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Nissan leaning on JATCO to remedy CVT problems

Mon, 02 Dec 2013

Nissan's decision to fit continuously variable transmissions across even more of its new models may be coming back to bite the Japanese automaker, as it's been hampered by customer satisfaction issues relating to its XTronic CVTs, which are provided by a supplier called JATCO.

From what we're understanding, the issue largely relates to customers' unfamiliarity with the non-traditional shift nature of a CVT. Dealers have reported complaints and service visits from owners over the belt-driven automatics (did these people not test drive the cars before they bought them and notice that they don't shift conventionally?).

The company, which Nissan owns 75 percent of, has come under fire from none other than Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who's spoken about JATCO and its troubles rather openly. "Every time you launch a new CVT you always have some risks," Ghosn said in an interview with Automotive News. "So we now have a process by which, before we launch any new CVT, [JATCO] come before the Nissan executive committee to explain all the measures they have taken to make sure there are no surprises."

Nissan's oversight on JATCO will fall to Bill Krueger, the brand's current manufacturing and supply chain boss in North America and its future executive vice president of US and Mexican operations, according to AN. Krueger will be visiting JATCO next month. Along with dealers, the supplier will attempt to provide a greater range of information to consumers about the benefits and characteristics of its CVTs.

Speaking to AN, Nissan spokesman David Reuter said the latest string of transmission related issues, which took a chunk out of the brand's profits in 2012 according to Ghosn, related largely to Nissan's hectic launch schedule. "They're in the past and behind us now," Reuter said.

By Brandon Turkus

See also: Panoz and DeltaWing suing Nissan over BladeGlider concept, Survey says $25k barrier is a problem for EVs, Nissan to give Qashqai the Nismo treatment.