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Platform sharing is nothing new for the 14-year-old Renault-Nissan Alliance, but this partnership is set to introduce new modular platform components that will eventually underpin 11 Renault models and three Nissan vehicles by 2020. Rather than being a typical platform, the Common Module Family (CMF) actually represents five segments of a platform that can be used in various applications, and one of the first vehicles to use this architecture will be the 2014 Nissan Rogue (spy shots of which are shown below) when it arrives "in late 2013."
As pictured in the image above (click to expand), CMF is composed of four chassis component, principally the front underbody, rear underbody, engine bay and cockpit as well as a common electrical system. Besides the next-gen Rogue, future Nissan models to share CMF will include the Qashqai and X-Trail, while Renault models will start using the platform next year on vehicles including the Scénic and Laguna. The CMF architecture is expected to help the Alliance reduce the parts cost of a vehicle by up to 30 percent and reduce the entry cost by up to 40 percent. The official press release with more details about CMF, and what it means for Renault-Nissan, is posted below.
Aside from certain naming-related news, Infiniti has actually had some decent product news to announce this week. The company's president, Johan de Nysschen, alluded to a new 550-horsepower performance sedan, and now the automaker has confirmed that a new "premium compact" will go into production in 2015. Based on the fact that this new model will be built alongside the Nissan Leaf at the automaker's Sunderland, UK assembly plant, we could only hope that it's a production version of the LE Concept (shown above).
Sunderland already produces Nissan products like the Qashqai, Juke and Note, and as a part of an investment of 250 million British pounds (around $406 million USD) for the new model, the plant would add an extra 280 jobs with the capacity to build 60,000 of the new Infinitis annually. Adding the premium compact at Sunderland means that Infiniti will have to change its plans for another new model, a bigger "C-segment hatchback," which could very well be a production version of the Etherea Concept.
Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said "the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time." The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words.
There were two Toyotas, two Porsches and three Audis, five of the seven led the race at some point, six of the seven ran in the top three. Toyota will be hugely disappointed that it didn't win when its car and drivers were so, so strong, but they gave Audi the kind of scare we haven't seen since the best of Peugeot's days, and Toyota did a better job of it even in the loss. Porsche blew away everyone's expectations, falling 3.5 hours short of a fairy tale ending that would have made Disney cry.
But Le Mans doesn't really do fairy tales. Well, not that fairy tale. Audi's Twitter handle during the event was #welcomechallenges. As usual, Le Mans answered for the entire field.