Since the introduction of the modern Nissan GT-R, the Japanese automaker has not been content to let one of the world’s greatest sports cars sit idle.
The GT-R is a fine driver’s car, but not in the same sense as say, the purist’s Porsche Cayman. Lead Engineer Kaz Mizuno wanted to create a vehicle at the vanguard of technology. Tuning the rear-biased ATTESA E-TS AWD system to work in perfect concordance with traction and stability control, designers created a vehicle that’s just the opposite of an SRT Viper: the GT-R is so easy to drive fast that some dismiss it as a “computer car”. But those people have probably never driven one.
Buyers around the world continue to respond to fine new products from Nissan Motor Company, with both U.S. and global sales hitting new record highs for Japan’s second largest automaker.
Nissan sold 4,940,133 units the world over in 2012, an increase of 5.8% over 2011 numbers. In the U.S., Nissan sold 1,141,656 units for a gain of 9.5%. In its home market of Japan, Nissan sold 659,756 cars and trucks for an 11.6% gain.
U.S. growth was slightly below the industry’s overall pace, even as rivals in Toyota and Honda saw much stronger growth percentage-wise. But these numbers can be deceiving: Nissan was not hampered by the Spring 2011 Japanese natural disasters to the extent of Japan’s other automakers, therefore not seeing as much of a “rebound” in 2012.
Nissan continues to shift more and more production to North America, with output up 14.6% in the U.S. and 12.6% in Mexico for the year. By producing more of its products to be sold here on these shores, with the new revised 2013 LEAF now among its U.S.-made products, Nissan has been a driving force behind auto industry job growth.
Nissan USA has some great Bonus Cash deals that are about to expire, but if you act quick you can still get a piece of the extra savings.
Now through 1/21/2013, Nissan is offering $500 to $1,000 Bonus Cash on many of its most popular models, good toward the lease, purchase or financing of Nissan cars and trucks. Bonus Cash offers are stackable with current low-APR financing (0% APR for 36 months on several models), and lease rate promotions, as well as even bigger cash back on select models.
Nissan has rolled out a few key updatesfor its 2013 LEAF electric car, now built right here in the United States, that will bring longer range, faster charge times and a new entry-level trim with a drastically reduced price.
The LEAF lineup will now start at just $28,800 before the $7,500 Federal electric car tax credit, bringing your net price to just $21,300, or even lower in those States with their own EV incentives. This represents a drop of a full $6,400 compared with the base 2012 “SV” model.The LEAF SV will now start at $31,820, or $3,380 less than 2012′s starting price. As for the top-of-the-line “SL”, pricing falls to $34,840 for savings of $2,410 over the 2012 LEAF SL.
2013 Nissan LEAF: What’s New?
After 2 years on the market, Nissan has learned a thing or two about how to make its electric car better. First and foremost, that means lower pricing, although the LEAF S will come without a few standard features from last year’s entry-level model. Nissan has removed the navigation system and back-up camera, and made the switch from alloy wheels to 16-inch steel rollers. Also removed on the LEAF S is the remote charging interface, and halogen headlamps replace the SV and SL’s all-LED units.
In addition to the changes in feature content, Nissan’s shift in production of both the car and battery pack from Japan to Smyrna, Tennessee allows for savings on shipping costs and currency exchange rates.
New available features include leather seating for the SL, as well as a “hybrid heating system” for better climate control in cold weather while placing less load on the electric motor. Nissan has also included a new “B” drive mode that maximizes available range by upping the amount of energy captured when braking.
Faster Charging, Longer Range
SV and SL trims will benefit from a new 6.6 kW onboard charger, cutting the LEAF’s recharge time approximately in half, to around 4 hours. The S will come with a 3.6 kW onboard charger, though the more-robust unit will be optional.
Also, aerodynamic improvements and better regenerative braking technology among other enhancements will improve range by around 15%, meaning the LEAF should be good for about 84 miles of combined city/highway driving. The current 2012 model is rated at 73 miles by the EPA.
Not only was the sub-$12,000 Nissan Versa the best-selling subcompact or micro-car of 2012, but it smashed the next-closest competitor by more than 30,000 units.
Nissan sold 113,327 of its little sedan and hatchback over the calendar year, and 10,618 in December alone. The Chevrolet Sonic was next at 81,247 units, followed by the third-place Hyundai Accent at 61,004. After Hyundai’s subcompact entry jumped in price with its recent redesign, the Versa is now the cheapest new car you can buy in the U.S. at $11,990 to start. And for buyers in a segment where price is often the most important consideration, that combined with far more standard features than the previous-generation Versa were enough to help Nissan remain on top.
The Fiat 500, the first U.S.-market model to come from the Italian automaker in decades, deserves recognition for its strong performance of 43,772 units, outselling entries from more-established small car players like Toyota and Kia.