather more information. They claim that it could involve even more than the 1.14 million cars worldwide that the automaker covered under the first recall for the problem in April 2013, including 561,000 vehicles in the US.
Toyota jumpstarted this process last week when it recalled over 2 million cars worldwide, including 844,277 in the US. Soon after, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a preliminary evaluation into the issue following six reported incidents, and started assembling data about potentially affected models from Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Chrysler. NHTSA also began investigating Takata itself.
With Formula One taking to Belgium and the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend - boasting a reputation as one of the most beautiful courses on the calendar - all eyes will likely be on the tricky Eau Rouge corner, which challenges drivers' high-speed car control over a rolling, tree-lined hill. Infiniti played on the turn's iconic legacy for its ruby red Q50 Eau Rouge concept, and now the brand hopes to trademark the famous racing name so it can keep using it for a potential production version.
In January, the company filed for a trademark on Eau Rouge for "Automobiles and their structural parts; Fuel cell automobiles and their structural parts; Concept cars" with the US Patent and Trademark Office. According to Bloomberg, the application is still under consideration and not yet a guarantee. It's possible that the track could attempt to block the automaker from earning rights to the name. Alternatively, a trademark lawyer tells Bloomberg that the two of them could also strike a deal where Infiniti would pay a small amount for each car sold bearing the title, which could give Spa a bit of extra money in the bank.
Regardless of the name, a vehicle like the Eau Rouge is something enthusiasts have been wanting for years. It combines a modified, 560-horsepower version of the engine from the Nissan GT-R into a four-door sedan covered in aggressive, carbon fiber aerodynamic parts.
Toyota might be content to eke out an existence in the fullsize pickup market with its lightly refreshed Tundra, but Nissan looks like it'll be a bit more aggressive with its next-generation Titan. The next Titan will make use of a 5.0-liter, turbodiesel V8 from Cummins, the Japanese company announced at the start of its Nissan 360 industry showcase.
Nissan's commitment to a fullsize pickup isn't really open for debate - it made waves back in April when it lured Fred Diaz, CEO of Chrysler's Ram pickup division, down to its Franklin, Tennessee headquarters. But this news of a monster turbodiesel is big. As of this writing, only Ram is set to offer a diesel engine in a non-heavy-duty pickup. Its 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V6 will arrive in the Ram 1500 in the not-so-distant future, but that engine will still be a far cry from what's promised with this Cummins mill.
The 5.0-liter V8 is expected to generate well over 500 pound-feet of torque - likely closer to 550, based on the language in the press release - along with over 300 horsepower. Those figures aren't just a shot across the bow of Ford, Chevy, GMC and Ram, they're an opening broadside, meant to demonstrate Nissan's willingness with its next light-duty truck. As Diaz said, "There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads, and with the available Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel, we expect to win new fans and attract buyers looking for this unique configuration."