Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:57:00 EST
Nismo, the motorsports and high-performance arm of Nissan, has a lot of racing success to celebrate in its history and possibly even bigger accomplishments to look forward to. The company is commemorating its 30th anniversary with a video looking back at its most important milestones from each year of its past.
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:01:00 EST
Nismo's job first and foremost at its genesis was to excel at motorsports. It wasn't too long after the division was founded in 1984 that the company made its first of many attempts to take an overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It never quite succeeded in that goal, but still managed to do well in long-distance competition elsewhere. At the same time, Nismo was racking up wins in touring car races in Japan.
Eventually, the division's engineers started dipping their toes into tuning road cars, in addition to going racing. What began as something sporadic has become a growing part of the Nissan lineup with Nismo-branded models of the 370Z, Juke, Note in Europe and the GT-R.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:44:00 EST
"We'll use every driver development tool we have to take them to the next level, but they will also have to step up." - Darren Cox
Nissan is aiming to put an American behind the wheel of one of its LMP1 racecars in 2016 as part of plans to grow its motorsports program in the United States.
For many enthusiasts, the concept of the ute - a car with a pickup bed - is somehow irresistibly appealing. On paper, it promises the marriage of a truck's utility and a car's superior driving dynamics, and for that reason alone, we'd love to see more of them. Yet while other parts of the world get them in good numbers, North America doesn't ever see them - at least not for long. Based on what we've seen of late, though, that's not due to a lack of motivation on the part of engineers.
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST
BMW wowed us several years ago with an M3 ute, and earlier this year, some interns converted a Mini Paceman into the pickup-bodied Paceman Adventure. Loathe to let their rivals in Munich and Oxford have all the fun, Nissan has built its very own car-based pickup. Meet Sparky, the world's first Leaf Frontier.
Like the M3, this all-electric ute is used as a parts hauler for Nissan's engineering teams at its sprawling Stanfield, AZ tech center and proving grounds.
The Nissan ZEOD RC hybrid racecar has had mixed success in its competition life. It was invented to do a completely electric, high-speed lap at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which it was able to do in practice. However, when the big event actually came, the car lasted less than an hour before it had to bow out with transmission issues. Nissan hasn't completely given up on its experiment, though. The experience (and possibly some of the tech) is going to help with the GT-R LM racer next year, and now the ZEOD is getting its chance to see how it handles the Top Gear test track.
Sun, 14 Sep 2014 11:02:00 EST
Unfortunately, it's not The Stig piloting the ZEOD; instead, the magazine's motoring editor Ollie Marriage is the lucky man for the job. The car's sharp shape seems to be a good metaphor for how it handles because it just seems to dart around the track. Its tiny, turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with 400 horsepower and two electric motors put out a claimed 750 horsepower, and that seems like plenty for the relatively short Top Gear course.
As usual of Top Gear, the cinematography here is fantastic, and a second video shows off a single lap of the course from around the car. It's amazing to watch, especially with its big screen constantly showing the camera view out of the rear. Scroll down to see both.
A mere seven minutes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced they were pregnant with their second child, Nissan had the perfect post circulating on the Twittersphere. How did Nissan know to expect Kate and William were expecting? By paying attention to the Internet zeitgeist.
Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:29:00 EST
It could be triplets and there would *still* be enough room for the Queen... #XTrail #SevenSeats #RoyalBaby pic.twitter.com/k4HiNAb7lq
- NissanUK (@NissanUK) September 8, 2014
Alaska still offers Americans the chance to really experience the wilderness, and Nissan is challenging its Titan pickup to its offroad extremes with a little help from its fans. After crowdsourcing a heap of mods, the company is handing it over to two Wounded Warrior Project Alumni to do their worst in the backcountry to see what the truck can do.
Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:15:00 EST
Nissan last experimented with the crowdsourcing idea on its Project 370Z in 2012 but might have taken things even further this time. For Project Titan, the automaker let fans vote on 10 different areas to customize on a 2014 Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X. To fit the rugged look, the company covered it up with a custom digital-camouflage wrap with a Wounded Warrior Project emblem and even outfitted its all-terrain camping trailer in a similar scheme. An LED lighting rig was also added to the new bull bar and roof rack to brighten the night. For a just little more grunt, the 5.6-liter V8 was outfitted with a Nismo cold-air intake and Borla cat-back exhaust, and to keep from getting stuck, the pickup got an upgraded suspension with more travel and 18-inch wheels with 35-inch Nitto offroad tires. The interior was also slightly revised with big GPS system and custom embroidered seats.
Now, it's time to see if the truck's mods can handle what the Alaskan wilderness can throw at it. The two Wounded Warrior Project Alumni are just starting their expedition and are expecting snow on the way. Scroll down to watch three build videos for the Titan and read Nissan's official announcement. You can also follow their journey on Nissan Trucks' Facebook page.
Aston Martin has a very interesting future ahead of it. While the British brand appeared to be struggling with aging tech for a while, fresh investment from Daimler may have shown a light toward the future with the brand getting engines and electronics from them. Also, former Renault-Nissan top exec Andy Palmer has jumped ship from the French/Japanese automaker to become CEO of the much smaller sports car company. Interestingly, though, new reports from unnamed Nissan sources have indicated that Palmer has been pushing to work with AM for years.
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 05:44:00 EST
Three unnamed company insiders told Reuters that Palmer made attempts to convince Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013 to invest in Aston Martin, but his proposals were shot down both times for unspecified reasons, according to Automotive News. "We looked carefully at the proposal but we passed on it," said one of the sources.
You can easily see why Palmer was eying Aston Martin even back in 2012. It's no secret that the British sports car mavens were in need of extra funding, well before the Daimler investment. Building vehicles these days is only getting more expensive with stronger safety and emissions requirements. Just look at the brand's desperate hope to get a side-impact crash exemption to keep selling its models in the US as an example.
Aston Martin has been without a helmsman since Ulrich Bez stepped down from the chief executive office at the end of last year, stepping back to serve as non-executive chairman in a semi-retired ambassadorial capacity. The British automaker, now on the cusp of a new era, has been running without a CEO since, but has now named Bez's replacement in Andy Palmer.
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:45:00 EST
If you don't recognize the name, you should: Palmer has worked under the Renault-Nissan Alliance for decades now, rising through the ranks to become one of the top executives under Carlos Ghosn. Most recently he was serving as executive vice president of the entire group and chairman of the Infiniti brand, but like Carlos Tavares, who recently left Renault to run Peugeot, Palmer is now embarking on a new mission as CEO of Aston Martin.
Once the transition period is complete at the start of October, Palmer's role as Chief Planning Officer at Renault-Nissan will be assumed by Philippe Klein, who steps up from his current role as executive vice president of product planning for Renault. Read the statements from both companies below.
The concept of the 545-horsepower Nissan Juke-R that stuffs the drivetrain of a GT-R into a subcompact crossover is already insane, but Russian company Shpilli Villi Engineering has taken things even further with their own crazy riff on the idea. Its version tunes the engine up to a claimed 800 horsepower, plus a shot of nitrous for an extra 200 hp to put it (way) over the top. Naturally, a number of other upgrades have been exacted in an effort to try and keep the custom Juke's shiny side up and the driveline internals from spontaneously rearranging themselves. Those changes include a beefed-up switchable all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive layout and revised suspension.
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:01:00 EST
Last year, you may recall that we saw an earlier version of Shpilli Villi Engineering's insanity testing with a mere 700 hp in a one-mile, standing drag race against a Bugatti Veyron. In that state of tune, the Juke-R lost, but by less than a hundredth of a second. Now, owner and racer Vladimir Ulanov has brought his madness to the Nürburgring Nordschleife to see how it does around a damp lap of the famous track.
It looks like 800 hp and a moist track might be almost too much for this Juke to handle, because Ulanov gets very loose at several points during the lap. Understandably, his passenger seems suitably impressed and possibly a little freaked out at the end. See what you think of this craziness by watching the video.
Those who were disappointed when Datsun changed its name to Nissan over three decades ago may have been pleased to see the marque revived last year, even as a budget brand. Nissan's counterpart to its ally Renault's Dacia budget brand, Datsun has been steadily expanding its lineup of low-cost transportation for developing markets with the debut of the Go hatchback in India, the Go+ minivan in Indonesia and the On-Do sedan in Russia. And now it has returned to Moscow to reveal its fourth model, the Mi-Do.
Based closely on the On-Do sedan (which itself is based on the Lada Granta) the Mi-Do takes on a five-door hatchback bodystyle but with no more frills. It uses the same front-drive chassis with the same wheelbase as the sedan, but its chopped tail makes it a good foot and a half shorter overall. Into that compact shape, Datsun has fitted dual airbags, ABS and... well, that's about it. It's got a 1.6-liter, eight-valve inline-four kicking out a grand total of 87 horsepower to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Bare bones, this is.
While delivery of the first On-Do sedans commences next month (with the first example going to an IT specialist in Omsk), the Mi-Do is set to begin delivery early next year. Scope out the video and press release below from the Mi-Do's reveal at the Moscow Motor Show.