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Roller coaster or racecar, which pulls more Gs?

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:58:00 EST

Looking for a thrill? You're not the only one. You'll find kindred spirits at airfields going up for a skydive, atop bridges and towers with bungees attached to their feet and standing in line for roller coasters at the local amusement park. But you'll also find them in the paddock at the racing circuit.
So what's the commonality? G-force. It's like gravity, only in each of these cases, it's experienced by human invention. But which activity subjects your body to the greatest amount of g-force? That's what Nissan set to find out.
Before putting them back in the cockpit, Nismo sent out two of its young hot-shoes - Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy - to an amusement park in the UK with a camera and a g-force meter to find out if any of the coasters could produce as much lateral gravitational force as an LMP2 racing car. See what they found in the pair of videos, below.

Nissan IDX sports coupe future increasingly cloudy [w/poll]

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST

There's a strong desire among enthusiasts for more inexpensive, lightweight, fun-to-drive, rear-wheel-drive cars to exist in a world that contrasts sharply with automakers' desire to make money. While we all love the feeling of controlling the back end with the throttle, front-wheel drive is king when it comes to affordable cars. One of the future bright spots in the rear-drive market appeared to come from Nissan with its pair of IDx concepts. The two showcars from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show took liberal design inspiration from the classic Datsun 510 and mixed it with modern powertrains in very attractive little packages. However, some pretty dark clouds are reportedly now hanging over the project.
Last we heard, a production version was supposedly "in the plan" from the Japanese automaker, but its trajectory may have changed inside the company in the last few months. According to Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan Americas, the issue is making the sports coupe profitable. While Nissan has access to rear-wheel drive platforms, they are all meant for more premium vehicles (read: they cost too much). Assuming around 60,000 annual sales, Loing tells Ward's Auto that making a dedicated chassis for the IDx just isn't a moneymaker. If the car still does see production, it'll be after 2016, he says.
The decision whether to build the IDx has been teetering for a while. Nissan spokesperson Dan Bedore previously told Autoblog that the coupe would need a groundswell of support from consumers and enthusiasts if is to actually have a shot at production. If you are among the hopeful looking to see this affordable, rear-drive performance car in showrooms, get some friends together and start letting Nissan know that you actually want it - you can start here by adding a Comment and voting in our poll, because we're going to send the results on to Nissan.

Nissan alters all CVTs to act less like a stretched rubberband

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:30:00 EST

Among automotive enthusiasts, no one seems to hold a neutral opinion when it comes to continuously variable transmissions. CVTs are either praised for their ability to boost fuel economy or chided for their occasionally poor driving dynamics. Nissan is among the masters of these un-shifting gearboxes in the US, and it uses them in many vehicles in its lineup. However, for the 2015 model year, several models are getting a software update to make their CVTs a bit more like a conventional automatic.
To give drivers the option of feeling gearshifts while on the road, Nissan is adding its D-Step Shift Logic feature to the CVTs in multiple vehicles. Steve Powers, Nissan's senior manager of powertrain performance, told Autoblog the system forces the transmission to "hold a ratio and then shift" to simulate the way that a traditional automatic would. It's simply a change in software, but the company "can't do it to older CVTs," he said, because it would require changes to transmission logic, as well. According to Automotive News, the upgrade is coming to the 2015 Versa, Versa Note (pictured above), Sentra, V6-equipped Altima, Pathfinder and Quest. "We're rolling it out to all programs," said Powers.
Interestingly, buyer perception appears to be pushing the upgrade. John Curl, a Nissan North America regional product manager, told Automotive News that the decision to add the tech partially comes because some owners are bothered that the CVTs aren't changing gears. According to Powers, D-Step "avoids the rubber band feel," that many drivers didn't like. The different sensation of these transmissions seems like something consumers would notice during the test drive, or that the salesperson would inform them about. The same issue cropped up last year when the company was facing customer satisfaction problems among new buyers customers' unfamiliarity with the gearboxes.

Deltawing takes out second ad targeting Nissan amidst design lawsuit

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:30:00 EST

Don Panoz isn't a guy shy away from a fight. Since December, Panoz's Deltawing Technologies has been in a lawsuit with Nissan over alleged intellectual property violations with the design of the Zeod RC. The situation went public several weeks ago when Deltawing bought an ad in The Tennessean, a paper near Nissan's US headquarters, and the industry trade, Automotive News, aimed squarely at company CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Now, Deltawing is trying the tactic a second time with an even more scathing ad in The Tennessean on July 11 and in Automotive News on July 14 that calls the Zeod's design out directly. The bulletin puts the two racecars side by side and asks readers compare their similarities.
According to Deltawing spokesperson Gary Fong, the idea for these ads started after mediation between the company and Nissan broke down earlier this year. "We were trying to bring them to settle it amicably," he said to Autoblog. When that didn't happen, Deltawing wanted to fight the misconceptions in the public about the program and lawsuit. The strategy actually worked, too. "We've seen an opinion change," said Fong. He estimates that before the advertisements the attitude was "90 percent against Panoz," but there has been more support since them.

YouTuber TJ Smith is your singing Lyft driver in Nissan Sentra ad

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:58:00 EST

Perhaps you've seen Nissan's latest commercial, promoting the Sentra. It's a fairly simple little spot, showing the compact's driver blaring Billy Idol's Mony Mony, singing along and encouraging other motorists to join in.
We'd have been fine had it been left at that. It's a simple commercial that shows the car with a catchy tune and smiling people. Nissan couldn't leave well enough alone, though, and has come back with this. Starring TJ Smith - the driver from the original ad and an apparent YouTube celebrity famous for the kind of thing shown in the original commercial - the new ad expands on the old, with more people, and more Mony Mony. This time round, Smith is serving as a driver for the Lyft service, who just happens to break into song with his fares in the car.
Scroll down for the full video. If you've no idea what we're talking about, we've also included the original commercial.

Nissan Cube dead for 2015

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:57:00 EST

Another class cut-up has graduated from our motor pool. The Nissan Cube's indefatigable weirdness was likely both its chief selling point and its Achilles Heel, but Autoblog sources say that after a six-year run in the US, the niche player has been scrubbed from the Japanese automaker's lineup.
The move is hardly unexpected - there was confirmation from Nissan Canada that it was pulling the plug on the asymmetric little front-driver in its market back in May, and sales have not exactly been sparkling here in the States, either. In June, Nissan shifted just 336 Cubes, down 23.8 percent year over year. So far this year, Nissan has sold 2,294 units, a sales pace off 30.9 percent versus 2013. At its peak in 2010, the Cube remained firmly a niche vehicle, selling 22,968 units.
Nissan North America's Dan Passe, senior manager of product communications, maintains that "We are continuing to sell the 2014 Cube and we haven't made an announcement about future model plans," but Autoblog sources indicate that an official announcement will be coming in the next couple of months, and the Cube has been conspicuously left off of an exhaustive 2015 lineup "Charting the Changes" announcement released on Tuesday.

Kaz and Shiro talk Gran Turismo 7 details, Titan Nismo and more in AMA

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:58:00 EST

One of the greatest innovations to come about thanks to the gigantic popularity of Reddit is the Ask Me Anything (AMA) question and answer format. The AMA becomes especially worthwhile, of course, when the person(s) answering the questions have detailed information or insight on products we love.
So, in the case of the recent AMA session with Gran Turismo creator and mastermind Kazunori Yamauchi (above), and his buddy and Nissan chief designer Shiro Nakamura (right), it was basically must-read stuff.
The pair really lived up to our expectations, too, with Kaz offering a lot of useful information about the future of the Gran Turismo franchise (especially the upcoming GT7 for Playstation 4), and Shiro promising to bring some interesting new ideas back to his colleagues at Nissan.

NHTSA probing whether to call Nissan to the carpet over Versa unintended acceleration

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 14:16:00 EST

The Nissan Versa and Versa Note may have a carpeting problem that could make the little cars risky to drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a preliminary evaluation into the 2012-2014 model year versions of the Versa, Versa Sedan and Versa Note, affecting an estimated 360,000 vehicle. In these vehicles, it's possible that the driver's foot could be caught where the carpet meets a trim panel near the accelerator. The regulator has four reported instances of the issue, but it's still collecting data from Nissan about any further cases.
According to the complaints, the tunnel carpet cover trim panel can possibly snag the drivers' right shoe where it meets the carpet, and can either keep their foot on the accelerator or prevent moving it to the brake pedal. In one case, the problem was bad enough that the driver had to free his foot using his hand, while driving. In two of the four reported cases, the vehicles were rental cars.
This is actually the second ongoing preliminary evaluation for some of these models. In late May, NHTSA started looking into the 2013-2014 Versa and 2014 Versa Note for long brake pedal travel.

Mercedes and Infiniti confirm joint production in Mexico [w/video]

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 08:45:00 EST

It's official, folks: After initial reports last week indicated that Mercedes-Benz was preparing to begin assembly at the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the two parent companies have announced just that. Only instead of using the existing Nissan plant at the site (in operation since 1992), Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have announced a joint venture to build a new one alongside it.
The latest stage in the growing French-German-Japanese collaboration is part of a new collaboration that will see Infiniti and Mercedes jointly develop and build a line of compact premium vehicles, with the first Infiniti models set to roll off the assembly line in 2017 and the first Benzes to follow a year later. Neither party announced exactly which models that would encompass, but Mercedes already has a robust line of small vehicles (including the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA), and Infiniti has long been toying with the idea of slotting in something smaller below the Q50.
The billion-euro project, split evenly between the two industrial giants, is set to create 5,700 new jobs in Mexico. In addition to the Aguascalientes project, Infiniti and Mercedes are also undertaking joint production of four-cylinder engines (initially for the C-Class and Q50) in Decherd, Tennessee, from which they will be exported around the world. By the time the new factory in Mexico reaches full capacity in 2021, it will have the capability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually. That's on top of the 850,000 vehicles the existing facility is capable of handling.

Nissan's Ghosn called out by Deltawing's Panoz in print ad

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 19:15:00 EST

When the Nissan ZEOD RC limped to the side of the Circuit de la Sarthe a mere five laps into this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, we imagine that a certain American motorsports figure at least smirked a little. Don Panoz's ongoing feud with Nissan probably means he wasn't sorry to see the arrow-shaped racecar's poor showing, and now he's stepping up his campaign against his former racing partner.
For those who need a refresher, back in 2012, Panoz and Nissan teamed up to field the DeltaWing, an innovative, wedge-shaped racer, as the first entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans' experimental Garage 56 concept. The car rapidly became a fan favorite. The Panoz/Nissan alliance didn't last, though, and before long, the DeltaWing's designer was getting a paycheck from Nissan and the ZEOD RC racer arrived. Shortly after that, Panoz began mulling over a lawsuit alleging intellectual property infringement. The American motorsports icon would eventually pull the trigger on a suit back in December of 2013.
Panoz's latest move in the ongoing feud involves an open letter in both The Nashville Tennessean, the paper that serves Nissan's US headquarters, and trade paper Automotive News. The letter calls out Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn directly, and points out some of the similarities between the DeltaWing and the ZEOD RC, going so far as to quote the original car's designer, Ben Bowlby.