Filed under: Sedan , Honda , Nissan , Toyota Belts and pulleys will continue to replace traditional gears in the coming years as more carmakers turn to Continuously Variable Transmissions to suck the fun out of future machines increase fuel economy. According to a new Automotive News report, by the numbers, about one percent of new vehicles were equipped with a CVT in 2005. By 2010, that number of new vehicles in the U.S. grew to seven percent, thanks largely to Nissan , not to mention an increase in the number of hybrid models sold in America (most of which are fitted with the technology). Experts at IHS Automotive now predict that percentage will more than double by 2016 to 16 percent. The belt-and-pulley transmission can adjust to an engine’s torque in an infinite number of ways, making it more efficient than traditional gearboxes. But CVTs have become the bane of many enthusiasts and critics because of a number of undesirable characteristics – namely the unpleasant ‘rubber band’ sound they emit under hard acceleration. According to Automotive News , Japanese carmakers appear especially interested in adding CVTs to their lineups. Honda is widely expected to offer a CVT on its next-generation four-cylinder Accord , Toyota may include a CVT on its future Corolla , and the CVT stalwarts at Nissan introduced its 2013 Altima earlier this year with an upgraded CVT that helps it achieve 38 miles per gallon on the highway. While CVTs continue to improve, some providing faux programed “shift points” through sport programs or paddle shifters, they remain a non-starter with most enthusiasts we talk to.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota , South Korea The strong yen has Japanese carmakers looking to optimize every efficiency in order to keep their cars competitive in export markets. One strategy gaining momentum is to do some island hopping, specifically, moving plants and manufacturing to Kyushu, the southernmost main island in the Japanese archipelago. Car production there as a percentage of total Japanese production has doubled from 2001 to 2011, but more startling are the recent increases: Nissan just moved its Note and Caravan production there, Toyota is boosting production there by 600 percent, and total units made in Kyushu climbed 21 percent from 2010 to 2011. The three big factors involved are lower personnel costs, lower auto parts costs and increased productivity because of newer, more efficient factories. Companies can save ten percent on personnel in Kyushu versus traditional manufacturing centers like Aichi and Kanagawa, which are on the main island of Honshu and near major cities like Nagoya and Tokyo. Kyushu is also much closer to the South Korean peninsula, and the weakness of the South Korean won means importing lower-priced Korean auto parts is an even more attractive option. Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun says it could soon be the Detroit of Japan. The prediction could be sped up if intergovernment talks can rework laws on transportation: it’s illegal for trucks with South Korean plates to drive on Japanese roads, so trucks hauling parts get shipped to Kyushu ports and their cargo is transferred to Japanese trucks. Japanese and South Korean officials are working to determine how to allow trucks from across the strait to travel unhindered from Korean auto parts factories to Japanese car factories. Kyushu on the road to becoming Japan’s Motor City originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Jul 2012 12:02:00 EST.
Filed under: Car Buying , Auctions , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , Jeep , Nissan , Toyota eBay Motors and AutoNation are quickly establishing a reputation for finding new ways to sell cars online. They teamed up for the first time back in March when they tried selling vehicles for half price on the popular auction site. This weekend they’re back with another unique promotion that will see the price for certain vehicles drop every hour until they’re sold. The reverse auctions began at 12:00 PM EST today and will run through 8:00 PM EST on Monday, July 2. Each day about 10 vehicles will be posted for sale with an initial Buy it Now price that matches their MSRP. Every hour their prices will drop according to a list of prices that accompanies each auction. A 2012 Nissan Rogue that kicks off the promotion, for instance, is dropping by $500 per hour. The good news is that there is no limit to how far prices can drop, nor a reserve they need to stay above. The only limiting factor is the other person out there who’s willing to pay $500 more than you. As for what sort of vehicles will be sold via this promotion, the list includes vehicles from Chevy , Dodge , Ford , Jeep , Nissan and Toyota , and includes popular models like the Camaro , Mustang , F-150 , Fusion , Challenger , Charger , Wrangler , Prius C , Camry and more.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota No surprise here. Both Nissan and Toyota have moved to cut production in Japan , according to Reuters . Nissan has made it clear that it will will drop capacity from the 1.35 million units produced in 2011 to 1.15 million in 2013. In 2012, Nissan expects to produce 1.22 million vehicles in its home country, though production is expected to increase in countries like China , Brazil and Russia to help offset the drop. The report says Nissan has already stopped production on two lines at its Oppama plant, and the manufacturer has plans to stop production of the Tiida in Japan altogether. The story is much the same with Toyota. The manufacturer has announced that by 2014, it will cut production in Japan by around 10 percent to 3.1 million vehicles. Before the financial crisis, Toyota produced 3.9 million units domestically. But that was when it still made financial sense to build machines in Japan and export them around the world. Japan has seen its currency strengthen against the dollar, making exports less and less financially viable.
Filed under: Motorsports , Audi , Chevrolet , Nissan , Toyota , Racing If you don’t want to know who finished where in the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, then you should head to another post this instant… With Peugeot’s withdrawal from the world’s greatest endurance race, everyone was looking to the rookie Toyota team and its two petrol-hybrid TS030 race cars to provide some kind of worthy competition for the two diesel-hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattros and two Audi diesel R18 Ultras. And they did. Five hours from the drop of the green flag, Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 7 Toyota passed Benoit Treluyer in the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on track to take the lead. At almost the same time, Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota was getting launched into the air when a GT Pro-class Ferrari turned into him heading into Mulsanne Corner. Both drivers had massive impacts with the tire barrier, ending their races, and Davidson is now lying in the hospital with two fractured vertebra. Worse yet, the second Toyota had fallen to second due to a pit stop during the safety car period, and on the restart it crashed into the Nissan DeltaWing .
Filed under: Etc. , Honda , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Toyota During a meeting of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota president Akio Toyoda offered a ” Chapeau! ” to his fellow CEOs by listing his favorite cars from other makers. He listed just one vehicle from five makers represented on the board, in alphabetical order: the Honda NSX , Isuzu Bellett, Mazda Cosmo, Mitsubishi Pajero (our Montero ) and Nissan Skyline. Toyoda didn’t give his reasons for choosing these car beyond each being “memorable.” Even so, going through the list any car enthusiast knows the Honda ( Acura in the States) NSX needs no introduction nor explanation. The Mitsubishi Pajero is probably as well known for it’s off-road excellence as it is for its name change in Spanish-speaking lands due to the word “pajero” – all the more intriguing when it’s apparently named after an Argentine cat, Leopardus pajeros . And although the “Skyline” moniker was made famous overseas by the GT-R , the Nissan Skyline that Toyoda references has a long history and is our Infiniti G . The Mazda Cosmo (pictured) was an Italian-esque little coupe produced from 1967 to 1995, the first series production vehicle with a two-rotor rotary engine. The Isuzu Bellett was that firm’s in-house replacement for the English Hillmans it was rebranding, the first Japanese car to get GT badging (it would also get a GT-R version), and it would cover just about every segment with sedan, coupe, station wagon and pickup truck variants. Toyota CEO lists favorite cars from other automakers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 May 2012 17:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Sedan , Marketing/Advertising , Hyundai , Nissan , Toyota , Design/Style When Hyundai rolled out their outrageously styled Sonata three years ago, car buyers took notice. It’s eye-catching exterior styling, well-appointed interior and affordable price was just what a lot of family sedan buyers wanted. Few will admit it, but carmakers sat up and paid attention, too. However, Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice president for global planning, doesn’t mind telling the world that his company certainly saw the significance of the midsize Korean sedan. So much so that they briefly halted design work on the 2013 Altima . “We even delayed development by a short amount just to check that the (new Altima’s) proportions were right, the (package) was right (and that) the product overall was right,” Palmer tells Ward’s Auto. “I’d say they (Hyundai) are our major point of reference.” But with the Altima as the second-best selling car in its segment, Nissan is focusing not on the Sonata, but on Toyota and the No. 1 best seller: Camry . “If you keep coming with better cars and better communications, telling better stories, over a period of time,” Palmer says. “I guarantee you’ll be talking about Toyota and Nissan.” Hyundai Sonata caused Nissan to reassess 2013 Altima development originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:44:00 EST.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , Ferrari Automakers fared extremely well in Interbrands’ Best Global Brands 2011 Report. The study, which ranks the financial strength of all kinds of brands around the world, was topped by Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Google and General Electric. Most automakers either held fast or moved up in the top 100, with the exception of Ferrari , which fell from 91 to 99. Despite having a rough row to hoe these last two years, Toyota still leads the automaker pack on the list, sitting tight this year at number 11, after dropping from eighth last year , followed closely at 12 by Mercedes-Benz . Nissan popped back on to the list this year, making a surprise comeback at 90 after a four-year absence. According to Interbrands, both Nissan and Toyota showed enough resilience in the face of both the earthquake and Toyota’s quality control issues that their brand value actually increased for 2011. Funnily enough, Ford was the only one of the Detroit automakers to make the list. Others on the list included BMW , which held fast at 15, Honda , which jumped one place to 19, Volkswagen which climbed from 53 to 47, Ford , which held fast at 50. Audi and Hyundai both moved up four places, into 59 and 61, respectively. Porsche held its footing at 72, while Nissan and Ferrari brought up the rear.
Filed under: Hybrid , Chevrolet , Ford , Nissan , Toyota , Electric 2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery What is the best tool for commuting: a Nissan Leaf , Chevrolet Volt , Toyota Prius , Ford Focus or a commuter train? The team at Cars.com decided to put all five to the test in a recent comparison. Starting out at the Cars.com Chicago headquarters, the team embarked on a 64.5-mile loop to see what mode of transportation could be crowned Abe Froman. The results are not that surprising, but they do demonstrate the power of a pure electric vehicle driven in an urban setting. We won’t give away all of the results, but the picture above should tell you which automobile was the cheapest to operate. The Cars.com crew makes a few interesting points, and provides great analysis into their commuting competition. Head on over and give their story a read . Battle of the Commuters: EVs take on gasoline and the rails originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 May 2011 08:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink