23/03/06

Best Performanze Award Winner


Readers of Auto Express have crowned the Nissan 350Z as their favourite performance car in the 2006 Driver Power Survey. It beat 100 other vehicles to take the honour as it was voted overall winner in the 'Best Performance' category.

Auto Express commented: 'Impressive is the fact that the 350Z has finished higher up the chart than several more costly rivals.' The 350Z scored 97.78% which is over 5% ahead of the Porsche Boxster (92.77%) and 7.69% ahead of the Audi TT (90.09%). Prices for the new 2006 model year 350Z start at £25,300.

With more than 46,000 readers giving their votes, the survey is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK and the results are published in the March 22nd edition of the magazine as well as on its website.

Auto Express also commented: 'Owners can't get enough of the V6 powered models' 276 bhp 3.5 litre engine, which pulls hard in every one of its six gears. Throttle response is razor-sharp and the rear wheel drive chassis means there is ample traction when accelerating.'

The revised 350Z for 2006 should satisfy owners even further with the engine power up by 20bhp to give a total of 296bhp (300PS). This not only reduces the 0-62mph time for the coupe to 5.8 seconds but also allows the engine to rev higher at 6400rpm, while maintaining a flatter torque curve.

These are not the only changes made to the latest Z. LED rear lights, Bi-xenon headlamps, standard RAYS alloys, a revised interior and the availability of the latest generation DVD satellite navigation system add to the overall impression. And, it's available to order now at Platinum Nissan in Trowbridge and Bath.

23/03/06

Nissan Design Supports the Next Generation of Designers

London, UK (23 March, 2006) - Nine design students from Pforzheim University in Germany, who produced winning entries in a design challenge set by Nissan as part of its global sponsorship activities, today attended the company's European design headquarters to present their concepts.

The students are all participants in the University's Transportation Design course and had been challenged by London-based Nissan Design Europe (NDE) to create vehicle concepts that would meet customer expectations in 2015.

As part of the four-month project, 5th semester students were asked to develop scale exterior clay model proposals, while those from the 7th semester were asked to develop interior design proposals.

The brief asked the students to consider what the Nissan brand should express in the future and what should be its position in a context of global competition. They were challenged to define future lifestyles and needs and how they would impact on the product. The two key guiding words behind the brief were 'Bold' and 'Thoughtful'.

In early February, a team including Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Nissan Motor Company Limited, Tokyo and Satoru Tai, Vice President, Nissan Design Europe, London, assessed each of the student's entries and those behind the most highly rated projects were invited to attend the official presentation and sample life inside Nissan's European design headquarters.

"It is important to support and encourage the next generation of designers," explained Shiro Nakamura. "I am very pleased that Nissan Design has organised this excellent programme to give students a real taste of the type of brief that we give to designers in Nissan. They will have gained real-world experience by creating a design in demanding circumstances.

"Such programmes serve to motivate and challenge tomorrow's car designers and the key to success for the students in this project is understanding customer needs, trends and tastes 10 years from now."

Nissan Design Europe opened its headquarters in Paddington, London on 22 January, 2003. The facility is responsible for leading the development of the next generation of Nissan cars in Europe and beyond and is home to a large team of international designers, modellers and support staff. It plays a strategically important role in Nissan's creative network comprising six design studios worldwide.

In Europe, Nissan employs approximately 12,000 people in its design, research and development, manufacturing, logistics, and sales and marketing operations. Last year, the company produced a total of 508,901 vehicles in its British and Spanish plants and sold 540,954 vehicles in Europe. Nissan Europe's headquarters is based in Trappes (Paris), France.

17/03/06

Nissan Celebrates 3 Million Cars Exported from UK

Tony Blair and Carlos Ghosn congratulate Sunderland workforce on latest model

Sunderland, UK (March 17, 2006) the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, and Nissan President and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, visited the North East of England to celebrate the Nissan Sunderland plant producing more than 3 million cars for export.

Since production began in 1986, more than 4.1 million cars have rolled off the line. Around 75% of the plant's production has been exported to more than 45 markets around the world. Nissan has been the biggest exporter of cars from the UK for the last six consecutive years.

Tony Blair paid tribute to the Nissan workforce for demonstrating that the UK manufacturing industry can compete on the global stage. He also congratulated staff on the successful launch of their newest model, the NOTE.

The NOTE compact family car began production in January, with already more than 18,000 units produced. Nissan is targeting annual sales of around 90,000 units, 80% of which will be for export.

Tony Blair said: "Last time I visited this plant, it was to witness the successful launch of the Nissan Micra. I'm delighted to be here again today to see yet another new model coming off the production line.

"The global car market is extremely challenging, and I applaud everyone here for proving that the UK manufacturing sector has the ability to compete at the very highest level."

The NOTE joins the Micra, Micra C+C (launched in November 2005), Almera and Primera as the fifth model being built at Sunderland. From December 2006, an all-new crossover vehicle based on the Qashqai concept, will also be produced at the factory.

The introduction of the new crossover will complete one of the busiest periods in the Sunderland plant's 22-year history. By December, the 4,400-strong workforce will have achieved three new product launches in just 16 months.

In addition to creating 400 new jobs, these three new models safeguard a further 2,000 jobs at the plant, as well as many more working for Nissan's supply base.

Representing over £221 million of direct investment at the plant, the new models will give Sunderland the potential - depending on market conditions - to produce around 400,000 units a year by 2007. In 2005, the plant produced 315,000 units.

"I am very proud of the achievements of the Sunderland workforce, which time and again has demonstrated its commitment to hard work, quality and productivity," said Carlos Ghosn. "The workforce at Sunderland has fully justified the £2.3 billion that has been invested in the plant since 1984, but the challenge to everyone in the car industry is continuous," continued Ghosn.

In Europe, Nissan employs approximately 12,000 people in its design, research and development, manufacturing, logistics, and sales and marketing operations. Last year, the company produced a total of 508,901 vehicles in its British and Spanish plants and sold 540,954 vehicles in Europe. Nissan Europe's headquarters is based in Trappes (Paris), France.

15/03/06

Nissan Develops Distance Control Assist System


Helps drivers control following distances



TOKYO (15 March, 2006) - In its ongoing efforts to improve traffic safety, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced the development of Distance Control Assist System, an electronic system that helps drivers control the distance between themselves and the vehicle in front.

The new system is especially useful in heavy traffic when frequent braking is required.

The system is able to determine the following distance of the driver, as well as the relative speed of both cars, using a radar sensor installed in the front bumper. If the driver releases the accelerator pedal or is not pressing the accelerator pedal, the system automatically applies the brakes. If the system determines that braking is required, an indicator will appear on the instrument panel and a buzzer will sound simultaneously. The accelerator pedal will then automatically move upwards to assist the driver in switching to the brakes.

The Distance Control Assist System is the latest innovation developed under Nissan's Safety Shield2 concept, and accident prevention and management approach based on the idea of "vehicles that help protect people".

14/03/06

Nissan Shows Pink Chic


Pink is the new black - according to Nissan. Following the success of the recent C+C TLC Tour in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer when Nissan covered its latest model in the charity's colours, the company is launching a limited edition Micra C+C in, yes, you've guessed it PINK.

During the tour which visited 13 cities between November 2005 and January 2006, Nissan was inundated with requests from fun loving motorists wanting to add a bit of colour to their drives. Please make a pink C+C … for real, they said. So Nissan has. On sale now and priced at £14,495, just 100 will be available making it rarer than a Chloe Paddington handbag. And arguably more useful.

Based on the 1.6 Sport, the C+C Pink features 16" graphite coloured alloys, manual air conditioning and alloy look interior trim in addition to Nissan's unique-in-class C-VIEW® electrically folding glass roof. The Karmann designed two-piece roof, christened Auto-Open Roof™, takes just 22 seconds to fold neatly away in the boot leaving you to enjoy the sunshine. Try asking that trick of a handbag. The icing on the cake is of course the oh-so-fashionable pink paint. A colour that's so exclusive you'll never have to worry about arriving in the car park to find someone wearing the same car.

08/03/06

Renrod Ltd Appoints New Board Member

Renrod Ltd (owner of the Platinum group of dealerships) is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Pulsford to their Board of Directors.

Mr Pulsford, who lives in Bath with his family, was invited to join the Renrod board in recognition of his achievements since joining the company. Mr Pulsford joined Renrod Ltd at their Platinum Nissan dealership near box in 1999 and worked his way up to Director, directly responsible for the Platinum Nissan operations.

Mr Pulsford said, "It was an honour to be asked to join the Board of Directors in recognition of my hard work and see my appointment as an exciting challenge. My main focus is to ensure the successful running of the Platinum Nissan dealerships in Bath and Trowbridge by delivering on customer satisfaction and managing a well run operation. "

Richard spent 15 years in the motor trade locally where he was a Sales Executive before joining Renrod Ltd as a Sales Executive at the Box (Nr. Bath) based Platinum Nissan dealership. Richard rose to Sales Manager and then to General Manager / Dealer Principal of the dealership. Richard's responsibilities have included overseeing the successful start up of the new Platinum Nissan dealership in Trowbridge at the Platinum Motor Park at North Bradley.

His new role as a Director involves overseeing the day to day running of the two Platinum Nissan dealerships, in Box and Trowbridge. He is responsible for the smooth running of the operations, from working with the Nissan GB field team to managing staff and overseeing stock, to customer satisfaction, health and safety and coordinating all aspects of the business to ensure continual improvement and success.

Rodney Cuff, Managing Director of Renrod Ltd said, "We're delighted to appoint Richard to our Board of Directors and have done so in recognition of his contribution to the success of the company. We look forward to working with Richard on developing the businesses further, and achieving continued success.

For further information visit www.renrodmg.co.uk / www.platinumnissan.co.uk

03/03/06

Revized Z-Line Figures


Prices for the 2006 350Z which is orderable now will start at £26,300. That's £800 more than the sell out 2005 version but new Z fans will be getting £1700 worth of extra spec including 18-inch RAYS lightweight alloy wheels (previously a £1000 option), bi-xenon headlights, and another 20PS of heart stirring power.

From the outside, the changes are intentionally hard to spot … unless the car's lights are on. On main beam, the headlights are now xenon fuelled and the side lights distinctive LEDs. And nobody will miss the LED tail-lights particularly when the Z's Brembo brakes are on. Inside Nissan has listened to customer comments and repositioned some switchgear, improved comfort without sacrificing the Z's sports car feel, and changed some materials to give the interior even higher perceived quality to match its inherent strength. All Coupes also gain standard Bluetooth phone connectivity and there's now the option of factory fitted DVD Europe-wide satnav. But best of all, there's more under bonnet power - up from 280PS to a serious 300PS giving more bite to match the Z's characteristic exhaust howl.

With prices starting at £26,300 for standard coupe and £1500 more for the Roadster with electric folding roof, the 350Z remains fantastic value for money compared to its rivals. As with the original 350Z, the 2006 version is available with a GT Pack for £2500 - it adds electric, heated leather seats, 240W Bose stereo system with 6-CD in-dash changer, and cruise control. So price-wise the ultimate 2006 is the Roadster GT Pack at £30,300. Supply will be no less limited meaning residual values will stay impressively high. And because the exterior changes are so subtle, current owners' investments should remain strong.

Other options available on the revised range include a new factory fitted DVD satellite navigation system first seen on the all-new Pathfinder and more recently on the 2006 X-TRAIL. Priced at £1200, the new system features improved processor graphics, while the wide screen display can be split to show map settings and realistic visual representations of the road ahead. The Birdview™ satellite navigation system also includes Traffic Message Channel (TMC) offering alternative routes to beat the jams.

GT Pack customers can choose to brighten up their interior by adding Alezan Orange leather interior for £350. If your GT Pack is a Roadster, the Alezan option also brings netted seat centres. And also for the Roadster, there's the option of a blue roof at no extra cost.

At a glance:

o More power from higher revving engine (300PS and 6400rpm max)
o Refreshed exterior with:
o Restyled front end
o New look headlamps and LED tail-lamps
o Improved interior with:
o Repositioned switchgear
o Soft-feel materials
o Greater storage opportunities
o Factory-fitted satellite navigation option
o Standard Bluetooth phone integration (coupé only)
o Two new colours - Universal Silver and a new black metallic

Customers can place orders for the 350Z at Platinum Nissan in Trowbridge and Box now and deliveries will start in April.

Version Body Basic Price VAT On the road price
350Z Coupe £22,210.21 £3886.79 £26,300
350Z GT Pack Coupe £24,337.87 £4259.13 £28,800
350Z Roadster £23,486.81 £4110.19 £27,800
350Z GT Pack Roadster £25,614.47 £4482.53 £30,300

28/02/06

In-Car DVD from the Comfort of Your Armchair


Anyone buying a Micra rear seat DVD entertainment system will get 12 months free subscription to the online DVD rental service from Screenselect. But that's not all. In addition, Nissan is also offering a saving of £125 off the retail price of the entertainment system, so customers will pay just £415. Not a bad price to pay for peace and quiet in the back of the car and the latest movies without having to leave the house.

The Micra DVD entertainment system, which can be fitted to every Micra in the range from the city-loving Urbis to the sporty 160SR, comes complete with multi-region DVD player which is mounted in the glovebox, a single screen mounted between the two front seats and most important, two sets of headphones. A must for keeping the kids happy and the car quiet for mum and dad.

The deal with Screenselect not only gives customers a 12 month subscription, but the option of a 2 disc package which allows them to have any 2 DVDs at any one time. This 2 disc offer is exclusive to Nissan. Customers simply create their personal viewing list online and the films will arrive on their door mat. When they've watched them, simply pop them in the pre-paid envelope and into the post box. As soon as each film is returned, the next one, or two for Micra customers, will be sent out. Simple.

13/02/06

Nissan at the Geneva Motor Show - Access All Areas


The 2006 Geneva Motor Show plays host to two completely different show cars from Nissan… but they share one common theme: accessibility. Whether it's negotiating the crowded city or exploring the wild, Nissan's cars of the future promise to SHIFT_access.

"When creating these two concepts, our objective was to explore the ultimate diversity of consumer needs. And, in common with the entire Nissan range, they have been created to provide drivers with an experience that goes beyond mere transportation. Both are built on Nissan's key strengths: the capability to scrutinise specific consumer needs and the power to deliver the best of technology." Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Limited

At a glance

" Two distinctly different show cars…
" Terranaut, a mobile laboratory for explorers
" Pivo, a zero emissions city car for commuters
" … but with many similarities, including…
" Three seats
" Spherical styling features
" Positive interface between man and environment
" Ease of ingress and egress


At first glance, Nissan's two show cars for Geneva couldn't be more dissimilar. One is a diminutive yet innovative electric city car, the other a substantial four-wheel drive explorer.

Yet the city-orientated Pivo and the go-anywhere Terranaut are linked by far more than the Nissan badges on their noses.

To the team of designers and planners who conceived it, both the metropolis and the most remote, unconquered areas of the globe are "fields for human adventures".

Although produced for two diametrically opposed habitats and physically at either extreme of car design boundaries, Pivo and Terranaut share some key elements: both, for example, have three seats and both feature rotating spherical 'pods' as a central part of their respective overall designs.

But, above all, both have been created to enhance mankind's relationship with the world. The key idea for the planning and design team on both projects was: integration (in the environment, from the busy city, to the unexplored desert); seamless integration also in the daily life in terms of the optimised working space of Terranaut together with the ultra functional interior of Pivo. These extreme approaches are one way of exploring how to make the car interior a better place to be.

Crowded and polluted cities demand zero-emission vehicles that literally fit in to their surroundings. Pivo fulfils those requirements exactly thanks to its non-polluting electric power and its compact dimensions, which allow it to be threaded through the smallest gaps. And its remarkable rotating cabin - it swivels through a full 360 degrees - coupled with advanced drive-by-wire technology allows its user to drive in and out of parking slots without ever having to select reverse gear.

Terranaut, too, answers its design brief to the letter. Built for wild, often unfriendly environments, Terranaut has outstanding 4x4 capabilities to ensure it can go anywhere. Central to its role is the on-board laboratory housed in a rotating sphere to the rear of the vehicle where scientific workstations permit analysis of biological, geological and chemical samples in the field.

"Pivo and Terranaut embody everything Nissan is doing for the future. As well as showcasing many advanced technical solutions, both vehicles underline Nissan's understanding of a changing world and the role the car will play in our lives in the years to come," said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President Design, Nissan Motor Limited.

This approach at both ends of the cars line-up is exploring the whole diversity of consumer needs. In exploring these extremes, Nissan intends to better understand the lives of the people who buy its cars and that in turn will lead to better products in Nissan's range.

TERRANAUT

Terranaut shows how cars of the future could interact with the world in which we live. As imposing as Pivo is small, Terranaut is a manned, mobile science laboratory - earth's equivalent of a lunar rover.

"The Terranaut will protect its occupants from the extremes of the world's environments and, on the other hand, allow you to be part of it." François Bancon, General Manager, Motor-Show, Exploratory & Advanced Product Planning, Nissan Motor Limited.

Measuring 4,965mm from stem to stern, the advanced four-wheel drive explorer stands 2,150mm tall and is 2,100mm wide. These impressive external dimensions provide Terranaut with the interior space needed to house its laboratory equipment and scientist.

A creation of London-based Nissan Design Europe, the overriding theme behind the concept is one of function. Project leader Felipe Roo Clefas, Assistant Chief Designer, NDE, says: "Terranaut has been designed for observation and communication in all four corners of the world."

Terranaut is very much a statement about how the 4x4 can help us discover more about our world.

Capable of being driven deep into the Outback, to the middle of the desert or to the frozen wastes of the tundra, Terranaut is an observation and communications centre as well as being a mobile science lab. Satellite information systems allow data access and transfer all over the planet.

Built to house three operators - a pilot, co-pilot and lab technician/scientist - Terranaut has enough refrigerated storage space to house food, water and other provisions for stays of upwards of a week out in the field. Lightweight tents, sleeping bags built for extreme conditions and simple cooking facilities are carried in storage compartments in the doors.

The overall exterior design conforms to the expectations of a rugged 4x4, with short overhangs front and rear and the ample ground clearance needed to traverse inhospitable terrain. Terranaut has the traditional face of a Nissan 4x4, with its bold 'balanced angle strut' grille flanked on either side by horizontal headlamps. The difference lies in the detail…

To accommodate the laboratory area within the cabin, the co-pilot's side of the car has just one door, while the other side has a pair of swing doors and no central B-pillar. By hinging the doors at the front and rear respectively, ingress and egress is made easy: an important consideration when the occupants are likely to be wearing many layers of protective clothing.

With both doors open, virtually the entire side of the car becomes an entrance to the cabin while a step built in to the substantial sill folds down to ease access still further.

There's no conventional door at the back of Terranaut, either. Instead, centrally placed in the rear is an integrated air lock drawer into which the pilot or co-pilot outside the vehicle can place samples for clinical analysis by the scientist left inside the cabin.

As well as providing excellent visibility out of the vehicle, the deep rear window also houses external displays and touch screens for data access by those outside the vehicle. Excellent all-round visibility is also afforded by the deep side and front windows, while much of the roof area above the two front seats is glazed, too. All the glass is highly reflective thus maintaining a controlled atmosphere within the cabin by reflecting external light sources, whether it be from the sun or glare from snow and ice.

Even the body paintwork takes into consideration the often hostile environments in which Terranaut is likely to find itself - taking its lead from the aircraft industry, the paint can withstand extremes of temperature. The off-white finish contrasts dramatically with the almost mirror-finish bronze glasshouse, the overall effect being reminiscent of a spacecraft.

Huge wheels are covered by tyres specially constructed for Terranaut by Goodyear. Puncture proof, they function as conventional road tyres when the vehicle is being driven on metalled roads but, by changing air pressure, transform themselves into chunky off-road tyres.

The exterior of Terranaut is dominated, however, by a glass dome over the rear portion of the roof and which marks the uppermost element of Terranaut's science laboratory. As well as providing a window on the world for the occupants inside, the sphere doubles as an escape hatch should the ground beneath the vehicle give way for any reason.

Other features to be found on the roof are a circular housing for satellite positioning, transmitting and scanning equipment and a telescopic arm onto which a day/night view camera can be mounted. When fully extended this can transmit 360-degree 'helicopter view' images from around Terranaut to the vehicle itself and to expedition headquarters at all hours of the night and day.

Inside the vehicle, the spherical science laboratory dominates the entire cabin area behind the two front seats. A single revolving seat with an integrated computer keyboard is situated beneath the glass roof dome and gives the scientist complete 360-degree access to the various workstations found in Terranaut.

The laboratory also incorporates a hemispherical display in front of the revolving seat which acts as a computer screen and data display panel - created in collaboration with Elumens - and onto which can also be relayed images transmitted from the cameras attached to the vehicle. Images and data can be downloaded to both computer storage systems and to an on-board high definition printer.

Although designed as a mobile laboratory, NDE's project team of six designers has ensured the vehicle provides a welcoming habitat for the three-man Terranaut team. While functional materials have been used extensively inside the cabin - the totally flat floor, for example, has an easy-to-clean rubberised covering - all surfaces with which the occupants are likely to come into contact feature soft-touch materials.

Touch pads used to open the doors electrically are covered with a tactile silicon finish while the seats, which all feature air vents in the base and backrests feature 'breathing' fabrics. Colours chosen mix practical laboratory greys with warm beige and brown shades to bring a human touch to what is essentially a scientific environment.

Reflecting the sorts of samples that might be brought into the laboratory for analysis, the design team have adopted the hexagon - the geometric shape of one of the seven crystal systems - as a styling feature. The light clusters, front and rear, are all hexagonal while the jewel-like lights themselves appear to be actual gemstones.

Raised hexagonal sections on the flooring provide extra grip inside the cabin, while even the two sides of the dashboard and the centre console between pilot and co-pilot adopt the six-sided theme.

Designer Felipe Roo Clefas says: "Terranaut is very much a statement about how the 4x4 can help us discover more about our world."

"At first glance it might appear that Pivo and Terranaut have little in common," says Carlos Tavares, "but the philosophy behind them both proves otherwise. For both Pivo and Terranaut mix advanced engineering with imagination. As a result both SHIFT_ access… and that's something Nissan's inspired designers and product planners will continue to do."

We would like to thank the following supplier companies: Seiren, Vimo, Textile Bounding, Alveo, Trêves, Guilford, Technicoat and BASF.

PIVO

It might be at the other end of the scale, but Pivo, which was first seen at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, examines the future potential of the electric vehicle in the city environment. Pivo is powered by a Nissan-developed high performance Compact Lithium-ion battery and Nissan's own electric Super Motor.

Because the lithium-ion battery is flat it occupies much less space and is lighter than a conventional cylindrical cell. Further weight saving considerations mean Pivo uses two compact Super Motors - one on either axle - rather than having one motor within each wheel. Each Super Motor delivers power to two drive shafts, each of which can be controlled independently to permit efficient distribution of torque to all four wheels.

As a result, Nissan's design team in Japan has been able to develop an extremely compact body to give Pivo the perfect footprint for the city. Although just 2,700mm from bumper to bumper, Pivo will seat three in comfort, with the driver placed centrally and ahead of the two passengers in the rear of the cabin. Thanks to its narrow width - just 1,600mm - it can be squeezed down busy streets and parked almost anywhere with ease.

But Pivo's pièce de résistance lies in its cabin which, as its names implies, pivots through 360 degrees and means you'll never have to reverse again: Pivo can be driven straight into a parking slot and, once the body has been swivelled around to face the opposite direction, driven straight out again.

It also means an end to reversing centimetre by centimetre when parallel parking between two obstacles: turning the cabin around to face the direction of travel means the driver doesn't have to manoeuvre when looking over his shoulder or trying to judge distances in a mirror. Because the platform has a longitudinally symmetrical design the driver's perception of the car's extremities doesn't change even when the cabin is rotated through 180 degrees.

The egg-shaped revolving body has other benefits. The tall, electrically-powered sliding doors, for example, make ingress and egress easy with little or no chance for bumped heads while 'see-through' pillars and Nissan's Around View Monitor mean that blind spots are all but eliminated.

Cameras mounted on the outside of each A-pillar relay an accurate picture of the surroundings to screens within the pillars turning them into virtual windows. More cameras mounted at both ends and on both sides of the car allows the Around View Monitor to generate a 360-degree view of the car's surroundings on a dashboard monitor.

An innovative image processing technique converts these images into a single bird's-eye view.

The revolving body has been made possible only by wholesale adoption of Nissan's multiple drive-by-wire technologies. Embracing steer-by-wire, brake-by-wire and shift-by-wire there are no mechanical linkages between body and chassis. Instead all the car's functions are operated by electronic signals at the same time as providing more space inside the cabin. And, as a further bonus, drive-by-wire systems mean less weight and fewer mechanical parts.

More advanced electronic systems look after the driver's information needs. A dash-mounted Infrared (IR) Commander allows the driver to operate navigation and audio systems without having to take an eye off the road ahead or to fumble for fiddly controls.

Using an infrared camera and Nissan's 'Magic 4' concept, all the driver needs to do is point fingers at the IR Commander to choose from any one of four items on the menu: item three requires three fingers, and so on. Want the music louder? Just motion upwards with your hand.

Vital information is projected onto the windscreen to prevent the driver from having to take his eyes off the road to check instrument readings, while Pivo's Horizontal Display runs additional information along the bottom of the screen rather like movie subtitles. Advanced telematics mean the 'ticker-tape' display can pick up live signals broadcasted from nearby buildings.

All these state-of-the-art functions are housed in a futuristic yet friendly design. The headlamps, or 'eyes', on the front of the spherical cabin give Pivo a sociable face while recesses at the front and rear - or should that be front and front - of the platform are covered in soft materials to provide somewhere to sit when the car is parked.

"Pivo is not a far fetched flight of fancy but a serious look at what the city car of the future could look like and, more importantly, how it could interact with its environment," said Masato Inoue, Chief Designer, Nissan Motor Limited.

08/02/06

Two More Wins for the Nissan Navara


The Nissan Navara has won another two awards: 4x4 magazine has voted it 'Pick-up of the Year' and the Navara has also collected the title of 'Best Pick-Up and 4x4' in the 2006 Commercial Motor Testers' Choice Awards. These bring the trophy tally up to three. And the Navara has only been on sale five months.

When it was launched in August of last year, the Navara shot straight to the number one spot in the sales chart, and is still outselling all other pickups. Its 174ps engine makes it the most powerful in its class with no competitor coming close.

The judges at 4x4 magazine commented: "The all-new Navara has raised the pick-up game. Its increased dimensions have allowed for a roomier and more comfortable cabin, and is the most car-like drive ever. Adding to the driving pleasure is the 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine which is powerful, refined and economical too. The four-wheel drive is a state-of-the art, easy-select system, and off-road the Navara will go anywhere its close rivals can. But a winner also needs that little something extra, and visually the Navara is a stunner, with muscular haunches and a bold stance from nose to tail. Beauty and the beast in one."

Commercial Motor associate editor, Colin Barnett commented: "This year's winner stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of progress.

"The new Navara is unashamedly geared towards the 'lifestyle' market but underneath there's a superbly engineered product that raised the bar a couple of notches. It does what other pickups have previously failed to do by combining astonishing driving ability with near saloon-like refinement levels."

Prices for Navara start from £14,895, ex VAT.

07/02/06

Motoring Writers in the Pink for Charity

A group of brave motoring journalists road tested the new Nissan Micra C+C between November and the end of January 2006. What's brave or unusual about that you may ask? Well, the Micra C+Cs in question were pink and they were all raising money for Nissan's charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Nissan recently embarked on a tour of cities around the UK to launch the Micra C+C and Breakthrough's TLC - Touch, Look, Check - campaign. Specially painted pink Micra C+Cs toured the city centres handing out leaflets detailing the TLC campaign and inviting shoppers to enter a Text to Win competition, the prize being a Pink C+C.

Nissan's press team decided to get in on the act and wrapped four Micra C+Cs in pink and invited journalists to drive them and add to the charity pot. For every 250 miles covered, Nissan donated £250. For those not lucky (or lucky!) enough to bag one of the pink ones, Nissan also donated £10 for each traditionally coloured C+C booked for a road test.

A total of £8000 was raised - congratulations! But that wasn't enough for some journalists - many shook their collecting tins at friends, family members and colleagues and raised some extra funds. A special mention must go to Richard Tuckwell from Topgayer.com who covered a total of 1400 miles in just 3 days - well done Richard.

06/02/06

The Note Big Picture


Budding young artists are in with the chance of winning a home computer complete with art studio package when they go along to any Nissan dealership with their parents to view the new Nissan NOTE, which goes on sale on 1 March 2006.

Nissan's newest family car will be on display in dealerships across the UK from 10 February and to mark its launch, Nissan is looking for the most creative child under 12 who can draw themselves and their family on a NOTE "Big Adventure". The picture must feature the NOTE, which offers a host of ingenious features to make family journeys easier and more comfortable, including a sliding rear seat to either increase rear leg room or luggage space and a nine-litre glove box which can hold up to 12 drinks cans - a must for those long thirsty journeys.

All pictures will be displayed inside the dealerships until the end of the competition on 30 April. Each dealer will then pick a winner who will receive an art kit packed full of artists' materials and their picture will be entered into one of four regional heats at the end of May. The winner of each regional heat will then have their picture paraded around their local area on a large ad-van (advertising van) for a week.

The national winner will then be chosen and will walk away with an iMAC G5 computer with wireless keyboard and mouse, a digital camera and printer - everything they will need to set up a virtual studio at home.

Nissan's Marketing Director, Justin Elias said, "The NOTE has been designed with young families in mind, so we want to encourage parents to bring their children into the dealerships with them to try out the car from a child's perspective. While the children can try out the fold away tray tables in the rear, mum and dad can discover the other clever features and smart storage solutions including the split level luggage floor, the clever glove box which can be used to chill drinks and the secret storage under the passenger seat."

The NOTE is available with a choice of two petrol engines - 1.4- and 1.6-litre and a 1.5-litre common-rail diesel. Prices start from just £9995 for the 1.4-litre S.

30/01/06

Nissan at the Geneva Motor Show 2006


" Two new concept vehicles for Europe
" Full display of Nissan's six new vehicles


Nissan Europe will present two bold and innovative concept cars at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show.

The Geneva Motor Show represents the world premiere of the Nissan Terranaut, a 4x4 vehicle which is intended for explorers and those customers with a spirit of adventure who want to travel to the extreme corners of the globe. While, at the other extreme is the Pivo battery-powered city car, first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2005, which has been designed to serve customers who want freedom and mobility in the busiest of urban environments.

The Terranaut was conceived to serve as a mobile working environment for scientists, geologists, archaeologists or other adventurers who travel to the most challenging environments on the planet either for their work - or pleasure.

Its cabin is designed to accommodate three people - a driver, a passenger and, in the rear, where a scientist or specialist is well served with a computer console, as well as communication and analysis equipment to support them in their work.

A creation of London-based Nissan Design Europe, the overriding theme behind the concept is one of function. Project leader Felipe Roo Clefas, Assistant Chief Designer, NDE, says: "Terranaut has been designed for observation and communication in all four corners of the world."

To accommodate the laboratory area within the cabin, the co-pilot's side of the car has just one door, while the other side has a pair of swing doors and no central B-pillar. By hinging the doors at the front and rear respectively, ingress and egress is made easy.

Nineteen-inch wheels are covered by tyres specially constructed for Terranaut by Goodyear. Puncture proof, they function as conventional road tyres when the vehicle is being driven on metalled roads but, by changing air pressure, transform themselves into chunky off-road tyres.

Inside the vehicle, the spherical science laboratory dominates the entire cabin area behind the two front seats. A single revolving seat with an integrated computer keyboard is situated beneath the glass roof dome and gives the scientist complete 360-degree access to the various workstations found in Terranaut.

At the other end of the scale, the Pivo examines the future potential of the electric vehicle in a city environment. It is powered by a Nissan-developed high performance Compact Lithium-ion battery and Nissan's own electric Super Motor.

Nissan's design team in Japan has been able to develop an extremely compact body to give Pivo the perfect footprint for the city. Although just 2,700mm from bumper to bumper, Pivo will seat three in comfort, with the driver placed centrally and ahead of the two passengers in the rear of the cabin. Thanks to its narrow width - just 1,600 mm - it can be squeezed down busy streets and parked almost anywhere with ease.

But Pivo's pièce de résistance lies in its cabin which, as its names implies, pivots through 360 degrees and means you'll never have to reverse again: Pivo can be driven straight into a parking slot and, once the body has been swivelled around to face the opposite direction, driven straight out again.

The egg-shaped revolving body has other benefits. The tall, electrically-powered sliding doors, for example, make ingress and egress easy with little or no chance for bumped heads while 'see-through' pillars and Nissan's Around View Monitor mean that blind spots are all but eliminated.

Cameras mounted on the outside of each A-pillar relay an accurate picture of the surroundings to screens within the pillars turning them into virtual windows. More cameras mounted at both ends and on both sides of the car allow the Around View Monitor to generate a 360-degree view of the car's surroundings on a dashboard monitor. An innovative image processing technique converts these images into a single bird's-eye view.

"When creating these two concepts, our objective was to explore the ultimate diversity of consumer needs. And, in common with the entire Nissan range, they have been created to provide drivers with an experience that goes beyond mere transportation. Both are built on Nissan's key strengths: the capability to scrutinise specific consumer needs and the power to deliver the best of technology," said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Limited.

In addition, the Nissan stand will display all six vehicles which have been launched in 2005: Murano, 350Z Roadster, Pathfinder SUV, Navara King and Double Cab pick ups and the Micra C+C. In addition, the NOTE, Nissan's new compact family car, will be on display just as sales start across Europe.

26/01/06

Micra Shifts Pounds for City Living


Take one Micra 1.2 S priced at £8730, add £500 worth of air conditioning and £325 of rear parking sensors, and you have a £9555 Micra. Or so you'd think. Instead you have a £7995 Micra 1.2 Urbis. And £1560 in your pocket.

The Micra Urbis will be available for the foreseeable future in four different versions: 1.2 three- and five-door with manual or automatic transmission. For automatic transmission, add £900. For five-doors, add £650. For electric front windows, air conditioning, rear parking sensors, a CD player, keyless entry, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, side airbags, rear sliding seat, and a 'Friendly' lighting system that allows you to leave your headlights on for 30 seconds after arriving home … add nothing.

Urbis may be Latin for 'city' but there's nothing extinct about the Micra's city loving design. Distinct, more like. Its standout styling was recently refreshed by Nissan's London design centre and incorporated upgrades to refinement and driving characteristics engineered in Nissan's Bedfordshire technical centre. An 80PS 1.2-litre engine gives 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle with manual transmission. And at a little over 3.7m long with rear parking sensors plus a 9.2m turning circle, the Sunderland built Micra is easily parked on-street or off. A height of 1.54m, though, gives plenty of headroom for big hair dos. Or a big head, for which you can be forgiven having saved £1560.

25/01/06

Best Sales Ever for Nissan 4x4s

Nissan sold more 4x4s in 2005 than in any other year in its 50 plus year history. 25,180 sales, compared to 21,292 in 2004, has led to a jump into the industry's second place, with only Land Rover selling more. With a total of six four-wheel drives in the range, from a compact SUV right up to a Pick-up truck, there's literally something for everyone. So it's no wonder that sales have shot through the roof.

Most successful is the multi award-winning X-TRAIL, Nissan's compact SUV. It's priced from £16,500 to £24,600 and offers a choice of four equipment levels and three engines. For the larger family, there's the Pathfinder SUV with a starting price of £24,500. Both employ Nissan's ALL MODE 4x4 system and are available with both petrol and diesel engines.

Then there's the Navara pick-up with a choice of King and Double Cabs. It's the most powerful vehicle in its class with 174PS and since it went on sale in August 2005 has out-sold every other pick-up in the same 4 month period. Ex-VAT prices start from £14,895.

If real mud-plugging is your game the Patrol is the one for you. It was the first 4x4 to be sold by Nissan over 50 years ago and the current incarnation is the most capable and comfortable yet. Rather more compact but almost as capable on the rough stuff is the venerable Terrano which is available in three-door or Van forms priced from £14,295 ex-VAT.

And last, but by no means least, there's the crossover Murano. It looks unlike anything else on the road and with more equipment than you can throw a stick at, the £29,995 price tag makes it amazingly good value.

Nissan was recently voted 2006 4x4 Maker of the Year by 4x4 & MPV Driver magazine.

20/01/06

Nissan X-TRAIL - There's Nothing Better

For the second year running, the Nissan X-TRAIL has been awarded "best compact 4x4" in the What Car? Car of the Year 2006 Awards, beating off competition from the Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage.

The prestigious awards were held last night in London, and Nissan's managing director, Bill Bosley, was there to collect the award from Mary Nightingale.

What Car's judges, said: "The X-TRAIL is one of the most adept cars in the class at making progress on the sticky stuff. Thanks to its sophisticated four-wheel drive system it can easily cope with mild cross-country work. High ground clearance also helps its cause. However, it's just as impressive on the asphalt as it is off it. Bends are tackled with composure, and quick, responsive steering adds to the fun. It rides well, too. Bumpy surfaces cause it few problems, and suspension clatter is far less prominent in the Nissan than in many of its 4x4 rivals.

"Above all the X-TRAIL represents fantastic value for money."

The X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines: 140PS 2.0-litre and 165PS 2.5-litre petrol, and a 136PS 2.2-litre common-rail diesel. Last year, a 4x2 version was introduced, sharing the same 2.0-petrol and 2.2-lire dCi engines with the award winning 4x4 range.

Nissan's latest addition to its family, the NOTE, was also commended in the Supermini category.

10/01/06

Noteable Prices from Nissan

The new Nissan NOTE is a dynamically different take on the conventional family hatchback. Exceptionally spacious, it was designed, engineered and will be manufactured in the UK. There'll be a choice of three engines and three equipment levels. Prices will start from a notable £9995 for the 1.4 S topping out at £13,395 for the 1.6 SVE automatic. All are orderable now for delivery in March (April for diesel).

Because Nissan has designed the NOTE for a customer group (primarily young families) rather than a specific market sector, it might need a little dimensional positioning. So at 4083mm long, the NOTE fits into Nissan's range above the Micra and is larger than the Modus, say, from Alliance partner Renault. It's shorter than a Volkswagen Golf overall but the NOTE's 2600mm wheelbase is actually longer than the German favourite. Why? To give maximum interior space versus exterior size.

One area where NOTE doesn't beat the established competition is in its overall height. NOTE is significantly lower than the Vauxhall Meriva, for example, (1555mm/1625mm respectively) to the benefit of NOTE's design and on-road dynamics. Clever packaging, however, means it offers just as much interior height.

The overall result is class leading passenger space matched by a flexible luggage compartment. NOTE has a sliding rear bench seat designed to increase leg room or load space as required: it moves up to 160mm. And it's so simple to use, male owners won't lose face by having to defer to the NOTE's handbook.

The load area is a lesson in design versatility. With the rear seats in place, there's a minimum of 280 litres of load space available. But there's more. The load area has a false floor, covered by a split luggage board on all but the base model. This is also so simple to use that a child could do it. Or even the well fed dog it's been designed to carry.

Lifting one or other of the boards reveals a secret storage space beneath the boot floor ideal for stowing valuables out of sight. Slide the rear seat forward - a simple, one-handed operation either in the trunk or inside the cabin - and lowering the luggage board, the load area rises to 380 litres. Should extra space be needed for larger items, the boards can be removed altogether, raising total load space potential to 437 litres.

The boards are also reversible, with conventional carpet on one side and a waterproof covering on the other. When carrying wet or muddy items e.g. the dog, the interior of the car can be kept clean simply by reversing the boards and then wiping them down at journey's end.

More flexibility is provided by the front passenger seat which reclines to the horizontal and thus, in combination with the folded rear seats, allows objects as long as 2.4m to be carried - ideal for anyone with a passion for self-assembly shelving.

Rather easier to put together is the NOTE range. There are three equipment levels: S, SE and SVE. Prices start at £9995 for the 1.4 S with 88PS. If you want to step up to 1.6 110PS power, it's another £700. For those who'd rather do diesel, the 1.5dCi 86PS engine adds £1000. Finally, automatic transmission is available for £700 on top of the price of the 1.6 S. And these engine premiums are carried across the SE and SVE, too, except you can't have a 1.4 SVE. Sorry.

The NOTE S comes with anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and a quartet of airbags. It also gets a CD player, front electric windows, remote central locking, flat reclining front passenger seat, friendly lighting system with battery save, a nine litre glovebox, passenger airbag cut-off switch, Isofix childseat mounting points and the sliding rear seat. Air conditioning can be added for £600.

The SE adds the air conditioning which includes cooling vents for the glovebox, another two airbags, 15" alloy wheels, the split level luggage floor called Flexi-Board in Nissan-speak, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, rear electric windows, rear cabin lights, a centre armrest for the driver, expandable front seatback mounted pockets and foldaway tray tables for the kids, a six speaker stereo for everyone and extra colour-coding for the body. Not a bad stash for £1000.

Then for another £1000, the SVE's mirrors electrically fold, the alloys grow to 16", the air conditioning gets upgraded to electronic climate control, electronic stability programme becomes standard (except on automatic models) as does part leather upholstery, and the SVE's headlights and wipers will come on automatically. So easy. Oh, and the rear passenger windows are dark tinted - it's a feature much loved by publicity shy teenagers, according to Nissan's research.

NOTE will deliver dynamically for mums and dads who enjoy their driving. The structure is 25 per cent stiffer than Micra and roll stiffness has been increased by 19 per cent. The chassis, which features MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam behind, has been fine tuned by Nissan's technical centre in Cranfield, UK. Springs, dampers and suspension bushes have all been specially tuned for Europe.

This has resulted in a stiffer front anti-roll bar and the adoption of ripple control shock absorbers and rebound spring - features normally found in higher segment vehicles - which is key for good ride comfort. Rear suspension stiffness, however, has been reduced by 8 per cent to ensure ride quality is not compromised.

"NOTE is a significant car for Nissan. It fulfils all the practical needs of a busy young family, but also delivers a genuinely dynamic driving experience to match its individual looks. NOTE is a segment-busting non-conformist designed to appeal to buyers for whom traditional family segment cars are just too conservative. It offers genuine choice without compromise." So says Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe.

Those individual looks were hinted at by the TONE show car displayed at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Indeed NOTE incorporates styling cues from other Nissan design studies and production cars. The front - which marks the first appearance of Nissan's new corporate grille for a European product - continues Nissan's design trend of bold headlamp treatment. Think Murano with a Micra twist.

NOTE incorporates an elongated version of Nissan's signature arched roof-line. The triangular rear side windows echo those seen on Murano, and the tailgate has a hint of X-TRAIL. But the dramatic boomerang tail-lights which link the roof line with the tailgate have only been seen before on the Qashqai crossover concept shown at the 2004 Geneva Show. Unfortunately for the dog, they don't detach.

09/01/06

Nissan 350z Scoops First Award of 2006

The acclaimed Nissan 350Z has picked up its first award of 2006, collecting the Coupé of the Year trophy in the inaugural Test Drive Car of the Year awards, announced in the February issue (on sale now).

Beating off competition from the Mazda RX-8 and the Hyundai Coupé, the 350Z was praised by Test Drive for its looks inside and out and of course, its performance.

Describing why the 350Z romped home with the coupé crown, Test Drive explained, "The Nissan looks every inch the tyre-shredding muscle car it is. Looks can deceive but not this time. This coupé has the performance to back up every sharp arc, hungry air-intake and bulging wheelarch.

"Few cars truly celebrate the driving experience as enthusiastically as the Z. It's definitely not for those who want a coupé with a gentle touch."

Since its launch, back in October 2003, the 350Z has been consistently collecting awards and praise from all areas of the media including Top Gear Magazine Car of the Year in 2004 and FHM Magazine Car of the Year in 2005.

A revised version of the 350Z will go on sale in spring this year with more power from a higher revving engine (300PS and 7000 rpm max), a refreshed exterior with restyled front end and new look headlamps and LED tail-lamps. The interior is also improved with repositioned switchgear, soft-feel materials, greater storage opportunities, factory-fitted navigation option, speed dependent power steering and standard Bluetooth phone integration (coupé only)

06/01/06

All-New X-TRAIL FCV Approved for Road Testing, Leasing in Japan


TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, has received approval from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to begin public road testing and leasing of its latest high-pressure, hydrogen-powered X-TRAIL fuel cell vehicle (FCV).

The latest sport utility FCV is powered by a Nissan-developed fuel cell stack that is about 60% smaller compared with the previous stack on the 2003 FCV model. Despite its compact size, the new stack has a power generation capacity of 90kW, an improvement of more than 40% compared with the 2003 stack, giving the all-new FCV a top speed of 150 km/h. The 2003 model has a top speed of 145 km/h.

The FCV is also equipped with a compact, 35MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder whose capacity has been reduced by 15%. However, thanks to a more improved fuel cell system, the FCV's cruising range has been expanded to more than 370 km compared with about 350 km in the previous model.

Separately, Nissan also announced it has also developed an X-TRAIL FCV equipped with a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder and a cruising range of more than 500 km, about 1.4 times that of the 2005 model. Nissan plans to test the vehicle on public roads in Canada in February 2006 and in other locations when compatible hydrogen stations are available.

Nissan has been working on FCV development since 1996. In addition to the design and engineering work conducted in Japan, extensive testing and development has been conducted in other markets, most notably the United States, where Nissan is a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). Nissan FCV activities in the US have focused on testing and demonstration work since 2000.

06/01/06

New Technician for Platinum Nissan

Renrod Ltd (owner of the Platinum group of dealerships) is delighted to
announce the appointment of Nigel Symonds AMIMI (Associated Member of the
Institute of Motor Industry) to their team.

Mr Symonds, who lives in Frome with his wife, has joined Platinum Nissan at
the Platinum Motor Park in Trowbridge as a Technician.

With extensive experience and training, Nigel started his motor trade career
in 1977 in Bath. He was there for 5 years, completing his apprenticeship, before moving to Renrod Ltd in 1981 as a technician at Westward Motors on the Bear Flat. Mr Symonds then progressed to Frome Garages (now Platinum Vauxhall) in 1987 as Foreman where he stayed until 2001 before moving to FJ Chalke in Warminster. He stayed with FJ Chalke until they relocated the Warminster branch, when he was delighted to rejoin Renrod Limited at the new Platinum Nissan site in Trowbridge.

In addition to his AMIMI status, Nigel reached High Tech technician level in
2004, which means that he has achieved the highest accreditation with
Nissan. Focusing on servicing and repairs, Nigel's responsibilities include
ensuring a high level of customer care for new and existing customers. His skills allow him to work on both cars and light commercials, owned by private individuals, local businesses and fleet management companies.

Mr Symonds said, "I am very ambitions in my current role and am aiming to
progress through to management level. I hope to see some of my old
customers from the Warminster area and look forward to working with them as
well as Platinum's current customer base."

Steve Mawby, Service Manager for Platinum Nissan said, "We are delighted to
have Nigel as part of the team. The business at the dealership is growing
rapidly and we are pleased to have a technician with such experience and
qualifications."

Platinum Nissan in Trowbridge is located at the Platinum Motor Park close to North Bradley - a state-of-the-art motor park facility which creates a gateway to Wiltshire's
county town of Trowbridge. The multi-million pound 5.25-acre site represents the Nissan, Vauxhall, Toyota and Renault brands.

Opened at the end of December 2004 and now fully operational, four franchise
trained teams are in place to help and advise customers in choosing their
next vehicle, or for assisting in the all important aftercare of service,
parts and bodyshop.

For further information visit www.renrodmg.co.uk / http://www.platinumnissan.co.uk/

28/12/05

Nissan URGE Brings Video Game Spirit to Life With Agile Performance, Spare Styling And Advanced Technology

- Nissan Design America, Inc. Creates Adventurous, Affordable Sports Car Concept for the Echo Boomer Generation -


It seems fitting that one of the key sources of inspiration for the dramatic new Nissan URGE concept, a spare, technology-heavy, performance-oriented sports car design exercise, would be found online - in the results of an Internet survey of approximately 2,000 young car and gaming enthusiasts. Asked what they would ideally want in a car, the top responses were "performance" and "technology".

"Not surprisingly, most of the young, primarily male, respondents to our survey said that they want a small, fun-to-drive sports car that can incorporate the technology products that they use on a daily basis, such as cell phones, mp3 players and game consoles," said Bruce Campbell, vice president, design, Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA), La Jolla, Calif. "We also learned that these young adults are highly social - they're looking for vehicles with the flexibility to take along a couple of friends. They also don't want a car to dominate their social lives or budgets, so affordability is a definite issue."

URGE, which makes its world debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2006, addresses all of these issues. In creating the URGE concept, the designers at NDA, kept these core survey results in mind - while adding a few ideas of their own. URGE emerged as a minimalist sports car - pure Nissan in its look, innovative features, spirited performance and, certainly, its sports car heritage.

URGE is also infused with a gamer's sense of adventure - with the bare, exposed look and driving experience of a high performance motorcycle, but balanced with a high level of safety features.

"We want URGE to replicate the raw motorcycle experience as much as possible, with the exposed engine, door panel cutouts and open top. Motorcycles are exhilarating to drive and we want this car to feel the same way," said Campbell. "At the same time, we want parents to think of this car as safe, which, for example, led us to include the integrated cage structure and visible passenger's side airbag. URGE, like its target buyers, has a foot in each world, adventure and reality."

The front-engine, rear-wheel drive URGE is designed to be lightweight - with a target weight of just 2,400 pounds - and active. Its performance is expressed in quickness and agility, rather than brute horsepower and top-end acceleration. Its wheelbase is the same length as Nissan's popular 350Z, but URGE's unique, open body is a full 16 inches shorter than the Z® thanks to its short front and rear overhangs.

URGE utilises a quick, high-revving, small-displacement engine, 6-speed manual sequential (motorcycle-style) gearbox and 350Z-style quick-stopping Brembo® brake system. The wheels are a lightweight 9-spoke spun aluminium-alloy design, 19-inch front/20-inch rear, and the tyres are narrow Michelin (195/45R19 front, 225/35R20 rear) sizes, reinforcing the motorcycle-style look and performance feel.

"The performance targets for URGE, in keeping with an affordable, $20,000 production price target, dictate a more realistic approach to the parts list than say our 350Z or GT-R Proto," said Campbell.
"URGE's sense of exhilaration comes more from the exposed body and driving environment than costly components. It's a sports car for first-time car buyers. The Z®s and GT-Rs will come later in the buyers' lives."

URGE's bare, exposed exterior is highlighted by its cycle-style fenders and stripped away body panels. The special glass bonnet exposes the top of the engine, while the doors feature see-through cutouts.

The body is highlighted by an extensive aluminum "cage" structure, which includes an aluminium centre structure that runs from the engine bay to the interior centre console. The URGE exterior also features aluminum/composite construction and a collapsible, storable manually operated canvas top. The 4-bar hinge scissor doors are extra long for access to the rear seat. When the door release button is engaged, the glass panel of the unique door cutout slides up, allowing the occupant's legs to easily pass in or out.

"One of our other goals in the URGE design was to show off the cool material used in concept form - the aluminium foam in the doors, the perforated metal mesh interior panels, the lightweight exposed seat frames and the "Mirror Crystal" aluminium coloured body panels," said Campbell. "We're also proud of our solution to the limitations of a typical two-seat sports car with the hidden alpha seat."

URGE's unique third bucket seat is tucked behind the driver and passenger in a hidden compartment. When the cover, which is activated by the driver's cell phone, is down, URGE looks like a traditional sports car. When up, there's room for an additional passenger.

The URGE interior also features an F1-style steering wheel and a compact instrument panel with a driver information monitor, two side screens and a pair of docking stations for the driver's mp3 audio player and cell phone. The centre monitor can be switched between five customisable screens, including navigation system, climate controls, audio and suspension/performance tuning. The menus are scrollable using steering wheel-mounted controls.

"In keeping with the rapidly changing technology demands of our target buyers, URGE allows the driver to be in charge and to bring to the vehicle a high degree of personalisation. The navigation system is located in front of the driver, not the passenger, the driver's cell phone acts as Intelligent Key to start the vehicle. We provide the audio speakers, the owner provides the audio drivers," said Campbell.

Other URGE interior features include the racing-style lightweight mesh-and-leather bucket seats, billet aluminium centre console, perforated metal mesh-covered silicone foam instrument panel material, visible passenger-side airbag, and racing-style, durable rubber flooring.

Another unique feature of the URGE concept is its integrated gaming system. Powered by Xbox 360, when the driver wants to change to game mode, he or she disengages the driving controls and activates the game system. A screen folds down from the rearview mirror, the steering wheel and pedals become game controls, and the game's audio is played through the vehicle's audio system.
The URGE concept features a special Nissan-only demonstration edition of Project Gotham Racing 3.

"The Echo Boomer generation, born between roughly 1976 and 1996, has grown up on video games. By 2012, nearly all 87 million of them will be of driving age and they will be looking for much more from a car than simple transportation - entertainment, a social space, personalisation and flexibility," said Campbell. "The ability to park the car and activate the game system adds another dimension of entertainment beyond the pure driving pleasure of the URGE. Like its drivers, this vehicle is able to switch between the real world and video world whenever the URGE strikes."

15/12/05

Nissan Urge

Set to make its world debut in early January 2006 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the dynamic Nissan URGE concept. A pure, powerful sports car with motorcycle-inspired styling, the rear-wheel drive URGE features a quick, high-revving, small-displacement engine, 6-speed manual gearbox, brushed aluminium-alloy wheels, colour-infused aluminium body panels and a driver-oriented cockpit with an integrated Xbox 360 gaming system. It was created by Nissan Design America, Inc., La Jolla, Calif.

07/12/05

350Z: The Power Broker

It's only been on sale in Europe for two years, but time moves swiftly in a 350Z. The latest round of changes - which include a significant power boost, subtly revised looks and an improved interior - have been made to keep Nissan's global sports car at the top of its game.

"In two short years, the 350Z has established itself as one of the most focused, capable and thrilling sports cars available on the European market. Its popularity has also helped SHIFT_ Nissan's image: we are now rightly seen as a car maker with passion. And that's a position that can only get stronger with the latest coupé and Roadster versions of the Z-car."

Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Company

At a glance

o More power from higher revving engine (300PS and 7000 rpm max)
o Refreshed exterior with:
o Restyled front end
o New look headlamps and LED tail-lamps
o Improved interior with:
o Repositioned switchgear
o Soft-feel materials
o Greater storage opportunities
o Factory-fitted navigation option
o Speed dependent power steering
o Standard Bluetooth phone integration (coupé only)

SUMMARY


In little more than two years, the 350Z has won the hearts of performance car buyers right across Europe as a focused, no compromise sports car.

And now it's even better. The 2006 model year 350Z has subtly revised looks, a higher quality interior with better ergonomics and more storage space, revised power steering and a new factory fitted satellite navigation option. Best of all, there's more power - up from 280PS to a serious 300PS.

Although the car's top speed remains electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) the time taken for the 0-100 km/h sprint (0-62 mph) has fallen to just 5.8 seconds (6.3 for the Roadster).

The result underpins the 350Z's place as one of the world's best-loved sports cars. Since its launch in 2002, when sales were initially restricted to North America and Japan, the latest in a long line of Nissan 'Z-cars' has gone on to be offered in 95 countries world-wide. Around 160,000 examples have been sold globally to date.

It has also become hugely popular in Europe, where the 350Z coupé - specifically tuned for European tastes - arrived in late 2003 and was joined by the Roadster in March 2005. In just two years more than 12,500 examples of the iconic two-seater coupé have been sold to enthusiastic European owners with a further 2,500 sales accounted for by the critically acclaimed Roadster.

Today, the sales split between the two models is around 60/40 per cent in favour of the coupé, with UK buyers leading the charge ahead of German and French sports car fans.

Winning multi awards from Europe's top specialist magazines - and more than 40 awards globally - the 'Z-car' has catapulted Nissan right back into the heart of the ultra competitive sports car market, despite having been away from the segment for the best part of a decade.

Indeed, in just three years, global sales of the 350Z have already matched the total volume achieved by its predecessor, the 300ZX 'Z32' - a feat which took that model some 11 years to achieve.

In Europe, the sales story is even more impressive as the vast majority of cars - some 95 per cent in 2005 - have been sold in GT Pack guise, which adds electrically operated and heated leather seats, cruise control and a premium Bose-developed audio system to the mix. But then, even with the added cost of the GT Pack version, the 350Z remains one of the most affordable cars in its market segment.

Shinjiro Yukawa, Chief Product Specialist, said: "The Z is a car that is loved and sold not only in Japan but on a global scale. We take pride in the fact that Nissan is the only Japanese car maker that can offer such an international, world-class sports car.

"But a sports car's development does not end with its release and sale. We believe it is vital for a sports car to continue to evolve.

"We set high objectives and poured our enthusiasm into the new Z, as it was the symbol of Nissan's revival. But our work did not finish when it was released. Each year since its launch we have ensured the Z continues to shine, and the changes made for the latest evolution are no exception: the 350Z is a shining symbol of Nissan's enthusiasm and passion."

350Z IN DETAIL

Engine


At the heart of the 350Z lies a remarkable engine: the award-winning 3.5-litre V6 from Nissan's 'VQ' family. Voted one of the world's best engines for a record 11 years in a row by influential American journal Ward's Auto World magazine, the VQ engine is acclaimed across the world for its abundant power and smooth delivery.

But Nissan is not a company to rest on its laurels: the all-alloy, 24-valve twin cam unit, which was extensively redesigned for its role in the 350Z, has been further enhanced for the latest Z-car.

As befits a pure sports car, the changes target performance by enhancing the unit's free-revving ability. First seen in the limited edition 35th Anniversary edition, launched earlier this year, the engine revisions raise power from 280PS to 300PS and move the rev limit from 6,600 rpm to a heady 7,000 rpm. Peak power is now developed at 6,400 rpm, some 200 rpm higher than previously.

The improvements have been achieved by traditional methods. In other words, the changes have been implemented not by simply 'chipping' the engine's electronic brain but by careful re-engineering of a number of key components.

With the aim of raising the rev limit and boosting power, the major changes allow the engine to breath more freely thanks to a redesigned intake duct. Along with new pistons and a revised camshaft profile, the intake manifold has also been shortened and widened. The timing chain and oil pump have been redesigned and electronic exhaust valve timing control has been adopted.

A number of other components have been lightened and stiffened to reduce internal friction and to enable them to withstand higher engine speeds. As well as raising power output and rev limits, the engine is now fully compliant with Euro IV emission regulations.

The changes have brought about a slight reduction in peak torque, which has fallen from 363Nm to 353Nm at 4,800 rpm. However the revised torque curve is far flatter than before and provides greater torque reserves at higher rpm. Torque delivery in the original 350Z fell off comparatively steeply once that 4,800 rpm peak had been reached. In the latest evolution the torque curve remains more linear as engine speeds rise: at 6,000 rpm, for example, the new engine delivers a full 20 Nm more torque than its predecessor could achieve.

What the changes mean in practice is simple: sharper acceleration through the gears. With the rev limit raised to 7,000 rpm, for example, maximum speed in third gear increases from 142 km/h to 150 km/h (88 mph to 93 mph). The benchmark 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) figure has been cut from 5.9 seconds to 5.8 seconds (6.4 to 6.3 for the Roadster).

In all other respects, the engine and drivetrain remain as before. The engine is mounted at the front of the car but as far back in the chassis as possible for optimum weight distribution.

When stationary, the front to rear weight distribution is 53/47. The extra weight over the front wheels helps provide sharper turn in when cornering, but when accelerating out of a bend weight transference towards the rear helps to create an ideal 50/50 balance when it's needed most.

And, of course, drive is to the rear wheels. Power is transmitted rearwards via a short-throw close-ratio six-speed gearbox and ultra lightweight one-piece carbon fibre propshaft.

Chassis

Just one change has been made to the 350Z's race-bred multi-link chassis: the adoption of speed dependent power steering. Designed to give increased assistance at parking speeds for easier manoeuvrability, the electric system weights up at higher speeds to provide steering with more positive feel and greater feedback.

In all other respects, the new 350Z's chassis is as before. When developing the 350Z for Europe, the UK-based Nissan Technology Centre Europe (NTC-E) effected a number of small but significant refinements to the 350Z's chassis. The changes were designed to take into account Europe's generally higher average speeds - notably those sections of limit-free German Autobahn - and included subtle modifications to the car's aerodynamics and cooling as well as to the damping.

The result was greater straight-line stability and more positive handling than cars sold elsewhere in the globe. A firmer, yet still compliant, ride matched the car's sporting potential. Braking is also unchanged, the highly effective Brembo all-disc set-up also being retained for the new model. Special gold-coloured 'autographed' callipers - four piston at the front, two piston at the rear - are easily visible through lightweight 18inch alloy rims.

Exterior

The 350Z's purposeful and sporting silhouette remains largely unchanged for the 2006 model, though it does contrive to have a quite different look thanks to a subtly altered 'face'. A new front bumper incorporates a revised lower grille and a smoother profile with deeper scallops ahead of the front wheels for a more aggressive look.

Above the bumper, the headlamps have been altered considerably. Though the overall shape of the lamp assembly remains unchanged, new bi-xenon projector lamps, augmented by LED side lights, have been adopted. As well as enhancing night-time visibility, the new lamps have a greater 'technical' look which complements the engineering purity of the overall design of the car.

At the rear, the dramatic triangular tail-lights now feature no fewer than 42 LED lamps on either side. As well as enhancing the visual appeal, the use of fast acting LEDs for the brake lights means greater active safety.

Two new exterior colours have been added: Universal Silver and a new black metallic.

Interior

Engine aside, perhaps the biggest changes on the new 350Z can be found inside the cabin. Although the basic layout of the cockpit remains unchanged, a host of small changes have improved both the ergonomics and the quality of the interior.

But there's no need to worry that the cockpit remains anything other than totally driver focused: one look at the heavily angled trio of supplementary dials in the centre of the dashboard - providing a visual link to the original 240Z of the 1960s - is enough to be reassured on that front.

Inside, the changes centre on the practical with a new easier-to-assimilate meter design and revised locations for the seat heater and hazard warning switches.

Improved soft-feel materials for the C-Cluster and the centre console and all-new door panel inserts enhance the quality feel of the interior, while there is also a new seat cloth material on entry grade models. Aluminium surrounds for the air conditioning controls also add an extra touch of class.

Further practical touches include greater storage opportunities in the cockpit. There's a new magazine or map net added to the passenger footwell and a deep compartment on the centre console which now incorporates a cup holder and has a neat sliding lid.

The door pockets, now fully trimmed, are a more practical shape and incorporate an illuminated bottle holder. Other storage opportunities, such as the lidded compartment behind the seats, and which is large enough to hold a briefcase, remain.

Also new for the 2006 350Z is the availability of a factory-fitted satellite navigation system. The DVD-based system features improved processor graphics as recently introduced on the all-new Nissan Pathfinder. The wide screen display can be split to show map settings and realistic visual representations of the road ahead. The Birdview™ satellite navigation system also includes Traffic Message Channel (TMC) offering alternative routes to beat the jams. Finally, the 2006 350Z features standard Bluetooth phone integration on both grades (coupé only).

Prices will inevitably go up in line with the increased power and equipment levels. These will be announced closer to the car's April introduction. But the 350Z will remain fantastic value for money compared to its rivals.

"The changes we have made to the 2006 350Z are subtle but we are confident they will increase even further customer interest in this iconic car… especially if that customer is looking for exhilarating performance from a no-compromise sports car," said Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe.

05/12/05

Nissan Develops World's First Clear Paint that Repairs Scratches on Car Surfaces


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, has developed the world's first clear paint that repairs scratches on painted car surfaces, including scratches from car-washing machines, off-road driving and fingernails.

"Scratch Guard Coat" contains a newly developed, highly elastic resin that helps prevent scratches from affecting the inner layers of a car's painted surface. With "Scratch Guard Coat" a car's scratched surface will return to its original state anywhere from one day to a week, depending on temperature and the depth of the scratch.

The water-repellent paint also has a higher resistance to scratches compared with conventional clear paints. A vehicle painted with "Scratch Guard Coat" will have only one-fifth the abrasions caused by a car-washing machine compared with a car covered with conventional clear paint. Scratches from car-washing machines account for the majority of scratches to painted car surfaces.

"Scratch Guard Coat" is effective for about three years.

"Scratch Guard Coat" will be applied for the first time on an SUV model that is scheduled for a partial makeover in the near future. The paint will be applied to the car's chassis, bumpers and door mirrors, among other parts.

01/12/05

X-Trail Takes New Directions


Nissan's multi award winning X-TRAIL takes a new direction from January 2006. Three different directions in fact. The SE model is now available with a package of features designed to make a family journey as happy as possible. And the best selling Sport version bows out to be replaced by the Columbia, produced in association with the American sportswear company, while the SVE and T-spec models are merged into a new Aventura variant. All are available with a new Euro IV version of Nissan's popular dCi engine. Yet despite extra equipment, prices remain the same.

The 2006 X-TRAIL SE is available in three versions: 2.0-litre petrol two-wheel drive, and the 136PS 2.2-litre dCi engine (now Euro IV emissions compliant) with either two- or four-wheel drive. At £16,500, the X-TRAIL 2.0 SE 4x2 has already attracted customers from family estates and hatchbacks who like the style, practicality and driving position of a 4x4 but who don't need the all weather and terrain mobility. For 2006, full body coloured bumpers and exterior trim join the standard equipment list which also includes 16" alloy wheels, climate control air conditioning, twin cooled can holders and flexible rear folding seat with wipe clean luggage area.

Its diesel fuelled front-wheel drive sister, the dCi SE, is even cleaner for 2006. It's also a lot cleverer. On top of the 2.0 SE's equipment roster, the dCi gets a new Family Pack giving buyers looking at five seater MPVs like the Ford Focus C-Max a genuine, funkier, SUV alternative. Behind mum and dad's centre console there's now a toy box with a scroll top lid and 12V power socket for game power. The rear centre armrest learns a new trick transforming itself into a table with fold out sides and two pull out cupholders at the drop of a hat. And hopefully not a carton of Ribena. There are extra roof mounted rear reading lights and the rear headrests gain 'ears' for extra head support when it's time to turn the lights out. Finally the dCi SE gets its own unique seat trim. The most unusual bit, though, is its price: £18,100, the same as last year's less family friendly model.

For an extra £1500, Nissan's ALL MODE 4x4 can be added. It's an electronic system which automatically engages four-wheel drive the moment a loss of traction is detected. For on road use, this means an X-TRAIL is more likely to retain traction when the weather is at its coldest.. And for off road use, the addition of a LOCK facility means an X-TRAIL 4x4 will keep going long after other cars have turned back.

The popular X-TRAIL Sport is no more. For 2006, it's replaced with a new four-wheel drive version available with either the 2.2-litre dCi engine or a 2.5-litre 165PS petrol engine (with the option of automatic transmission) produced in association with the American sportswear company Columbia. Known for its rugged, high tech sports wear, the brand is a natural fit with the X-TRAIL. The Columbia has all the features of the out-going Sport (e.g. 17" alloys, large electric glass sunroof, six CD autochanger and roof spoiler) but gains Columbia trim, darkened rear side windows and electric folding door mirrors. Uniquely, all customers will also receive a Columbia jacket worth £300. Yet the Columbia carries the same price as last year's Sport: £20,000 for the 2.5 and £21,000 for the dCi. Nissan's Birdview™ DVD satellite navigation system, upgraded for 2006, is a £1200 option.

New for 2006 is the X-TRAIL Aventura which borrows its name from the best selling, Navara range topper. It replaces both the 2005 SVE and T-SPEC blending all the equipment of the former with almost all of the latter. So that means the SVE's leather upholstery with electrically adjustable and heated front seats are retained but the four-wheel drive Aventura gains electronic stability programme with active brake LSD, xenon headlamps with washers, 17" alloy wheels, and DVD satellite navigation system with traffic management channel over the SVE.

The Aventura's satellite navigation is now Nissan's latest Birdview™ system first introduced on the larger Pathfinder SUV. Its graphical presentation makes it the easiest of satellite navigation systems to understand. Just as clear is that all this extra kit, worth around £2000, comes for free. Yes, the Aventura is the same price as last year's SVE - the 2.5 is £22,000 and the 2.5 automatic or 2.2 dCi are both £23,000. All that's missing from the outgoing T-SPEC is its roof mounted, country illuminating, 'Safari' lamps with roof rails that are now a £350 option. Nissan leaves it up to the customer to supply the adventure.

30/11/05

Nissan Opens Roads….


Nissan has launched a new public website to increase awareness of technologies, such as satellite navigation, that are already available on Nissan's range of vehicles, and to showcase services that will be used in future products. www.nissan-openroad.co.uk has three main functions - an off-road course locator, a pan-European route planner and traffic information.

Rather than taking someone's word for it, Nissan has visited over 40 off-road courses to ensure they're worthy of entry on its website. By simply entering the area you wish to take your 4x4, the site will give you the location of the nearest off-road course, a description of the course, opening hours and how much it will cost. This section also has a photo gallery and video footage.

The route-planner not only calculates an itinerary to wherever your travels may take you in Europe, but it also gives weather forecasts/conditions and includes points of interest along the way.

And last, but no means least, traffic information. Naturally this does exactly what it says on the tin (or on your computer screen), and shows the areas to avoid enabling a clog-free journey.

24/11/05

A Win for the Nissan Navara


The Nissan Navara has been voted "Best Pick-Up" in the 2005 What Van? Awards, beating off stiff competition from the Toyota Hilux and eight-times winner Mitsubishi L200.

Since its launch in August of this year, Navara has been the top-selling pick-up every month, knocking Mitsubishi into second place. Out of the total number of pick-ups sold in September over 40% carried the Nissan badge.

What Van? editor Neil McIntee commented: "It's rare for What Van? 's band of hardened hacks to fall completely in love with a vehicle at first drive, but that's what happened with the Navara. It's one of the best-performing diesel 4x4 pick-ups we've ever encountered".

The award was presented at a ceremony in London on 24 November.

18/11/05

New Service Alerts Drivers to Presence of Children in Vicinity


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., NTT DATA Corporation, its communications Inc., Tokyu Security Co., Ltd., and TRENDY Corporation today announced that they have developed an expanded IC tag i-safety® Service that is expected to help reduce traffic accidents involving children, in addition to help protect them from crime.

The expanded service, which is still in the experimental stage, alerts drivers to the presence of children in the vicinity thanks to a voice-recording from an electronic information device in the car that warns: "Children nearby. Please be careful.". Signals from the child's IC tag and the driver's IC tag are picked up by "lookout spots" on the street, such as electricity poles and schoolyard gates, which are affixed with receivers to pick up such signals. The information is then transmitted back to the car's information device, triggering the voice-recording. The new system is expected to be especially useful for drivers in residential city areas where visibility is low due to blind intersections caused by hills, house walls, etc.

The expanded i-safety® Service will be tested in a two-square kilometre area in Aoba-ku, Yokohama City from this December until March next year.

i-safety® is the name for NTT Data's efforts to establish a safe, secure community environment using IT. The other services of the original i-safety® Service were developed by NTT DATA, its communications, Tokyu Security and TRENDY. The other services, which are still in the experimental phase as well, are as follows:

1. On-call service
A child can call for help by pushing an alarm button on their IC tag. This triggers an e-mail to the cellular phone or PC of the child's designated guardian notifying them of the child's whereabouts and instructing them to go to the child's rescue. In the meantime, the guardian can call police or other authorities for help.

2. Notification of arrival or departure of a child
When a child wearing the IC tag passes "lookout spots" on the street, the child's designated guardian is automatically notified via e-mail on his/her cellular phone or PC.

3. Location search
A guardian can ascertain the location of a child carrying an IC tag using the browse function of the Internet or cellular phone. The guardian can confirm not only where the child is, but also where the child has travelled that day.

The expanded service test will involve about 200 children, 200 designated guardians, 100 vehicles with onboard electronic devices for receiving IC tag signals, and 20 lookout spots.

Technical specifications:
*IC tag: Active type (2.4GHz band)
*Lookout spots: Wireless LAN-based transceiver stations (IEEE8.2.11b/g)
*Installation method: Connection to a cable television transmission channel

The five companies will expand the detection range of the IC tags and adjust the system to respond to increased car speeds based on the test results.

Role of each participating company:

NTT DATA: Overall coordination and system development

Nissan: Inspection of traffic safety services

its communications Inc: Provision of network infrastructure, including wireless LAN-based transceiver stations

TRENDY:
System development and operation of the system during the test period Tokyu Security: Provision of security guards to assist in community patrolling and to go to locations when there is trouble.

16/11/05

A New Marketing Director for Nissan


Nissan Motor (GB) Limited has appointed Justin Elias as Marketing Director to replace Paul Willcox who has been promoted to Vice President, Marketing at Nissan Europe. Justin joins Nissan from Renault where he is currently Commercial Operations Manager.

Justin, 38, graduated from St Andrews University with a 1st class MA in Management Studies and International Relations before joining Renault UK on a graduate management programme in 1991. He has held a variety of senior Sales and Marketing positions including field management, head office sales management, brand management (UK and internationally) and was also Marketing Director for Renault Asia Pacific, based in Tokyo. He has had three foreign postings to date (France twice and Japan) and speaks fluent French as well as German and some Japanese.

Commenting on his appointment, Justin said: "I am delighted to be joining Nissan at this exciting time in the company's history - I believe the brand has enormous potential to develop over the next few years on the back of a superb range and some very exciting product in the pipeline."

Nissan's Managing Director, Bill Bosley said: "It's great to have Justin aboard in time for the exciting year ahead when we will launch two important new products, Note and at the end of the year P32L. Justin's varied experience will be put to good use."

10/11/05

Nissan Wind Farm Spins into Action

The wind farm at Nissan Sunderland is now fully operational and has begun generating power for the plant.

Construction of the £2 million project began in September, when the first of six wind turbines was installed in the centre of the 750 acre site.

Now the switch-on has been successfully completed, and the turbines have begun generating what will amount to 5% of the car plant's annual energy requirement. They will also cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants supplying the car factory by up to 10,000 tonnes/year.

Planning permission for the farm was granted by Sunderland City Council following a highly detailed feasibility study. This took into consideration the views and opinions of local residents, as well as ensuring that the farm fully complies with strict noise level guidelines.

Nissan's wind farm is enclosed entirely within an industrial area on low-lying ground, minimising impact on the local environment. Barmston Pond, a wetland habitat next to and maintained by the Sunderland plant, will remain undisturbed as a safe haven and feeding ground for indigenous and migratory birds.

The site is also home to a protected species of great crested newts, so before installation began, Nissan obtained a licence from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and measures were taken to protect the newts' habitat both during and after the construction phase.

Nissan Senior Engineer, Graham Bagley, said: 'All six turbines are now turning and generating electricity for the plant. We're very pleased with the initial output.

'The farm is the first of its kind for any Nissan facility and is receiving great interest globally from within the Company.'

08/11/05

Nissan Reaches Higher Ground


Nissan is sponsoring Warren Miller's 57th UK film tour. Part action/adventure, part documentary, the film features well known athletes like Jeremy Bloom and Glen Plake on their never-ending search for new and thrilling ways to ride the snow.

Higher Ground, the latest in the Warren Miller series, is currently touring the UK and will be showing in 40 towns and cities. There's an obvious affinity between Nissan and Warren Miller as Nissan's 4x4 range is built to withstand extreme conditions - especially handy for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts who are in search of the ultimate experience. And the Warren Miller series of films has developed a cult following among winter sports enthusiasts.

Nissan's marketing communications manager, Andy Connell said: "We're delighted to be presenting the film on its tour of the UK. We feel our superb range of 4x4 vehicles sits well with this as they offer exactly what winter sports enthusiasts need - powerful and rugged vehicles capable of accessing the most extreme conditions, with space to take all the equipment and plenty of passengers as well."

Tickets for the film are available from www.warrenmiller.co.uk or by calling 020 7379 7795.

Recently voted 4x4 manufacturer of the year by 4x4 and MPV magazine, Nissan's six strong 4x4 range includes X-TRAIL, Pathfinder, Navara Pickup, Terrano, Patrol and Murano.

07/11/05

Nismo Wins Team Championship Title for Third Consecutive Year

Super GT 2005 Rd.8 "SUZUKA GT 300km"

Date: November 6, 2005

Place: SUZUKA CIRCUIT (Mie) 5.807km/lap

Weather: Rain/Cloudy (19deg.C) (wet)

Over 35,000 spectators watched the Xanavi NISMO Z of Satoshi Motoyama and Richard Lyons take second place in the climax of the Super GT series at Suzuka, to give NISMO the Team Series Championship for a third year in succession.

Heavy rain forced the race distance to be reduced from 52 to 39 laps and the two NISMO cars (No1 and No22) took advantage of a safety car period to make driver changes. Motoyama in No1 and Masataka Yanagida in No22 handed over to Lyons and Michael Krumm respectively for the remaining laps, and although both cars dropped back as a result, by lap 21 they were up to 6th and 8th places.

There then followed a spell of further driver changes among the other teams during which the NISMO cars improved their positions so that by lap 24 they were in 4th and 6th places respectively. By lap 36, the Motoyama/Lyons car was up to 2nd. Lyons then started his fierce pursuit of the leading No38 Supra and a possible third consecutive driver's title. The gap between two cars fell from 6 seconds to just 0.8 seconds by the final lap, but the Supra was not going to allow anyone past and the race finished in that order. The second Nissan, meanwhile, was suffering a 60 kg weight handicap and although up to 6th at one point, ultimately finished in 8th.

In spite of a heavy crash during qualifying, the Calsonic Impul Z (#12, Benoit Treluyer / Yuji Ide) managed to start the race from the back of the grid in the GT500 class. Treluyer drove the first stint and came very close to the leading No36 Supra. He then handed over to Yuji Ide, still recovering from the crash, the car returning in 10th place, and finishing in 9th at the chequered flag. The #3 G'ZOX HASEMI Z (Toshihiro Kaneishi /Erik Comas) started from 7th. The car was up to 4th on lap 6, pitted on lap 13 and Kaneishi took over for the remaining two-thirds of the race. He fought hard to finish 4th.

"I am so proud of Richard for his wonderful driving and the effort of the whole team which led the team to series champion," said Hiroshi Degawa, NISMO Team Director. "I believe that our strategy of changing the drivers in the very beginning was successful. It was a gamble, but it worked. I am glad to end the season by showing that we challenge until the last minute of the race, and that all our fans got excited for being with us all the way in this heavy rain. We thank you very much for your support."

"Richard made an amazing pursuit. I was so excited watching the track monitor screen," said Satoshi Motoyama. "Although we missed the third consecutive driver's title I'm still happy. At one point we all worried the rain was too hard for the race, but at the end of the day I'm glad we could show a very dramatic race to our enthusiastic fans."

"It was a good race," recalled Richard Lyons. "A bit disappointed really not winning the driver's championship but we're happy to win the team series title. I am very honoured to make a contribution to the team"

[Race Results] 39 Laps

Pos No Machine Driver Time / Gap
1 38 ZENT CERUMO SUPRA Yuji Tachikawa / Toranosuke Takagi 1:41'36.807
2 1 XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama / Richard Lyons +1.538
3 6 ESSO Ultraflo Supra Juichi Wakisaka / Akira Iida +23.605
4 3 G'ZOX HASEMI Z Toshihiro Kaneishi /Erik Comas +31.772
5 36 OPENINTERFACE TOM'S SUPRA Takeshi Tsuchiya / James Courtney +32.925
6 18 TAKATA DOME NSX Ryo Michigami / Takashi Kogure +33.804
7 37 OPENINTERFACE TOM'S SUPRA Tatsuya Kataoka / Sakon Yamamoto +39.778
8 22 MOTUL PITWORK Z Michael Krumm / Masataka Yanagida +41.345
9 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Benoit Treluyer / Yuji Ide +45.902
10 32 EPSON NSX Tsugio Matsuda / Andre Lotterer +1:00.621

07/11/05

350Z and Murano Contract Hire Rates Announced


On the back of strong residual values, Nissan has announced some highly competitive contract hire rates for business users on both the 350Z and Murano.

The 350Z costs £399 per month (plus VAT), while the 3.5 V6 Murano is available for £499 per month (plus VAT). Both contracts are based on three years and 10,000 miles per annum and are exclusive of maintenance.

"Both the 350Z and Murano have very strong residual values, which helps reduce monthly contract hire rates," explained Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director.

"We have had a great deal of interest from business users in both the 350Z and Murano and these contract hire rates have been designed to further build their success in the corporate arena," he added.

Nissan is offering the contract hire rates through its 225-strong dealer network with Nissan Finance (GB) Limited.

04/11/05

The "Monster" Of All Navaras

Nissan today revealed a dynamic line-up of vehicles, ranging from modified production vehicles and futuristic concept models to NISMO race trucks, at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. The craziest of the bunch was the "Rockn" Navara.

The "Rockn" Nissan NISMO Navara by RCH Designs is wrapped in Monster Energy Drink vinyl graphics by Imagic. Exterior modifications include a custom-made grille guard with winch mount and skid plate by Spencer Low Racing, custom-built front and rear fenders by Hannaman, custom exhaust system by Spencer Low Racing, Sway-A-Way remote bypass shocks added to a custom-built suspension by Spencer Low Racing, PIAA HID off-road lights, Sol-Tek HID racing light mounted on a Baja Designs light bar, Snorkel by ARB, two 9000i winches from Warn, 17-inch custom racing bead lock wheels from KMC and monster 36-inch BFGoodrich Baja TA race tyres.

Interior modifications include a Powertank portable air system, Hi-Lift jack, custom interior cage from SLR, 45 gallon racing fuel tank, four Mastercraft Rubicon racing seats with harnesses, Ignited light switches, Optima Yellow Top deep cycle battery, NISMO cold air intake and a Sony Xplod Premium Series stereo system which includes 12-speaker surround sound system, three amplifiers, and a flip up in dash LCD monitor with DVD/CD/MP3/tuner for "rockn" sounds.

Not surprisingly, this truck is set to rock the show.

03/11/05

Pathfinder 4x4 Offers 3


Nissan's recently launched Pathfinder teams MPV versatility with SUV ability and at a price that undercuts its rivals, a formula that added up with 4x4 magazine which voted it Best Medium Sized 4x4. Now Nissan has introduced three offers to help make potential buyers' finances add up, too.

1. The Pathfinder S and SE will come with a free TomTom Go 300 navigation system, free rear parking sensors and free servicing and roadside recovery for four years. This little lot is worth more than £1200.

2. The Pathfinder SVE is available with a free Communications Pack. Normally a £2000 option, it adds Nissan's famous DVD Birdview Europe-wide navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, colour rear view parking camera, premium audio with MP3 compatibility and voice activation for navigation and phone operation. Handy. And free.

3. All Pathfinders are available with three years' 0% finance. You have to pay a 30% deposit first which, taking the S version as an example, means £7350.

The Pathfinder features a robust body-on-frame design with the latest version of Nissan's acclaimed ALL-MODE electronic four-wheel drive technology, a system that's as easy to use as it is sophisticated. In normal road conditions, the Pathfinder behaves like a rear-wheel drive estate. However, should conditions worsen, additional drive to the front wheels is automatically engaged. It also incorporates ESP to stop the car getting into a skid and traction control. Coupled with a lower centre of gravity than its rivals, these systems make the Pathfinder a safe and easy car to control.

But despite its authentic SUV credentials, the Pathfinder is not a huge off-roader. At 4.74m long and 1.86m tall (including roof rails), it's shorter than a Vauxhall Vectra Estate and little higher than a Chrysler Voyager MPV. Similarly the advanced 2.5-litre common rail diesel that powers the 174PS Pathfinder dCi is one of the more efficient large capacity engines on the market. It generates 238 g/km of C02 emissions which is exactly the same as an Audi TT 3.2. But the Nissan seats up to seven, the Audi barely two.

There are similar comparisons to be made over fuel economy. The Pathfinder dCi returns 31.4mpg on the combined cycle, much the same as a BMW 320Ci. It's also less thirsty than a Vauxhall Vectra 2.0T Estate. And the latter has the same power output as the Pathfinder.

All Pathfinders get driver, passenger, front side and curtain airbags. On a lighter note, even the £24,500 S model has 17" alloy wheels, dual zone climate control air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, electric door mirrors and remote control central locking with Thatcham Category 1 ultrasonic and perimetric alarm. For another £1800, the SE adds roof rails, rear privacy glass, front fogs, second and third row folding seats giving seven person capacity, opening glass on rear hatch, easy clean cargo area, compass, trip computer, 6CD autochanger … and a bit more besides. To that can be added TomTom navigation, rear parking sensors and the four years Peace of Mind package.

The SVE adds fully colour-coded body, side steps, leather upholstery on all seven seats, electric heated front seats with memory, cruise control, auto wipers and headlights, and Nissan's Intelligent Key system for another £2460. And don't forget the free Communications Pack worth £2000 which includes integrated satellite navigation and colour rear view parking camera. There's 0% finance, too.

Maybe the Pathfinder isn't such a hard car to add up after all.

31/10/05

Computer Wizards Spellbound By Micra


Computer gremlins in Brighton and London beware! 'Geeks-on-Wheels', the mobile computer experts, has just taken delivery of its eighth Nissan Micra. With plans for nationwide expansion, the company's fleet of Micras could eventually swell to 150.

The Micra has been a part of the 'Geeks-on-Wheels' success from day one in 2004, transporting mobile engineers all over Sussex to the homes and businesses of technologically frustrated locals. With the service proving a huge success, a nationwide rollout of 'Geeks-on-Wheels' is planned over the next 18 months, beginning with the recent opening of a new office in London supporting the inner M25 area.

In a close working relationship with Crawley Down Nissan, the stunning orange and black 1.2-litre 'E' spec Micra will enter a fleet of cars already familiar to technophobes grateful for the fast and friendly computer advice offered by the 'Geeks'.

The Micra was originally chosen over competitors for its low emissions, reduced running costs and ability to display the attention grabbing livery of the 'Geeks-on-Wheels' brand. With such strong imagery, the cars have acquired something of a cult status in and around the local community, with children and tourists posing for photos whenever the wheels are stationary.

Jamie Shaw, the founder of 'Geeks-on-Wheels' said: "We pride ourselves on solving our customers' computer problems with minimum fuss and expense. To achieve that goal our mobile engineers need a cost effective car we can rely on, with the Micras we've got just that."

Paul Westwood, an area fleet manager at Nissan, added: "We are very much a forward thinking company who believe technology works best when it simplifies our daily lives. For that reason, Nissan takes great pride in being associated with the straightforward and hassle free service offered by the guys at 'Geeks-on-Wheels'."

28/10/05

Nissan Revenue Up 12.1%, Operating Profit Up 2% In Fy05 First Half Net Income Down 3.4% Due To One-Time Charges

TOKYO (Oct. 28, 2005) -
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, today announced financial results for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, as well as second-quarter performance. In the six months through September, net income after tax totalled 230.7 billion yen (US $2.11 billion, euro 1.69 billion), down 3.4% compared with the same period last year due to one-time charges in the first quarter. The charges related to a change in Japanese accounting standards for the treatment of fixed assets and the introduction of Nissan's defined contribution pension plan.

Net revenues amounted to 4.491 trillion yen (US $41.01 billion, euro 32.95 billion) in the April-to-September period, up 12.1% compared with a year ago. Operating profit totalled 411.5 billion yen (US $3.76 billion, euro 3.02 billion), up 2.0%, while Nissan's operating profit margin came to 9.2%. Ordinary profit amounted to 395.6 billion yen (US $3.61 billion, euro 2.90 billion), down 1.4%.

"Despite the severe business environment, Nissan's fundamentals continue to strengthen thanks to appealing products and a competitive cost structure," said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "Taking into account the risks and opportunities, we see no compelling reason to change our initial financial forecasts for the full fiscal year," he added.

In the first half, Nissan sold a total of 1,834,000 vehicles worldwide, up 15% compared with last year. Nissan released two all-new models in Japan during the period - the Serena minivan and the Otti minicar - and plans to launch three additional new models in Japan and one in Europe in the second half.

In the July-to-September quarter, Nissan's net income totalled 125.0 billion yen (US $1.14 billion, euro 0.92 billion), an increase of 8.1%. Net revenues amounted to 2.346 trillion yen (US $21.43 billion, euro 17.21 billion), up 11.5% compared with a year ago. Operating profit totalled 205.2 billion yen (US $1.87 billion, euro 1.51 billion), down 5.5%, while Nissan's operating profit margin came to 8.7%. Ordinary profit amounted to 184.8 billion yen (US $1.69 billion, euro 1.36 billion), down 16.7%.

Nissan sold a total of 955,000 vehicles worldwide in the second quarter, up 15.6% compared with the prior year.

27/10/05

Murano Makes its Entrance into Entertainment


Nissan has come up with a couple of new accessories designed to accentuate the Murano's head-turning exterior and calming ambience: chrome side-steps which illuminate the ground for the grandest entrance and an integrated, rear DVD system with infrared headphones for the ultimate in entertainment.

The Murano's interior is an oasis of calm. But not when you add a couple of back seat drivers engaged in ear bending agitation. "Are we there yet?" every two minutes will become a thing of the past with the addition of a roof mounted DVD player. It has to be the best invention in child pleasing, in-car entertainment since the introduction of rear electric windows…

This is not the average DVD accessory either. The system available for the Murano has been designed and tested with the help of Nissan's European Technical Centre based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Which means it won't interfere with the curtain airbags' deployment. And it's perfectly integrated into the Murano's interior furnishings - an important consideration for the design conscious.

The DVD system has two 7" dropdown screens mounted on the roof behind the driver and front seat passenger to give superb screen vision and, unlike centre-mounted alternatives, they won't impair driver's rear visibility. It comes with two pairs of cable-free headphones, thanks to infrared connectivity, with a third pair available if required. So all rear passengers can watch a business presentation, or more likely the Jungle Book, without any dangly bits ever getting in the way.

The player itself is hidden in the Murano's enormous centre console box. It's so enormous that even with the player installed, there's still room for other stuff. Popcorn, for example. And the price? £1895 including fitting and VAT.

Steps! No, not the recently disbanded pop group but the things that assist you getting on-board or exiting your 4x4. Handy things but sometimes they would be even handier if you could see where or what you are about to step into, whether it be muddy puddles or odorous animal deposits. Nissan has the answer: a pair of chrome, tubular side steps with smart LEDs that illuminate the ground every time the door is opened. And for the ultimate in car park drama, they also light up when the car is unlocked remotely. It's pure bling … unlike the price: £715 including fitting and VAT.

With a whiff-free and silenced interior, the driver can calmly consider the journey ahead, play with the Birdview DVD satellite navigation system, and then derive a different kind of entertainment from the Murano's 3.5-litre V6 engine.

26/10/05

Primastar Can Now Seat Nine

The new Nissan Primastar minibus has just been unveiled, further expanding Nissan's ever-growing light commercial range.

With seating for nine, the new minibus shares its underpinnings with the short wheelbase low roof 2.9T Primastar van and is available in two trim levels. Priced at £19,680 OTR the E spec offers ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), three point seatbelts, remote central locking, a driver's airbag, an alarm and immobiliser. An extra £500 buys you the SE version which gains CD player, front power windows, heated mirrors and Nissan's Rear Park System (RPS).

Power comes from the 100PS 1.9dCi common rail turbo diesel engine which returns 36.7mpg, giving the minibus a range of over 700 miles between visits to the pumps. Service intervals of 18,000 miles, a three year/60,000 miles warranty plus three year Roadside Assistance also ensures cost effective ownership.

Access is made easy via two large sliding doors with opening windows and a large rear glazed tailgate helps keep you dry when loading and unloading luggage. While accommodating nine people, including the driver, the Primastar minibus also benefits from a foldable 3rd row of seats, doubling the loading space from 1.24m³ to 2.49m³ while still providing seating for six.

Nissan is aiming for a 5% share of the minibus market in the Primastar's first year and is very specific about where its buyers are likely to come from.

"We are targeting customers who need a combination of nine seats and a safe and comfortable environment in which to travel. That means larger families, construction companies, schools, colleges, taxi and chauffeur drive companies and the police and emergency services," explained Isabelle Kerdat, LCV Product Manager.

Available in a choice of 11 colours, the Primastar minibus is available now from all Nissan dealers.

25/10/05

Micra C+C Peep Show

The Nissan Micra C+C, in partnership with Breakthrough Breast Cancer, will be revealing itself during a nation-wide tour of city centres starting in London's Covent Garden between 27 and 30 October.

Supported by local radio stations, the Micra C+C Tour, which features a fleet of specially painted pink cars, will be driving around city centres supporting and raising awareness of Breakthrough Breast Cancer's Touch Look Check (TLC) campaign. At the same time, one Micra C+C will be having its own 'peep show' in a breathless box. Opaque panels will slowly become translucent to give passers by a sneaky peek at parts of the C+C until the whole car is revealed. Then the C+C's unique folding glass roof will open and close before the box becomes completely opaque again.

Shoppers will also have a chance to win the Micra C+C from the box, donated by Nissan, in a "Text to Win" competition. For each text message received, 90 pence will be donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. During the week leading up to the city centre peep show, local radio stations will be reminding listeners about the Micra C+C tour and also holding competitions with questions relating to the C+C and breast cancer.

The Micra C+C will be touring the country until 5 February 2006 (with a break through the Christmas period) visiting cities including Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

06/10/05

Nissan Delivers on 1 Million Commitment

NISSAN 180 fully completed

TOKYO (6 Oct, 2005)-Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, announced today that it sold 3.671 million vehicles from 1 Oct., 2004 to 30 Sept., 2005, successfully delivering on the company's final NISSAN 180 commitment to sell an additional 1 million vehicles during the 12 month period compared with fiscal year 2001.

"Thanks to the hard work of all of Nissan's employees, our revival is complete," said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan. "We have regained the confidence and momentum needed to grow significantly and profitably over the long term."

In terms of individual markets, North America, including Mexico and Canada, was the biggest contributor to the 1.073 million additional sales, accounting for 437,000 units. Nissan's general overseas markets (all markets excluding North America, Japan and Europe) were second with 364,000 units. Japan contributed 188,000 units, while Europe accounted for 84,000 units.

By model, the Frontier/Navara/Pickup was the biggest contributor to the 3.671 million sales with 307,000 units sold, followed by the Altima sedan with 305,000 units and the March/Micra compact car with 258,000 units.

Nissan's two other commitments under its NISSAN 180 business plan - an operating profit margin of 8% and zero net automotive debt - were accomplished in the first year of that plan, two years ahead of schedule.

04/10/05

Nissan at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show

Tokyo - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd will present eight show cars that incorporate ideas for new models to come at the upcoming 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. Headlining the show is the GT-R PROTO concept confirming the GT-R legend will be continued into the 21st century. The 'Pivo' is a concept car that examines the potential of future electric cars and the 'Foria' is Nissan's concept for a possible next-generation compact coupe.

Nissan's latest Information Technology (IT) and telematics ideas are incorporated into several of the concept cars on display. These include the All round View Monitor, Lane Departure Prevention, 4-wheel active steer and the latest development of the Human-machine interface systems.

Main Features of Concept Cars

GT-R PROTO


At a glance:

" Ultimate driving pleasure
" Exterior design close to final
" Official launch set for 2007


At the 35th Tokyo Motor Show in 2001, Nissan unveiled the GT-R Concept. Then, at the 37th Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, Nissan announced the next-generation GT-R would be rolled out in 2007. Now with the launch of the production model just two years away, the development of the new GT-R has moved ahead again with the reveal of the GT-R PROTO.

The design of the GT-R PROTO expresses pure GT-R heritage, coming from the first model PGC10 (1969) through R34 (1999), in a new and expressive form.

From its original roots as a purebred Japanese performance car, the new GT-R will now be a car sold globally, recognising its ability to compete with the very best in the world. For the first time in its history, the new GT-R will be designed as a specific body style, and not derived from a sedan.

PIVO


At a glance:

" Electric car with unique 360 degree revolving cabin
" Compact packaging enabled by advanced electronics
" Drive-by-wire systems bring host of benefits
" Excellent visibility


The Pivo concept car examines the potential of future electric vehicles. The Pivo's most distinctive feature is its cabin that revolves through 360 degrees, eliminating the need to reverse. A compact body also makes the car exceptionally easy to manoeuvre. Excellent visibility is enhanced by Nissan's Around View technology, which helps reduce dangerous blind spots. The navigation and audio systems are simple to operate while driving. These features are supported by Nissan's innovative environment-friendly technologies such as the Compact Lithium-ion Battery powering two super motors, one on each axle, providing torque to all four wheels. Pivo promises to turn dreams into reality.

NOTE INSPIRED BY ADIDAS

At a glance:

" Car plus sportswear fashion with a Remix Generation feeling
" Projecting an atmosphere inspired by Adidas


The interior fabrics and rubber materials that are familiar components of sportswear and related products have been applied to the dashboard, door panels and other locations to create a Remix image. This is in contrast to the general use of hard materials for many interior trim parts of a car. Dashboard trays are fitted with nets in which small items can be inserted for storage. The enamelled glove box is opened and closed with a zipper. The centre console incorporates a removable bag that can be carried around outside the car. Seat covers are made of several different materials and with different design patterns so that users can change them as they like.

FORIA

At a glance:

" A premium-quality compact 2+2 sport coupe
" Front engine and rear wheel drive layout
" Four-wheel active steer
" Designed to make driving a pleasure
" Exterior styling combines sportiness with elegance
" High-quality interior

The Foria is a compact coupe concept targeted at customers looking for performance, elegance and high quality.

Packaged as a compact 2+2 coupe the front-engine, rear-drive layout allows an exceptionally short front overhang, long bonnet and compact cabin. These styling features, together with the neatly-styled rear and 18-inch wheels positioned at the four corners, result in a car that is not only pleasing to look at but also delivers driving pleasure. Powered by a mid-sized engine and paddle-shift automatic transmission, the powertrain promises agile driving in town, as well as fully engaging performance when travelling on more open roads. Four-wheel Active Steer gives reassuring precision and steering feel at all driving speeds.

Centre-opening, B-pillarless doors have been adopted for effortless access to the rear seats in the coupe body style. The large door openings make it easy to get in and out of the rear seats despite the sporty position of the front seats.

AMENIO

At a glance:

" A multi-purpose people carrier with all-round versatility
" One step further for Nissan's Modern Living concept
" Advanced telematics include Earth Browsing mode


The Amenio is a six-passenger, multi-purpose people carrier that takes Nissan's Modern Living concept to a new level. The Amenio is targeted at users who need a vehicle for their own individual requirements but also place a high priority on flexibility.

The interior is about tranquillity; the exterior is all about dynamism. This sharp contrast means the Amenio is a multi-purpose people carrier that proposes a new direction in minivan philosophy.

The exterior projects dynamic performance - in sharp contrast to the relaxing living-room-like feel of the interior. The sporty feeling comes from the smooth, flowing silhouette, the front fender treatment that dynamically links front and sides, and the flare of the rear fenders. Also contributing to the car's sporty looks are the 20-inch wheels.

Positioned in the centre of the instrument panel is an 18-inch ultra-wide monitor that can easily be seen from any seating position. Besides being exceptionally wide, the monitor also delivers high-resolution screen images. It displays content with high legibility in an easy-to-understand format, including live point-of-interest information picked up from nearby locations in the City Browsing mode.

New features have been added to the menu to enhance the driving experience. For example, the Earth Browsing mode lets users look down from outer space at cars travelling on the Earth's surface, while the Space Browsing mode displays star constellations located in the direction in which the Amenio is travelling.

The Amenio is equipped with Nissan's Around View Monitor that displays a 360-degree view of the area around the car vehicle in real time, easy-to-understand images. Locatedon the dashboard, the monitor substantially reduces blind spots and is especially helpful when parking. The system is a further advancement of Nissan's pioneering Rear View Monitor and Side Blind-Spot Monitor technologies.

MOCO PREVIEW

At a glance:

" Concept of car as "my best friend"
" Powered by a low emission engine


With a stylish design and roomy, comfortable interior, the Moco Preview presents the concept of "a car that helps you enjoy everyday life like a best friend would".

Moco Preview's elegant and stylish exterior silhouette gives the car a unique presence, while the attractive interior benefits from meticulous attention to quality.

Convenience is a top priority. Seats quickly and ingeniously lift up to reveal hidden storage compartments, and handy storage nooks abound.

Powered by a low-emission engine, the Moco Preview is environmentally friendly. It is also friendly to users' wallets with one of the highest levels of fuel economy.

BLUEBIRD SYLPHY PREVIEW

At a glance:

" A car that reflects Nissan's Modern Living concept
" A luxury medium-sized saloon
" Refined elegance

The Bluebird Sylphy Preview embodies Nissan's Modern Living concept, a modern expression of premium interior quality. This new, luxury medium-sized saloon blends this design concept with functionality all wrapped in a straight and refined exterior.

An "S-motion" design gives exterior expression to this product concept. Distinctive S-shaped curves are expressed in smooth and richly varied sculpted body lines. The large cabin with six windows creates a roomy and relaxing interior space.

"S-motion" is further reflected in a curved instrument panel, providing space around the driver and an open, airy space for the front passenger. With above-average knee room for this class of car, passengers can relax into cushioned comfort.

WINGROAD PREVIEW

At a glance:

" Stylish and functional compact wagon
" Versatile space


The Wingroad Preview opens up new possibilities for active people with a spirit of adventure. Sports enthusiasts will love its stylish versatility, which includes a highly flexible seat arrangement. Rear seats slide fore-and-aft up to 120 mm to create a flexible and functional space. Not only is the Wingroad Preview just the thing for adventure, it is ideal for everyday city driving too. The Wingroad Preview is scheduled to make its debut as a production car in Japan later this year.

MAJOR TECHNOLOGY EXHIBITS

AROUND VIEW MONITOR


This system substantially reduces blind spots by displaying a 360-degree view of the area around the vehicle on a dashboard monitor. The easy-to-understand images displayed in real time are especially helpful in supporting the driver's manoeuvres when parking, by assisting the driver in steering the vehicle easily and accurately into the intended parking space. The system is a further advancement of Nissan's pioneering Rear View Monitor and Side Blind-Spot Monitor technologies. The Around View Monitor is featured on the Pivo and Amenio concept models.

LANE DEPARTURE PREVENTION (LDP)

The LDP system recognises visible lane markings through the use of a small camera mounted behind the rearview mirror. The camera's signal and the vehicle's speed are sent to the system's advanced microprocessing unit, which combines the information to calculate both the distance between the vehicle and the lane marking and the lateral velocity to the lane marking. If it is determined that the vehicle is leaving the lane, a combination of visual and aural warnings are given. At the same time, the car's braking systems are activated, to help return the vehicle to its original lane.

4-WHEEL ACTIVE STEER

This system is designed to improve vehicle stability and response at high speed and to reduce the driver's steering workload at low speed, by controlling the steering angle of all four wheels. It contributes to precise vehicle movement in response to the driver's steering inputs and also serves to reduce the steering workload by varying the steering gear ratio according to the vehicle speed.

04/10/05

Nissan at the Tokyo Motor Show 2005 - GT-R PROTO


At a glance:

" Ultimate driving pleasure
" Exterior design close to final
" Official launch set for 2007


At the 35th Tokyo Motor Show in 2001, Nissan unveiled the GT-R Concept, confirming that the GT-R legend would be continued into the 21st century. Then, at the 37th Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, Nissan announced the next-generation GT-R would be rolled out in 2007. Now with the launch of the production model just two years away, the development of the new GT-R has moved ahead again with the reveal of the GT-R PROTO.

Ultimate driving pleasure

In essence, driving pleasure means that a car responds faithfully to the driver's wishes and performs precisely as expected. Successive generations of the GT-R have consistently pursued this vision of ultimate driving pleasure. Whether on the road or the racetrack, the GT-R has always represented ultimate performance combined with handling qualities that stay faithful to the driver's wishes, in all conditions. As a result, the GT-R has built a reputation that extends far beyond just its loyal owner base.

Exterior design: pure performance

The design of the GT-R PROTO expresses pure GT-R heritage, coming from the first model PGC10 (1969) through R34 (1999), in a new and expressive form.

From its original roots as a pure-bred Japanese performance car, the new GT-R will now be a car sold globally, recognising its ability to compete with the very best in the world. For the first time in its history, the new GT-R will be designed as a specific body-style, and not derived from a sedan.

The design language of the GT-R PROTO is expressed by a distinctive body-style that communicates pure performance and functionality. The form of the GT-R PROTO instantly expresses its purpose and potential, but in a way that is unique to this iconic car.

At the front end, the single centre air intake is designed to optimise airflow and to strongly link the identity of the GT-R from R34 to GT-R Concept (2001). Front fenders are uniquely designed through intensive analysis of the airflow around the tyres and the air vent behind the front fender also optimises aerodynamics. The sides of the body are sculptured towards the rear fender, expressing the power and dynamic tension of the car.

The overall shape of the body combines solid and smooth surfaces to achieve the look of a well-trained athlete. The unique C-pillar crease is designed for optimum aerodynamics, reflecting the racing DNA of the GT-R.

The rear of the GT-R PROTO is strong and well defined. The signature four ring-shaped tail lamps provide an immediate visual link to previous GT-R models. Four large-bore exhaust pipes complete the purposeful look, which could only be that of a pure GT-R.

The GT-R PROTO provides for the first time a clear indication of the final design direction for the production model to be launched in 2007, the first all-new GT-R in eight years.

26/09/05

C+C Music Factory


Nissan's new Micra C+C Coupe and Convertible, on sale 14 November, will be the first car in its class to have a music system that automatically maintains top sound quality whether the roof is up or down to let the rhythm move you.

The six-speaker system, fitted to all Micra C+Cs, changes its equalisation settings to suit the different cabin environments. There are two settings, roof up or roof down, which automatically alternate as the top is operated via a signal from a control unit. Guys grab a girl, don't wait, make a whirl.

The interior sound characteristic of every car is different due to the cabin area, upholstery, seats and speaker positions. And the cabin area changes dramatically of course when the roof is lowered. The sound emitted from the speakers is then either absorbed or reflected depending on what any obstructions are made from - for example, the seats absorb sound whilst the windscreen reflects it. All this interference pollutes the noise eventually heard by the occupants. It's gonna make you sweat.

But the Micra C+C uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) to tune the volume of each frequency to overcome distortions and produce a faithful reproduction of the original tune. And when the C+C's roof is lowered, a 22 second operation, the DSP adjusts itself accordingly. Hands in the air, come on say yeah.

Every Micra C+C has the system fitted as standard - even the entry £13,150 1.4 URBIS. It includes a CD/radio, six speakers, a 6.5" woofer with a separate tweeter in each door, plus a sub-woofer with two outputs located behind the rear seats. Different types of music and personal tastes demand different acoustic settings. So three other manual adjustments can be made via the CD/radio head unit to allow the listener to decide what's best - Enhance, Acoustic or Live.

" Enhance suits rock music by increasing the bass notes.
" Acoustic has a phase adjustment that tricks the driver's ears into believing they are sitting squarely between the front seats. It's best for classical music or talk radio.
" Live increases both the bass and phase adjustment enhancing the enjoyment of heavier classical or dance music.

The top-of-the-range £14,995 1.6 ESSENZA also comes with an in-dash 6CD autochanger. Let the music take control.

The roof down compensating sound system isn't the only unique-in-class feature of the Micra C+C. Other things to make you go hmmm include C-VIEW®, a glass/metal roof, and the Auto-Open Roof® system which allows the top to be opened without any fiddling with windscreen mounted handles. Everybody dance now.

20/09/05

Nissan is 4x4 Maker of The Year

Nissan is the 2006 4x4 Maker of the Year. At least according to 4x4 & MPV Driver magazine it is. And few should disagree given Nissan's range of six four-wheel drives, soon to become seven, which caters for the widest variety of customers' 4x4 needs and even includes 4x4s that aren't.

Nissan's 4x4 range is split into three types. There are the sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, that are aimed at families who want up to seven seat versatility with the reassurance of constant mobility whatever the weather or terrain. Then there are the crossovers that are more biased to road use and only engage four-wheel drive when the conditions demand it. And finally there are the traditional mud-pluggers for whom no job or obstacle, short of crossing the English Channel, is too much.

As the editor of 4x4 & MPV Driver, Bob Murray, puts it: "Nissan has gone 4x4 crazy and now boasts models to suit just about everyone from those who don't really need a 4x4 to those whose lives depend on one. It's an intelligent, sexy, capable and appealing range. But more than anything all the models represent great value for money." Sexy, Nissan? Oh yes - this company is going through a major SHIFT_. And 4x4s are a major part of it.

Most successful is the X-TRAIL, Nissan's multi award winning compact SUV. It's priced from £16,500 to £24,600 and offers a choice of four equipment levels and three engines including an economical, modern diesel. Unusually the X-TRAIL also offers a choice of electronic, fast reacting ALL-MODE 4x4 that engages all wheels when conditions demand reducing fuel consumption and minimising emissions, or unusually a front-wheel drive only X-TRAIL that offers all the clever design and space of the four-wheel drive X-TRAIL while confusing the anti-4x4 fraternity. But then every X-TRAIL has a better pedestrian impact rating than many ordinary cars, dimensions little bigger than a family hatchback and 39.2 mpg fuel economy with the dCi engine that most are ordered with. Other pluses include a commanding driving position, wipe-clean cargo bay, a ski hatch, air conditioned cool boxes, as well as safety features such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Every X-TRAIL also has ISOFIX child seat mounting points. And in most versions, a glass sunroof so large that baby can watch the clouds pass by above rather than mum and dad's heads playing Punch and Judy.

If your family is XL sized both in number and literally, Nissan offers the Pathfinder SUV. It's as thoughtfully designed as the X-TRAIL but offers five quick folding rear seats in addition to the front pair adding up to 64 people-versus-luggage permutations. The Pathfinder employs the X-TRAIL's ALL MODE 4x4 system with the addition of electronic stability program for increased safety. In fact, this driveline coupled with a lower centre of gravity than its top heavy rivals makes the Pathfinder an extremely dexterous 4x4. And at 4.74m it's actually shorter than a Vauxhall Vectra Estate that seats two less.

The Pathfinder is also surprisingly economical for so versatile a vehicle - fitted with Nissan's 2.5-litre dCi engine, it returns 31.4 mpg on the combined cycle. The 4.0-litre V6 petrol isn't so parsimonious but then it will speed to 62mph in 8.9 seconds - that's fast for a seven seater let alone a 4x4 one. Standard equipment is luxury league with items like a colour rear view camera, MP3 compatability, Bluetooth phone compatibility, xenon headlamps, and DVD satellite navigation all available. But we'll leave the summary to 4x4 & MPV Driver: "Nissan's Discovery rival has just as much presence and similar mud-plugging ability but at a price more of us can afford." And what is that price? The range starts at £24,500 rising to the totally equipped 4.0V6 T-spec automatic at £33,960. Rather less than the equivalent Land Rover.

The Pathfinder has recently spawned a range of mud-plugging King and Double Cab pick-ups called the Navara. It's the most powerful vehicle in its class with 174PS and the Navara boasts the biggest carrying capacity, too. Unusually for what is essentially a workhorse, the Navara is available with many of the luxury features of its SUV sister. Which even includes electrically adjustable and heated leather seats. The Navara will carry over a tonne and tow up to 2.7 tonnes and is set to be the UK's favourite pick-up if journalist opinion has anything to do with it.

If towing is your game, look no further than the Patrol. Nissan's iconic 4x4 has been in production for over 50 years and the current incarnation is the most capable and comfortable yet. Loved by peacekeeping forces for its indestructibility, the Patrol will tow up to 3.5 tonnes. That's practically a house. And nothing else offers as much metal for the money - the 3.0-litre diesel fuelled Patrol is priced from £25,750. Rather more compact but almost as capable on the rough stuff is the venerable Terrano which is available in three-door or Van forms priced from £14,295 ex-VAT. Given their credentials, it's no wonder that the Patrol and Terrano are rarely seen down town being much happier mucking about up country.

And then there's the crossover Murano. It looks unlike anything else on the road and offers unbeatable value for money so much so that 4x4 & MPV Driver awarded it its 4x4 Deal of the Year award. There's only one Murano powered by a version of the 350Z Coupe's 3.5-litre V6 engine coupled with continuously variable transmission (CVT) for smooth progress with just the one option - metallic paint. Everything else is included. So that includes ALL-MODE 4x4 ensuring the Murano remains front-wheel drive unless more traction is required, electric leather seats, 6CD autochanger, DVD satellite navigation system, 18" alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, an electric glass sunroof, reclining front and rear seats, colour rear view camera … the list goes on and on. The price is £29,995 - £1000s less than its rivals equipped to the same standard. Which leaves the styling. This being a subjective subject, let's get the opinion of 4x4 & MPV Driver: "Looking like a cross between a sports coupe and a 4x4, the Murano provides the ultimate wow factor - and the perfect antidote to the anonymity of some rivals." Head turning, then.

4x4 number seven will be revealed in less than a year's time. Nissan's most compact 4x4 yet has been designed in London, is being engineered in Bedfordshire and will be built in Sunderland. Rather fitting for the UK's 4x4 Maker of the Year.

16/09/05

Nissan's Newest Model Goes Into Production


On Monday (19 September) the Micra C+C, Nissan Sunderland's newest model, will begin rolling off the production line.

The very first car, a silver 1.6 litre petrol, Sport grade, will come off the line at around 08.30 and is destined for a customer in the UK.

The C+C is a truly home-grown product as it was designed at London-based Nissan Design Europe, developed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Bedfordshire, and will be built by Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd in Sunderland.

It represents a £95 million investment, taking the total investment by Nissan in the Sunderland plant to over £2.1 billion.

Nissan is targeting 20,000 annual sales of the stylish coupe/convertible, which features a folding glass roof that can be raised or lowered into the trunk, at the touch of a button, in just 22 seconds.

This roof module is being produced by specialist German supplier Karmann GmbH, which, in a first for both companies, has set up a 'factory within a factory' inside Nissan's Final Assembly Shop.

The C+C will be built largely down the existing Micra line. All the metal elements of the roof frame will be delivered and painted with the car before being separated and sent to the Karmann facility.

Here, the frame will be covered with the roof's glass panels and assembled as a complete module before being reunited with the original car.

Dr Christian Rennert, Key Account Manager, International Markets for Karmann explained: "For reasons of quality control and speed of manufacture, we have established a dedicated production facility within the Nissan plant where we will run two shifts a day and employ up to 50 people."

Colin Dodge, Managing Director of the Sunderland plant commented: "The C+C started life as a design exercise for the 2002 Paris Motor Show. That concept car received such a favourable reaction from the public and motoring press that the decision was taken to make it a production reality.

"Nissan has never built a convertible car in Europe before and I'm delighted that our plant has been given the responsibility, and the challenge, of producing the C+C.

"Although the production volume will be relatively small compared to the other models we manufacture here, the C+C is a very important car for Nissan because of the boost it will give to the brand right across Europe."

Even though the C+C will be ramped up to full production volume in just 6 weeks - amongst the fastest in Europe, the Sunderland workforce won't have time for a rest. Production trials have already begun for the NOTE mini-MPV, which will go into full production in January.

This will be followed in December 2006 by a production version of the Qashqai concept, a compact 'crossover' car combining the best attributes of both a hatchback and 4x4.

Deliveries of the Micra C+C will begin in mid November with prices starting at £13,150.

C+C AT A GLANCE

" Coupe/convertible with 2+2 seating
" Panoramic folding glass roof
" Auto-open roof - 22 seconds to raise or lower
" Class-leading luggage space
" Choice of 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines

09/09/05

The World's First Real-Time Measuring System for Combustion Chamber Gas Temperatures


Improved Fuel Economy and Reduced Emissions Are The Goal


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, in collaboration with Stanford University and Physical Science Inc (PSI), has developed the world's first technology to measure in-cylinder gas temperatures and a way to analyse the combustion in 'real-time' during engine operation.

This advanced technology uses a semi-conductor laser to calculate the temperature from measurements of gas concentration in the combustion chamber. This technology can be applied to any type of automotive engine, thanks to the development of a very small temperature probe that can be installed in a spark plug, enabling non-intrusive, real-time measurements.

Previous methods to measure the combustion gas required modifications to the engine. It was difficult to acquire useful data from methods such as attaching sensors inside the cylinder wall or estimating the temperature from camera images of the flame obtained in a specially modified optical-access engine.

The new technology is expected to contribute towards developing future generation engines with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

This industry-academy collaboration began in November 2002 when Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., gave a speech at Stanford University. PSI subsequently joined the project to assist in the development of the new technology. Nissan's specific role was in the optical design of the temperature probe and overall project management, while Stanford University researchers were in charge of creating the basic concepts and methodology. PSI took charge of laser device development.

Professor Ronald K. Hanson, Mechanical Engineering Dept. of Stanford University said: "I am extremely pleased with our success at linking cutting-edge science with advanced engineering technology through this collaboration with Nissan. I believe that this technology will contribute to the development of future environmentally friendly engines and to the overall progress of measurement technologies."

Detailed results of this study will be published by the Institute of Physics and by the Optical Society of America in 2006, and also by the Society of Automotive Engineers International.

07/09/05

The Micra C+C Show Opens

Nissan's first UK designed, engineered and manufactured hardtop/convertible, the Micra C+C, is opening its city stopping roof show for an early preview. Deliveries won't start till 14 November but the cleverest Micra yet will be appearing at Nissan dealers as part of a national pre-launch tour. Customers are also now able to order their own personal C+C show - the ticket price starts at £13,150 which includes four seats all with a sky view. That's thanks to the unique-in-class (because it's glass) C-VIEW® electrically folding roof.

The C+C is the latest SHIFT_ for Nissan's Micra and has been three years in the making. Or rather the designing and engineering for its journey began at the Paris Motor Show 2002 when the C+C was just a concept. Press and public alike raised their thumbs so Nissan, never one to turn down an opportunity, wasted no time in teaming convertible specialists, Karmann of Germany, with its own UK based designers and engineers to turn the concept into top-dropping reality.

London can take the credit for the C+C's shape. Created at Nissan's Paddington design centre, the C+C is longer (by 116mm), lower (by 79mm) and sleeker (look at the pictures) than the Micra hatchback. In fact only the front wings, bonnet and basic platform are shared between the two. The more acute angle of the windscreen hides stronger pillars for added protection in the event of a roll-over accident. It also extends much further over the cabin than in the standard hatchback - this means not just smoother looks but also less space required to house the folded roof. And so leaves more room for baggage.

Karmann strengthened the Micra's platform aided and abetted by Nissan's Cranfield based technical centre. An example of their work is a 'dynamic damper' to eliminate typical convertible shake. They also beefed up the car's side sills and added under-floor bracing, a rear torsion wall and an additional front cross member, their aim being to counter the 80% loss of rigidity you get when you remove a car's roof. Which is all very impressive but also rather dull. So let's move onto the roof.

Nissan could have gone the easy route and fitted a folding canvas top. But it didn't. Micras spend a lot of time in cities where vandalising fabric roofs is a leisure pursuit and where the rain can be as hard as the women. Nissan therefore went for a more complicated folding hardtop. With a unique-in-glass, sorry, -class difference.

The Karmann designed two-piece roof takes just 22 seconds to fold. Nissan has christened the roof Auto-Open Roof® because it does just that - there's no need to do any unseemly twisting of levers and tricep exercising push-ups around the windscreen as in some other convertibles. In the C+C, a single push on a centre console mounted button does the job for you, folding the roof clamshell-styley into the boot area. And that includes lowering the side windows. The crowd drawing operation can also be performed at a walking pace. Ideal for when you get caught short at fast changing traffic lights.

Even with the roof folded into the boot, there are 255 litres of luggage room available. When the roof is up, though, this increases to 457 litres. That's more than a Nissan Murano has under its luggage cover with the rear seats up. Perhaps surprisingly, the Micra C+C has its own pair of rear seats making it a more practical choice than some of its less sociable rivals. They're fine for children, or grown-ups going round the corner, or as a well-upholstered place to stash shopping bags. No need, though, to move everything into the boot when the car is left top down because there's a lockable storage area under the front seat for sunglasses, a camera and the like.

Those sunglasses won't just be required for roof down posing. Even with the roof up, the C+C is a sunny place to be thanks to the C-VIEW® roof with its integral glass panel. Should the sun be too hot, or the clouds too depressing, a retractable sunblind can be pulled across the roof. But even if you don't, the glass is thermally insulated to minimise heat build up.

The starting price for the C+C is £13,150. This is for the URBIS, which as any Latin scholar will know means 'city'. It's powered by the same 1.4-litre 88PS engine found in the Micra hatch and gives acceleration to 62mph in 12.8 seconds. The URBIS will go 42.8 miles on a gallon of petrol and emits 158g/km of CO2. Features wise it gets, for example, 15" alloy wheels, electric windows all round, electric/heated door mirrors, six speaker CD radio with steering wheel mounted controls, a trip computer, sports seats, front fogs, switchoffable passenger airbag, and a mild body-kit modelled on the new Micra 160SR. Plus of course the C-VIEW® and Auto-Open Roof® system. Manual air conditioning is a £500 option.

Or for £845 more, top droppers could have the 1.6 SPORT. This version is powered by Nissan's newest petrol engine, the 1.6-litre 110PS unit first seen in the Micra 160SR and due to appear soon in the Note. With this engine, the C+C accelerates to 62mph in 10.6 seconds, returns 42.2mpg on the combined cycle and emits 160g/km of CO2. The extra £845 over the URBIS gets not just extra oomph but extra equipment, too, namely 16" graphite coloured alloys, manual air conditioning and alloy look interior trim. For £250, the aircon can be upgraded to automatic climate control.

Topping the open top C+C range is the £14,995 ESSENZA, which means 'essence' in Italian. For £1000 more than the SPORT, it adds climate control, heated leather seats with Alcantara door trim, in-dash 6CD autochanger, electronic stability programme, and Nissan's Intelligent Key system which means the car's keyfob can forever stay in your hand/manbag. And knowing where your keys are means you'll leave home five minutes earlier every time.

All are offered in a choice of nine ever-so-fashionable colours (including one specific to C+C). They were developed by Nissan's colour studio in London under the influence of the fashions, rather than something else, being worn in the trendier parts of town. The same goes for the interior which is available in sophisticated Graphite as well as a bolder Ice Blue with Chocolate trim. That might sound like something you'd drink in a trendy cocktail bar but it further brightens what is already a sunny place to be. Even when it isn't.

Befitting such an outspoken car, Nissan has given the C+C its own website: www.nissan-micracc.co.uk. Let the SHIFT_fun begin.

02/09/05

Platinum Joins Forces With 107.9 Bath FM

Renrod Ltd, owner of the Platinum group of dealerships and associated company Wellsway BMW/MINI, is joining forces with 107.9 Bath FM in a unique partnership.

Encouraged by the success of recent advertising campaigns with commercial radio station - 107.9 Bath FM, Renrod were keen to form ongoing reciprocal working relationships with the local marketing partner. The ongoing commitment between the two local businesses will enable exciting new initiatives and mutually beneficial marketing activity.

Renrod Ltd is providing 107.9 Bath FM with 2 vehicles for staff to use at the radio station's events and outside broadcasts around the city. Branded with both Platinum and 107.9 Bath FM's livery, the Mitsubishi 'Warrior' and a Toyota 'Hilux' will be assisting 107.9 Bath FM's promotional activities over the coming months.

The vehicles' activities will be highlighted on air on 107.9FM prefixed with the strap-lines '…powered by Platinum Mitsubishi….' or '…….powered by Platinum Toyota' and listeners will be able to spot them out and about in Bath from 12th September.

Jeremy Cuff, Renrod Ltd's Group Marketing Director said, "We've had some very productive discussions with the Bath FM team, with the result being an ongoing commitment to work together. Our linkup with the radio station will include the loan of these two vehicles for their events, creating joint news stories for our magazines and websites and the sharing and distribution of marketing initiatives."

Jo Woods, Station Manager at 107.9 Bath FM said, "Staff are already planning the Hilux and Warrior's first big event which will be at the Roundtable Fireworks at the Rec on November 4th, but in the meantime look out for the Bath FM crew and the new vehicles out and about in Bath.'

For full details of 107.9 Bath FM's visits with the Mitsubishi Warrior and Toyota Hilux, view their website - www.bathfm.co.uk


01/09/05

Navara Gets Snug With Its Only Hard Top Supplier


SNUGTOP should be a familiar name to anyone who has a pick-up. It's particularly popular with Nissan because the company has been chosen as the sole UK official supplier of hardtops for the new Navara. There are five in the range. And all match Nissan's high standards of quality, design and value.

The most dramatic SNUGTOP accessory is the XTR hardtop which has been specially adapted for the Navara. The design features a built-in roof rack that incorporates 2" tubular roof bars with a front mounted fairing to smooth airflow over them. The XTR also now includes remote entry. It also includes frameless curved glass windows and a finished edge that blends into the truck bed to give the Navara SUV looks. Other features of the SNUGTOP XTR include "pop-out" windows, an integrated LED third brake light, and a large rear window for improved vision.

The XTR is built to stand up to the abuse pick-ups endure. Important technical features include a one-piece reinforced fibreglass construction as well as a patented method of sealing the cap by means of a special inner lip. Each hardtop is painted to match factory colours using the highly effective DuPont Chromapremier paint process. SNUGTOP also backs each hardtop with a three year structural warranty, as well as a three year paint warranty.

In addition to the XTR, SNUGTOP also offers through Nissan dealers its familiar Cab-Hi models with side windows or solid sides, and the Supersport model. There's also a new addition to the Navara range called the Hi Liner. This entry-level top is aimed specifically at the working truck with its high level roof, solid sides and white only paint finish.

31/08/05

Nissan Advanced Crash Laboratory Begins Operations

TOKYO (31 August, 2005) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd announced today that it has begun operations at its newly constructed Nissan Advanced Crash Laboratory (NACL) located at the company's Oppama Proving Ground in Yokosuka City, 50 km southwest of Tokyo. The 40,000 square metre, state-of-the-art laboratory will be used for testing safety performance in vehicle-to-vehicle crashes and occupant protection performance in rollover accidents.

"We are very excited to have opened our second crash test facility in Japan," said Kimiyasu Nakamura, senior vice president at Nissan. "Nissan Advanced Crash Laboratory will go a long way to support the development of improved safety systems for Nissan's vehicles under our Safety Shield approach."

Safety Shield encompasses Nissan's safety-related technologies that address both accident prevention and management. Under this approach, which was introduced in fiscal year 2004, Nissan believes that the driver is key to improved safety when it comes to helping to prevent an accident from occurring. Nissan's focus is on how the company can best support the driver with technology that helps him or her avoid an accident or minimises damage in case of a crash.

Nissan's other crash test facility is located at the Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Kanagawa and is used for conducting vehicle tests using rigid or movable barriers.

At NACL, tests designed to reproduce vehicle-to-vehicle crashes can be conducted over a wide range of collision angles from 85 to 185 degrees in 5-degree increments, in addition to frontal collisions at 180 degrees and side collisions at 90 degrees.

Oblique-angle crashes between vehicles travelling in the same direction can also be reproduced at seven different collision angles of 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75 degrees.

At NACL, Nissan can also evaluate occupant protection performance in four types of rollover crash modes through a dolly rollover test*1, a trip-over test*2, a ditch rollover test*3 and a corkscrew test*4. The tests were developed by Nissan based on real-world accident analysis.

Long-term commitments to safety

Nissan has previously adopted technologies to help achieve better compatibility*5 such as its unique high-strength Zone Body*6 construction. The latest version has been used on Nissan's models since 2002 with the release of the present generation of the March compact car.

Nissan has set a goal of halving the number of traffic fatalities or serious injuries involving Nissan vehicles in Japan by 2015 compared with 1995. As of 2003, Nissan had reduced the number of fatal and serious injuries by 22% compared with 1995, indicating that steady progress is being made toward the attainment of its goal.

*1Dolly rollover test: Simulates a rollover kerb impact crash with the vehicle in a fixed position on a dolly.

*2Trip-over test: This test simulates an accident where a vehicle spins and slips sideways until it comes in contact with a kerb or some other formation that causes it to roll over.

*3Ditch rollover test: This test simulates an accident where a vehicle leaves the road, travels down a sloped embankment at an oblique angle and rolls over.

*4Corkscrew test: This test simulates an accident where the wheels on one side run up on the centre divider or some other structure, causing the vehicle to tip and roll over.

*5Compatibility: This refers to helping to improve the protection of the vehicle's occupant while reducing damage toward the occupants of the other vehicle.

*6Zone Body: The name of the high-strength body construction that Nissan has introduced since 1997. It combines a high-strength cabin (occupant zone) with impact-absorbing body structures (crushable zones) to help protect the vehicle's occupants.

11/08/05

Nissan at the 2005 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show

With the debut of NOTE, an innovative new small family car, the Micra C+C, a chic coupé/convertible and the new sporting Micra 160SR, Nissan is using the Frankfurt Motor Show to showcase its strengthened range of small cars.

At a glance:

o European debut of NOTE:
o Distinctive styling - practical yet dynamic
o The family car for the enthusiast
o Stylish Micra C+C:
o Coupe/convertible with standard glass hardtop
o 2+2 seating and best in class luggage capacity
o All built at Europe's most efficient plant

NOTE


The new Nissan NOTE is a roomy five-door hatchback that combines innovative styling and practicality with a strong sporting flavour. It is aimed at parents who have a need for a car to match their busy lives, but who don't want to stop having fun behind the wheel.

The NOTE has a dynamic stance and distinctive styling cues, which will appeal to buyers who have always considered design as an important priority when they're shopping for a car. But good style and fun to drive does not mean that the NOTE cannot meet the needs of busy families with a limited budget.

Inside, there is a vast amount of space thanks to the wheelbase of 2600mm - longer than that of a VW Golf - and the space can be maximised thanks to folding rear seats, as well as a sliding rear bench.

There will be four engine options: two 1.5 dCi diesels developing 50kW and 63kW (68 and 86PS) respectively, a 1.4-litre 65kW (88PS) petrol unit and a new 1.6-litre 81kW (110PS) petrol engine found in the new Micra 160SR and C+C.

Customer deliveries will begin in spring 2006.

Micra C+C

With the Frankfurt Motor Show debut of Micra C+C, Nissan is ready to open the latest chapter in the Micra success story. Thanks to its clever folding roof, Micra C+C allows owners the best of both worlds: fresh air when the weather allows and hardtop protection when it's inclement.

But Micra C+C introduces another ingredient to the mix, one that's unique in its class - the roof is all glass, so the elements can be enjoyed even in the depths of winter.

Undeniably elegant, Micra C+C is lower and longer than the hatchback Micra. The roof line, dictated by the steeply raked windscreen, is 110mm lower than on the conventional car while Micra C+C is 90mm longer overall: the extra length is all to the rear of the car where it provides the extra room needed to stow the hardtop behind the rear seats.

The hardtop itself is a work of art. With a one-touch operation and automatic latching and unlatching, it takes just 22 seconds to fold clamshell-style beneath the double-hinged trunk lid. With the roof folded, luggage space is a class leading 225 litres and that grows to 457 when the roof is up.

The C+C is powered by a 1.4- and a new 1.6-litre petrol engine, which is also used in the new Micra 160SR. Customer deliveries begin in November.

Micra 160SR

The culmination of a two-year project to develop a range-leader which would add spice and dynamism to the Micra range, the 160SR will satisfy enthusiastic drivers.

Central to the 160SR's character is the brand new 1.6-litre 16 valve four cylinder twin cam which develops 81kW (110hp) and 153Nm of torque. The engine gives the 160SR class leading performance with a top speed potential of 183km/h (114mph). Standing start acceleration sees the 160SR reach 100km/h (62mph) from rest in just
9.8 seconds.

To produce sharper, sportier handling the suspension has been stiffened and the power steering modified to give greater feel and feedback. In addition, electronic stability control has been made a standard feature.

29/07/05

Pathfinder Takes the Rough With Smooth V6


Nissan has added more cylinders and more power to the Pathfinder model range with the introduction of the 4.0 litre V6 T-SPEC, priced at £33,960 OTR. And if that's not smooth enough, Nissan is also tempting customers with one of the most advanced communications packages, worth £2000, as a free upgrade on the SVE model.

The Pathfinder 4.0 litre V6 shares its VQ engine with the award winning 350Z and the stylish Murano. There's added capacity, though, to suit this off-roader application - 3954cc, to be exact, 456 more than the 350Z. Producing 265bhp of power and 385Nm of torque through a five-speed automatic gearbox with manual override linked to a switchable high or low ratio transfer box, it propels the seven seater 4x4 to 62 mph in just 8.9 seconds. Which Nissan believes makes it the fastest SUV available, in the UK, with seven seats.*

Not only fast, it's also controllable. Nissan's 'All MODE' 4x4 system maintains traction in all conditions by transmitting power to the rear wheels until any wheel slip is detected. It will then transfer the power to the front wheels or with the help of Electronic Stability Program (ESP) apply a braking force to the offending wheel, or both, depending on the circumstances. Therefore maximum traction is always applied whether you are travelling on road or off-road.

The V6 is currently only available in range topping T-SPEC form. The T stands for Technology and to justify this here are some of the features included as standard:

Communication pack:

" DVD birdview satellite navigation system. This latest path-finding aid features voice recognition, a full seven inch colour screen, enough mapping to cover 21 countries throughout Europe plus traffic management channel (TMC) to help avoid any congested areas - leading you clearly and easily to your chosen route.
" Bluetooth phone connectivity. Just pair your phone up to the N-FORM console and full hands-free, voice activation operation can be applied via the screen monitor.
" Rear parking camera. Select reverse and a full colour image of the area behind you, along with guidance lines, is displayed on the 7-inch monitor.
" Premium Audio. An in-dash 6CD system with a superior sound quality specially tuned to the vehicle and featuring MP3 compatibility.

During August and September Nissan is offering the above Communication pack as a free upgrade on the 2.5dCi SVE. Normally this would add £2000 to the SVE's £28,760 price tag, which already includes the luxury of leather upholstery, electrically adjusted and heated front seats, five flat folding rear seats, 17" alloy wheels, privacy glass, Intelligent Key, front and rear climate controlled air-conditioning, auto headlamps, auto wipers and cruise control. Incidentally, all this is shared with the new V6 … along with the additions of xenon headlamps and an electric glass sunroof. Try specifying one of the Pathfinder's petrol-fuelled rivals to the same level and then compare prices. You'll find that the Nissan is much more affordable.

The Pathfinder V6 is on sale now, deliveries being expected in September. With this new combination of smooth power to tackle the rough, not to mention a technological offer to tempt the most loyal of land-roamers, many more SUV buyers should find their path takes them into a Nissan showroom.

27/07/05

Nissan's Movie Giveaway

Nissan's epic 'Original Drama' advertising campaign created by TBWA/London is to be launched as a full-length film on DVD as part of a Fox Television tie up. From August, anyone ordering a Murano, Pathfinder, 350Z or new Navara brochure will automatically get a copy. Just phone 08457 669966.

The original programming - which was aired between January and July during Sky One's weekly package of flagship drama series including '24', 'Nip/Tuck' and 'Dream Team' - was made up of one minute long mini-episodes. It was designed to grip viewers in the same way as the award winning drama '24'.

The huge number of hits on the website, phone calls to the company and amount of discussions on internet bulletin boards prompted Nissan to commission the special
20-minute version. The deal with Fox TV confirms the SHIFT_ in how this creative work has transcended the ad break to become an entertainment property in its own right.

Nissan's movie was shot in Nevada and Arizona. Believed to be the first time a short film has been distilled into a single advertising campaign, its storyline revolves around one un-named character and features four new models launched by Nissan in the UK during 2005: Murano, Pathfinder, 350Z Roadster and Navara. The tie-up, which reached its finale on the evening of the series-ending episode of '24', was the largest such entertainment package in Sky's history and marks Nissan's biggest UK television programme partnership to date.

The '24' DVD box set release comes with the Nissan film and will act as the trigger in another phase of Nissan marketing activity. The 300,000 copies of the '24' set released into shops will tempt customers into dealerships by including the chance to win luxury holidays if they take a test drive.

Nissan Marketing Director, Paul Willcox, said: "This is an inspirational campaign that has provided a great opportunity to promote our exciting range of vehicles and has brought our SHIFT_ marketing strategy to life. The promotion in connection with the '24' box set release uses advertising and PR to give customers the opportunity to win great prizes and test drive great product."

The campaign was written by TBWA/London creative team Matt Lever and Helen Board and directed by Patrik Bergh, winner of the 2002 Orange FilmFour Prize for Short Film.

27/07/05

Nissan Value-Up Fiscal Year 2005 First Quarterly Results

Nissan Revenue up 12.6%, Operating Profit up 10.7% in FY05 1st Qtr Net Income down 14.2% due to One-Time Charges

On July 26, 2005, Nissan announced results for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006. Consolidated net income after tax totaled 105.7 billion yen (US $0.98 billion, euro 0.77 billion) in the April-to-June quarter, down 14.2% compared with the same period last year. The drop was due to one-time charges related to a change in Japanese accounting standards for the treatment of fixed assets and the introduction of Nissan's defined contribution pension plan.

Excluding these one-time charges, Nissan's net profit increased by 4.1% to 128.2 billion yen (US $1.19 billion, euro 0.94 billion).

"Nissan achieved robust results last quarter due to brisk sales in the US and Japan, despite a tougher business environment," said CEO Ghosn. "We are maintaining our forecast for the full fiscal year," he added.

Net revenues amounted to 2.145 trillion yen (US $19.92 billion, euro 15.66 billion) in the April-to-June period, up 12.6% compared with a year ago. Operating profit totaled 206.3 billion yen (US $1.92 billion, euro 1.51 billion), up 10.7%, while Nissan's operating profit margin came to 9.6%. Ordinary profit amounted to 210.8 billion yen (US $1.96 billion, euro 1.54 billion), up 17.4%.

Nissan has forecast full fiscal year net income of 517 billion yen, net revenues of 9 trillion yen, operating profit of 870 billion yen and ordinary profit of 860 billion yen. The forecast is based on exchange rates of 105 yen/dollar and 130 yen/euro.

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2005, Nissan sold a total of 879,000 vehicles worldwide, an increase of 14.3% compared with last year, supported by new and existing products. This fiscal year, Nissan plans to release a total of six all-new models around the world, including the new Serena minivan and the Otti minicar recently launched in Japan.

19/07/05

X-Trail Gets Fat Faced

The active lifestyle clothing brand, Fat Face, is putting its name to a car for the first time. And appropriately it's the surf and ski friendly Nissan X-TRAIL that the company has chosen to brand. There's a choice of a 2.5-litre petrol at £18,995 or 2.2-litre dCi diesel for £20,295. With DVD satellite navigation as standard, they save the customer as much as £1850 against an X-TRAIL Sport.

The X-TRAIL Fat Face is orderable now, first deliveries being due in August. Born on the ski slopes of Japan, it's loaded with kit to suit the sort of people who wear Fat Face clothes. Take the Europe wide DVD satellite navigation system, for example. Worth £1200 and standard till now only on the range topping X-TRAIL T-SPEC, the system is fully integrated into the Fat Face dashboard and will guide its crew to the beaches of Newquay as well as to the slopes of Meribel where Fat Face was first created. Cruise control will ease the journey and Nissan's electronic ALL-MODE 4x4 system should ensure a slip free arrival … whatever the weather.

One of the reasons the X-TRAIL has won so many awards (17 at the last count) is its cleverly designed interior. The boot is a carpet-free zone so wet or muddy stuff can be chucked in as they are - the boot floor is removable for a hose down later. Stow the rear seats away and the X-TRAIL will swallow a couple of mountain bikes, dirty tyres and all. With four people aboard, a hatch in the middle of the rear seat allows snowboards or skis to be carried inside. And the alloy pedals mean the driver can keep his or her boots on behind the wheel.

Other outdoor friendly gear includes a giant panoramic sunroof giving even rear seat passengers a great skywards view of the cliffs above. Drinks can be chilled in dashboard-mounted holders and there's a cool-box, too. A choice of five colours, chunky 17" alloy wheels, a roof-mounted spoiler and a Fat Face label on the X-TRAIL's pert behind complete this well-dressed SUV.

A few months ago the X-TRAIL collected the "Best Compact 4x4" award from What Car? It should also get the vote of Fat Face wearers not least because the X-TRAIL is built to take the knocks and is made from top quality materials. Just like the clothes.

15/07/05

Renault-Nissan Alliance Announce Uk Recycling Agreement

Renault UK Ltd and Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd have entered into an agreement with Cartakeback.com Ltd to provide Renault and Nissan owners with a take-back service for End of Life Vehicles (ELVs).

Renault and Nissan owners will have the possibility to dispose of their vehicles at the end of its useful life, free of charge, at a member of the Cartakeback Network from 1 January 2007.

The Cartakeback Network will cover all regions of the UK and all sites will operate in conformity with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) requirements.

ELVs will be treated to meet the recycling and recovery target of 85 percent by weight from 2006 in line with the requirements of the EC End of Life Vehicle Directive.

14/07/05

Nissan Widens Its Flares

Nissan is donning its Lionel Blairs again and adding a new model to the Flare range. The Primera Flare offers customers big savings and lots of extra equipment thrown in too.

Based on the entry-level S model, the 1.8-litre five-door Primera is priced at just £12,495. That's a saving of £2360 over the S and it comes with £1800 worth of additional equipment. In addition to the standard six airbags, climate control, electric windows and ABS with EBD, Flare customers also get a colour rear view camera, which makes parking more of a miss than a hit affair, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, front fog lamps and 16" alloy wheels.

The Flare range also includes the Almera and Tino models that were introduced in April. Both models offer free rear parking sensors and significant customer savings over the S model on which they're based.

06/07/05

New Navara Numbers In

Nissan's all new, rival-bashing Navara can be ordered now for delivery in August. Many of the new Navara's numbers are already out there, for example its class leading 174PS power output which Nissan likes to mention at every opportunity. 174PS … there it is again. To the formula can now be added prices: they start from £14,695 (ex-VAT, on the road) for the standard King Cab. That's just a ninth of the Navara story.

The Navara King Cab will be available in three varieties: standard, SE and Outlaw. The Navara Double Cab is offered in the same but with the addition of a new range topper with a new name to Nissan, the Aventura. It's Spanish for adventure and is the best-equipped pick-up ever sold officially in the UK with a specification to shame a £40,000 SUV. Yet this Navara costs roughly half that. For most, though, the pick of this pick-up range will be the Outlaw Double Cab. It's priced at £18,195 which Nissan claims is better value than less powerful and less roomy rivals. But let's start with the standard setting 'standard' Navara.

This workhorse shares its tall, broad-shouldered styling with the rest of the range. Nissan's trademark 4x4 grille, colour coded for this version, sends out don't-mess-with-me messages. Mess, though, is exactly what this pick-up has been built to cope with. Its part time four-wheel drive system is electrically selected via an easy to use rotary dial on the dashboard. There are high and low ratios with the crawl ratio giving outstanding traction particularly on steep descents. Nissan also fits as standard a limited slip differential as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and Brake Assist.

Up front there are twin airbags and a single CD audio system. Plus there's a choice of pillar-less King Cab version with rear-hinged rear doors and fold down jump seats, or for £15,745 the crew friendly Double Cab. A metal guard is fitted to protect the rear window to which tools can also be tied, while a tubular rear bumper allows this Navara to be loaded by a fork lift. Both have remote control central locking and an alarm. Given the standard Navara's utilitarian intentions, the only option is manual air conditioning for £450. Or, for another £1400, you could step up to the Navara SE. (All prices quoted are on the road and excluding VAT.)

The SE stands out to help you step up by virtue of its side bars and chunky chrome back bumper. The front bumper is now body coloured and chrome is liberally applied to the grille. The wheels grow to 17" and are the same alloy design used on Nissan's latest SUV, the Pathfinder with which the Navara shares so much … electronic climate control, a leather steering wheel, electric and heated door mirrors, a fold flat passenger seat, and active front headrests, for example. They all feature on the Navara SE.

What you can also get on a Navara SE (but not on a Pathfinder) is Nissan's innovative C-channel system and an external guard frame for the back of the cab. For £200, this so-called Utility Pack builds in five rails to the load bay (one on either side of the load floor, plus one on each of the three fixed sides of the pick-up bed) into which self-locking cleats can be placed to provide fixed points for securing ropes.

The C-channel is just one of the many extras included as standard when you step up to the Navara Outlaw. Having this iconic (in pick-up circles) badge on the Navara's quick-release tailgate adds £900 in King Cab form or £1050 in Double Cab. That translates to £16,995 and £18,195 respectively, the difference in premium being accounted for by the Double Cab's added roof rails. Destined to be the most popular version in the range, the Outlaw is loaded with equipment that will have the average pick-up driver thinking he (or she) has died and gone to SUV heaven: automatic headlamps, headlamp wash, rain sensing windscreen wipers, a trip computer, cruise control, front fogs, a 6CD autochanger with steering wheel controls and rear dark tinted glass. This is one blingin' truck. And it's as much as £2170 more affordable than its Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford and Isuzu rivals once you adjust their specifications to match the Navara Outlaw's.

But the available features haven't stopped yet. DVD satellite navigation, a premium audio system with MP3 compatability, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity plus front side and curtain airbags are also available - at least if you've ordered an Outlaw King Cab and have a spare £1700 handy for this aptly named Hitech Pack. The Outlaw Double Cab gets its own £1375 option pack with, now get this, an electric glass sunroof, front side and curtain airbags, leather seat trim, and electrically adjustable seats. Would you believe they're heated, too? The pick-up has come a long way.

Going a long way is one of the £20,995 Aventura's many capabilities. With the just described Hitech and Premium Packs fitted as standard, there's never been a more comprehensively equipped pick-up officially sold in the UK. What's more, like the Outlaw Double Cab, buyers can choose five speed automatic transmission for £975 making it the ninth of the nine different Navaras. Is there another vehicle on the market that can carry 1097kg of whatever and tow a 2.6 tonne trailer yet guide its occupants to their destination by DVD satnav while they sit in climate controlled, Bluetooth linked, leather trimmed comfort? Nissan doesn't think so.

More remarkable, given what you've just read, are the Navara's green credentials. And we're not talking about its likely popularity amongst landscape gardeners. The four-wheel drive Navara 6-speed pick-up is more economical (33.2mpg on the combined cycle) and emits less CO2 (226 g/km) than many passenger cars including, for example, an Audi A6 2.4. Of more interest to the building trade, though, will be the Navara's commercial vehicle classification and the news that both versions have the greatest load floor areas in their class: the Double Cab's is 2.36m2 and the King Cab's is 2.9 m2, big enough to carry 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood …surprisingly quickly. Acceleration to 62mph takes between 10.8 and 11.5 seconds depending on version. It doesn't hang about between gears either, not with 403Nm of torque available at just 2000rpm. And we almost forgot to mention its peak power output (again) - 174PS at 4000rpm. Looks like every rival pick-up's number is most surely up.

30/06/05

Eric Laurencier Appointed As Vice President Communications for Nissan Europe

Trappes, France, 30 June, 2005 - Eric Laurencier has been appointed by Nissan Europe as its new Vice President for Communications. This appointment becomes effective on 1 July, 2005.

Laurencier replaces Frederique Le Grevès who was assigned to head Nissan's communications department in North America. In his new role, Laurencier will be responsible for Product, Internal and Corporate communications across Nissan's European operations in 31 countries. He will be based in France at Nissan Europe's headquarters and report to Dominique Thormann, Senior Vice President, Administration and Finance.

Laurencier, 38, joins the company with 13 years experience in communications and public relations. "Eric brings us a solid corporate communications background and a natural sense for creative and effective PR approaches. He will help us build a pan-European communications team to support the development of our brand into a truly iconic one," said Dominique Thormann.

Over the past six years, Laurencier has held numerous positions at Coca-Cola France. Since 2004, he was head of the Communications and Consumer Relations department and was a member of the France Leadership Team since 2002. He joined the company as the PR manager and spokesperson in 1999. Prior to Coca-Cola, Laurencier served as Euro Disney's Corporate Communications Manager from 1995 through 1999, and as a communications consultant from 1992 to 1995.

Laurencier holds a Masters degree in German from Paris University.

In Europe, Nissan employs approximately 12,000 people in its design, research and development, manufacturing, logistics, and sales and marketing operations. Last year, the company produced a total of 448,513 vehicles in its Spanish and British plants and sold 543,948 vehicles in Europe. Nissan Europe's Head Office is based in Trappes (Paris), France.

30/06/05

Nissan Gets Off With Fat Face

Fat Face, the UK's leading active clothing company, has chosen several Nissans to support them at sporting events throughout the year. Two Pathfinders, a couple of X-TRAILs and a Patrol will be used at 71 different locations starting with the Henley Regatta on 1 July.

Will Blair, Fat Face marketing manager, explains why the company chose Nissan as its show partner: "We believe that 'life is out there' and how better to get there than in a Nissan 4x4. Our events and marketing teams are out and about all over the country attending loads of lifestyle and sporting events and opening new stores. The fully branded vehicles work as an excellent platform for the marketing campaigns and the power and size of the Patrol and the new Pathfinder mean that towing the events trailer around becomes a pleasure.

"Once on site the events vehicles get used for local campaigns, staff movements and getting Fat Face Team Riders and film crews into the heart of the action wherever it might be … on the beach, up a mountain, to the ocean or across the land. With the Nissan's massive load capacity, it means that loading all the equipment from wakeboards to mountain bikes is easy. "

The Pathfinder is an intelligent mix of a powerful, capable 4x4 and a versatile seven seater. It has Nissan's acclaimed ALL-MODE electronic four-wheel drive system and traction control to get its passengers to the beach on time. And for Fat Face, the Pathfinder's unmistakable, tall and broad-shouldered styling will ensure the company gets noticed at every show.

The highly acclaimed X-TRAIL which has won the Auto Express best recreational 4x4 award every year it has entered is an advanced sports utility vehicle that's equally at home on or off-road.

And finally, the iconic Patrol. Throughout Nissan's 52 year history of producing 4x4s, there's always been a Patrol. Built to tackle the toughest terrain on the planet, it has secured numerous victories in rallies and is the vehicle of choice for emergency services, peace-keeping forces … and now Fat Face. Though it's unlikely it'll be dealing with any riots at Henley.

On the road prices start at £16,145 for a 2.0 16v X-TRAIL, £24,000 for a 2.5 dCi Pathfinder and £25,350 for an S-grade 3.0 Di Patrol.

05/07/05

Platinum Nissan To Supply Wiltshire County Council Vehicles

Platinum Nissan in Trowbridge is delighted to have secured a contract with Masterlease in order to supply all of the vehicles for Wiltshire County Council's company car scheme.

Renrod Ltd (owner of the Platinum group of dealerships and associated company Wellsway) is delighted to have agreed the contract with Masterlease, resulting in their Trowbridge based Platinum Nissan being chosen to supply all of the vehicles for the Council's supported lease scheme for its staff. The orders commenced at the beginning of April.

Platinum Nissan's Brand Manager, Richard Pulsford was pivotal in negotiating the contract with Masterlease, ensuring that all of Masterleases' and the Council's requirements were fulfilled.

Mr Pulsford said, "We are delighted to have agreed terms and to now be doing business with Masterlease for the staff of Wiltshire County Council and we look forward to an ongoing relationship. This is especially significant for Platinum Nissan in Trowbridge as it is a new business and sister site to the Box, Near Bath dealership. In addition to supplying the vehicles, we will also maintain and service them as and when required."

Helen Danford, Senior Procurement Officer at Wiltshire County Council, is pleased to joined forces with Renrod Ltd. She said, "Since the start of the arrangement with Platinum in April 2005, around 20 drivers have ordered the Nissan vehicles. It is particularly convenient to most of our drivers to have access to a local dealership, and I think those drivers who have already had their cars delivered have been pleasantly surprised by the speed with which their vehicles have been delivered."

Creating a gateway to Wiltshire's county town of Trowbridge, the 5.25-acre Platinum Motor Park represents the Nissan, Vauxhall, Toyota and Renault brands. Opened at the end of December 2004 and now fully operational, four franchise trained teams are in place to help and advise customers in choosing their next vehicle, or for assisting in the all important aftercare of service, parts and bodyshop.

28/06/05

Murano Is Best For Blue


Top UK band Blue's lead s
inger Duncan James has chosen a Nissan Murano 3.5 V6 to drive from venue to venue for their upcoming UK tour… and probably beyond. The "Best of Blue" tour started in Sheffield on 25 June and takes in seven cities with the grand finale taking place over three days at Wembley Arena on July 7/8/9.

Duncan commented: "I first spotted the Murano whilst in the States and thought it looked great. When I heard they were now available in the UK I just had to have one."

Nissan's Murano is a crossover between a 4x4 and a luxury saloon. It first went on sale in December 2002 across the pond and UK sales started in March 2005. Already more than half this year's allocation has been sold.

With the standard specification on the Murano being so high - 18" alloys, a Bose stereo, a colour rear-view camera, leather upholstery, a DVD satellite navigation system, and xenon headlamps are just a few of the standard features - Duncan didn't have to spend ages choosing what to have. There is however one optional extra available, a DVD player. Duncan wasted no time ordering one for his car.

Powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 engine as the 350Z to give sub 9 seconds acceleration to 62mph, the Murano is priced at £29,995. Yes, even celebrities can spot value when they see it.

23/06/05

Nissan Is Miles Ahead On South African Patrol


Thousands of miles with nothing but a big diesel engine and a roof-top tent for company. That's what lies in store for an intrepid team of Barclays bank executives, managing directors and staff members as they embark on a five month trek to Cape Town, South Africa, using you guessed it … four Nissan Patrols.

The Barclays Miles Ahead party left Canary Wharf in London on 14 June, with the aim of raising awareness for the various community partners, NGO's and causes they support throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Nissan South Africa has customised the four Patrols specifically for the trip. The vehicles will be used as a base for the teams throughout the expedition, so they have been kitted out to 5-star hotel standards with state-of-the-art GPS tracking systems, masses of storage and an ingenious roof-top tent. All this kit is in addition to standard Patrol features such as anti-lock brakes, driver/passenger airbags, air conditioning and a full armoury of off-road, mechanical weapons.

The teams participating will visit and take part in various community initiatives planned in each of the countries. Events, such as football, sailing, sponsored marathons, bungee jumping and white water rafting, will be held in Barclays' presence countries to rally support and awareness for the charities.
As the convoy weaves through 13 different countries over five months, first crossing Europe and then into Africa via Egypt, it aims to interact and build relationships with the individual communities on route.

The expedition aims to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa by November.

21/06/05

Nissan At Goodwood


Nissan will be showing its performance side at the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed (24-26 June) with cars you can buy and some you can't. Leading the charge will be a 350Z specially developed by Nissan Motorsport International. The company also played an important role in assisting RML motorsport to build a unique 350Z engined Micra to be displayed on Nissan's stand. Parked alongside it will be the rather more available Micra 160SR as well as the 350Z Roadster, a Murano and the new Navara, the most powerful pick-up officially imported into the UK. Driving in the Contemporary Racing Saloon Cars category will be the race winning '99 Primera BTCC car. And festival goers will be able to get dirty in a Pathfinder or Patrol on the 4x4 course.

Nissan Motorsport International - NISMO - specially developed a version of the 350Z to celebrate their win in the Japanese 2004 GT500 Touring Car Championship. It's called the NISMO 350Z S-tune GT and is a road-going version of the race car. 20 are hand-built every month in Japan and the car driving at Goodwood, specially imported by Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd., is believed to be the only one in the UK. The S-tune has extended front and rear bumpers, side-sills and a rear wing modelled on the GT car. As if that wasn't enough, NISMO five-spoke 19" wheels, racing stripes and pearlescent white paint will ensure this Nissan gets noticed in the Brooklands paddock.

Under the bonnet, NISMO has extensively modified Nissan's VQ35 engine to give 300PS and a maximum rev limit of 7200rpm. The exhaust and cooling system has also been uprated, the clutch reinforced and NISMO's G-ATTACK S-tune suspension system installed. The interior hasn't been neglected, either. Lightweight, Alcantara upholstered racing seats will keep the drivers securely planted during the Supercar run. Just as well because piloting the S-tune on the Sunday of Goodwood will be experienced driver and Sky News presenter, Ginny Buckley.

The NISMO 350Z S-tune GT, worth around £50,000, is attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed to give more exposure to Nissan's motorsport arm. Although Nissan doesn't officially import the S-tune into the UK, the standard 350Z Coupe and Roadster are on sale here in limited numbers. And a less dramatic version of the S-tune's bodykit and its 19" wheels are available from Nissan dealers.

NISMO has also breathed on the engine that has been fitted to a very special Micra which, too, is making its debut at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Micra R shown at last year's event has become the Micra 350SR after a heart transplant conducted by Ray Mallock Limited based in Wellingborough using a 350Z engine with NISMO parts to produce 310PS and 363Nm of torque. Its engine is rear mounted, where the Micra's rear seat would normally go, and drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox shared with the American market Nissan Altima SE-R. 350Z wheels and hubs are used along with specially machined drive shafts. Painted in the 2005 350Z Japanese GT touring car colours, the muscular Micra 350SR will be showing off its new engine on the Nissan stand. Its sub-five second 0-60mph acceleration and 150mph+ top speed will be proven at a later date.

The Primera being entered into Goodwood's 'Supermarket to Supertouring' category has nothing to prove. This is the car that won Nissan the manufacturer's title in the 1999 British Touring Car Championship and marked the final development of the ultimate Supertourer. The Primera, now owned by Pro Motorsport Ltd. and sponsored by Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd., will be driven at Goodwood by Anthony Reid, a name familiar from Nissan's 1997 and '98 teams.

20/06/05

The End Of The Blind Spot


Nissan is currently developing a system that will eliminate blind spots from around the vehicle with a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area displayed on a central monitor.

Rear view cameras are becoming more of a standard feature these days … at least on Nissans. The rear view system now available on nearly every model in the Nissan range eliminates the worst blind spot during reversing i.e. what's beneath your rear window. But there's a second blind spot along both sides of the car. To eliminate this, side mounted cameras need to be fitted as they have been to the Presage model on sale in Japan since June 2003. Now Nissan is testing front mounted cameras. Even more amazing is that the driver sees an image on the dashboard mounted monitor as if he or she were looking down onto the car. It also shows up everything around it.

Cameras mounted at the front and rear and on both sides take pictures of the surrounding road surface, which are synthesized by an image processing technique into one view that is shown on a central display. The system is especially helpful when parking, enabling the driver to steer easily and precisely into a parking space. It also eliminates any fear of running over the neighbour's prized belongings or posts or animals or anything else for that matter.

Although there is no confirmed release date for this advanced technology or what vehicle it will be fitted to, the luxury arm of Nissan, known as 'Infiniti', is due to arrive in Europe starting with Russia before 2008, so you never know…

20/06/05

Best Dressed Micra Off The Peg For Less

The refreshed Micra has only been out a week but Nissan has wasted no time in launching a dressed up version with a toned down price. Badged the Sport+ and based on the Sport, this six model range-within-a-range each saves the buyer £1735.

Prices start at £8795 for the 80PS 1.2 three-door. That's £985 less than the Sport on which it's based, on top of which Nissan has thrown in an Urban Sport pack worth £750 containing the 16" graphite coloured alloy wheels from the 160SR, aluminium look pedals, Sport+ badging and air conditioning. For another £300, Nissan will exchange the 1.2 for an 88PS 1.4-litre engine. Or for £800 more (that's £9895 in total), there's the option of the frugal 82PS dCi motor with an average fuel consumption of 62.3mpg and plenty of diesel pull. Five door versions of each add £650.

Externally, this Micra Sport is almost indistinguishable from the 160SR 'street racer' with bigger impact absorbing bumpers, dark tinted headlamps, front spot lamps, side sills and tailgate spoiler. Under its curvy skin, the special Micra has all the added refinements of the refreshed range such as better sound proofing, stiffened internal panels and new door seals. Boring stuff, maybe, but it gives this small car big car hush.

Nissan has been to town with this limited edition Micra dressing it up with an in-dash 6CD autochanger, a leather steering wheel, one touch up/down electric windows, air conditioning, driver info computer and electric door mirrors. The driver's accessories can go in the 13 litre glovebox. Or there's another secret storage area for a pair of shoes or a camera, say - can't tell you where it is or it won't be a secret any more.

If you like leather on your chairs as well as your feet, Nissan offers hide seats for £850. And if air conditioning isn't enough, an electric sunroof can also be added for £375.

All six versions are available on Preferences, Nissan's personal leasing plan, with a 0% finance over two years and zero deposit making it even easier to SHIFT_ into a new Micra. Remember, though, these city slicking Micras are only available for a limited time.

17/06/05

Murano's Rush Hour Entertainment


Everyone hates that sinking feeling when the traffic news announces severe delays on all routes into and out of London. But the mundane slog along the notoriously congested A4 will have a new addition from 6 June… the Nissan Murano.

Nissan has recruited two of Britain's premier sculptors, Lolly Batty and Richard Smith, to shape a Nissan Murano from a half-ton block of polyfoam above the Hammersmith stretch of the A4. An estimated 600,000 people will pass the unique glass fronted gallery each week. Commuters will be able to watch the sculpture take shape over three weeks, ending in a reveal of an actual Murano from the 27 June.

Sculpting will start at 07:30, just in time for the morning rush hour, and end at 15:30. Then the sculptors' progress will be lit with UV beams, illuminating the work throughout the night.

This is the first time 'live' sculpture has been used by a manufacturer to advertise a product and is particularly fitting for the Murano. In the Murano Nissan has combined the best bits of a 350Z with 4x4 capability to create a true crossover vehicle. Features of the Murano include a de-tuned version of the Z's 3.5 V6 engine, coupled with a revolutionary CVT transmission and ALL MODE 4x4 first seen in the X-TRAIL. But it's the sculptured styling that really grabs your attention. Especially on the A4.

For those who are lucky enough to avoid the A4 in the morning, a time-lapse film of the entire installation will be added to the Nissan website early in July.

16/06/05

Street chic - new season's new Micra


In the world of high fashion, looks change with the season. The same goes for the world of stylishly elegant city cars and the Micra is no exception - just two years after it went on sale, the chic Nissan Micra has gone under the surgeon's knife. And there are more changes beneath its skin.

The resulting nip 'n' tuck plus colour make-over keeps the Micra looking as young and as sophisticated as ever. New Sport and 160SR versions on sale now as well as the clever Micra C+C coupé-convertible that comes later to SHIFT_ the Micra's undoubted appeal further. All were designed and engineered in the UK and they'll be built here at Nissan's highly productive plant in Sunderland.

Aside from the new 160SR, changes made to the Micra might look minor… but they go deeper than a quick glance suggests. The most obvious external changes are a new-look nose and tail, while inside there are revised seats and trim. Outside and in there are new colours, too.

But the arguably more significant changes can be found in the detail. Major programmes have been undertaken to improve still further the car's refinement levels with better sound proofing and extra measures taken to isolate noise from the engine compartment. The enhancements even extend to thicker door glass to reduce wind and traffic noise.

There's greater comfort on offer with more supportive seats while the revised dashboard includes a new trip computer housed within the instrument panel rather than the centre console: this not only makes the information easier to access but also permits the option of an in-dash six disc CD-changer in the centre console.

New user-friendly features, such as automatic lighting control, add to the already impressive roster of helpful on-board technology while the new Micra is also better prepared to deal with street fighters - the bumpers are sturdier to offer greater protection from those who park by ear.

The 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre versions of the familiar 16-valve twin cam unit from the CR family of engines and the two 1.5-litre common-rail diesel models continue unchanged. But the 1.0-litre engine previously fitted to the entry-level Micra E has now been replaced with a 65PS version of the 1.2.
At the top of the range, there's a brand new engine. The unit, which has been developed specifically for the Micra, is based on the new 1.5-litre HR engine that powers the Japanese-market Note and Tiida models. For Micra, it has been increased in capacity to 1598cc to develop 110PS and 153Nm of torque. The new engine can be found not only in the 160SR but also later in the C+C.

UK customers can now choose from two Micra collections: Classic and Sport.

The Changes In Detail

Exterior


Although the rounded shape of the new Micra remains largely unchanged, the latest version enjoys a number of subtle improvements designed to keep its city-chic image right up to the minute.

The most obvious external changes are up front. A revised grille now incorporates a longer horizontal silver bar in front of a honeycomb mesh while grille-mounted front direction indicators are better integrated with clear glass rather than amber lenses.

The lower portion of the front bumper assembly has also been changed - there are now two distinct versions to differentiate sporting Micras from the Classic models. The Sport and 160SR have an aggressive-looking wide intake with a more angular shape to the moulding, and deep inset fog lamps either side. The Classic range has a more rounded opening and the overall design of the bumper is curvier with integrated rubbing strips.

Sporting models also have revised rear bumpers with a lower central cut-out and pronounced lower ridge which picks up a styling line from subtly extended sills. They also feature a new body colour roof spoiler. Classic models have a slimmer rear bumper and new rubbing strips.

In all cases the bumpers are stronger than before, for which we can thank the French. Pourquoi? Soon after the Micra was launched in 2003, a team of engineers from Nissan's Bedfordshire based Technical Centre undertook a fact-finding trip across Europe. They spent several weeks in major cities observing city life. Parking techniques varied dramatically from country to country. While in London, for example, parking is a relatively polite undertaking, in Paris it's far more brutal. In one case, the team watched open-mouthed as a Parisian driver used his car to shunt two others further up the street so he could squeeze his in at the end of the bay. Mon dieu.

As a result of this urban surveillance, the impact resistant bumper material has been increased in thickness from 2.2mm to 2.5mm and up to 3.0mm in areas of particular vulnerability. At the same time integrated mouldings have been added to the front and rear bumpers of Classic models (painted black or body colour depending on the version) along with the option of side rubbing strips. The brackets behind the bumpers have also been reprofiled and strengthened.

In keeping with the exterior changes, the Micra is now offered in new season Cool Blue (a light ice blue) and Café Latte paint shades. Two other colours previously available only on the Urbis limited edition - Emotion Red and Soft Green - are now available across the line-up. New wheel trims and 15 or 16 inch alloy designs (standard on the 160SR, optional on certain other models) complete the exterior mods.

Interior

Colour revisions can also be found inside the latest Micra. Consultants at Nissan's new colour studio in Paddington have identified street fashion combinations such as Ice Blue/Chestnut and Sand/Chestnut from hanging out in the trendier parts of London and people watching. In both cases, the lighter colour can be found on the seats, revised door trims and dashboard where it contrasts dramatically with the darker shade. For the not so brave, an all-black interior is also available.

New seat designs, including a more firmly bolstered version for Sport and 160SR models, provide greater comfort and support. There are a total of 11 different colour/fabric combinations, including two-tone leather trim that's optional on the 160SR. The lever used to release the front seats on three door models has been repositioned nearer the top of the backrest where it's easier to reach. And the backrest also now returns to the preferred angle once the rear seats have been accessed.

The dashboard has been altered with the trip computer read-out repositioned between the dials in the instrument panel where it's quicker to see. The computer's functions encompass clock, outside air temperature, A and B trip meters, journey time, average speed, fuel consumption and range. It also houses a service interval indicator and, a new feature, an oil level indicator.

The instruments, which are now chrome ringed, have also been changed, with grey-on-ivory dials on sporting models and white-on-black dials for other versions. Manual transmissioned Micras gain a chrome ring around the gear lever surround. Moving the trip computer read-out from the centre console has allowed an in-dash six disc CD-changer (standard on SE and above) to be incorporated into the sound system, while other improvements include the adoption of easier-to-grip rubberised knurled wheels for the fresh air vents in place of plastic thumbwheels. The rear window wiper now has a longer blade to sweep more of the screen - small things, perhaps, but important when it comes to a customer's perception of overall quality.

The same can be said for the work that has gone into enhancing the Micra's refinement levels. Greater comfort goes far deeper than new seats and much of the improvements to the latest Micra can be found under the skin where stiffer internal body panels and better noise insulation combine to increase refinement by reducing engine, road and wind noise.

Principal changes designed to lower wind noise centre on revised door seals and thicker front door glass on five door models, while new rear wheel arch liners have been added. These have the dual benefits of improving appearance by concealing the exhaust, fuel feed hose and parts of the under-body structure, at the same time as reducing splash noise when driving in the rain.

Engine boom has also been reduced by the stiffening of body panels between the engine bay and cabin - notably the front bulkhead, transmission tunnel and upper dashboard assembly, while the front roof structure has also been stiffened, the roof rail having been increased in thickness from 0.62mm to 0.72mm.

At the same time, a new engine isolation pack has been developed with thicker insulation material and improved grommets for better bulkhead sealing. Diesel models have also been fitted with a new steering vibration damper. Other quality improvements include thicker carpets in the luggage area and the adoption of a new luggage spacer in the spare wheel well to house the tools and jack to prevent rattling.

New features

One of the keys to new Micra's sales success has been the inclusion of practical technology - features more usually found on bigger cars, but which are easy to use and add functionality. Talking of keys, the Intelligent Key, which allows the doors and boot to be locked and unlocked and the engine started without the need to dive deep into a handbag, has proved to be a much loved feature of the Micra and is retained on the SVE. It's optional on others as part of the appropriately named Clever Pack.

The same goes for the automatic wipers and the rear parking proximity sensors. For the latest Micra, Nissan has added the option of automatic operation of the lights.

A new sensor-controlled setting on the lighting stalk allows the lights to be set to automatic, ensuring that the headlamps switch themselves on and off. As well as increasing comfort by reducing the driver's workload, auto lighting boosts safety by ensuring the headlights are always on when needed. So no more driving off at night with the lights inadvertently switched off, or being plunged into the dark when entering a tunnel or underground car park.

Model range

Three petrol engines and two diesel options power the new Micra, power outputs ranging from 65PS to 110PS. The common rail 1.5-litre, eight valve four cylinder turbo diesel - developed by Alliance partner Renault - is available in two states of tune, developing 65PS or 82PS when intercooled.

Nissan's CR family of petrol engines is available in either 1.2- (1240cc) or 1.4-litre (1385cc) forms. The 1.2 is available in two levels of tune developing 65PS and 80PS respectively, while the 1.4 develops 88PS. All are 16 valve four cylinder all-alloy units and comply with Euro IV emissions regulations. The third petrol engine, also Euro IV compliant, is a new, lightweight, low friction, 1.6-litre which develops 110PS and powers the 160SR. The higher powered 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol versions are available with the option of a four speed automatic gearbox in place of the standard five speed manual transmission.

Range line-up and prices

Customers browsing at their local Nissan store will be able to select from two Micra lines, Classic and Sport. There are four Classic styles: E, S, SE and SVE. Alternatively, on the trendy rail there are three: Sport, Sport with Appearance pack, and 160SR.

The Micra E is powered by a new version of the 1.2-litre petrol engine and gives 65PS. At £8075 for the three-door or £8725 for the five- Nissan would argue it makes an interesting real car alternative to the new crop of smaller city runabouts. Despite the E's budget status, it still comes equipped with twin airbags, electric speed sensitive power steering, electric front windows, a CD player, anti-lock brakes with brakeforce distribution, remote central locking with anti-hijack feature, and many other life-easing convenience features such as can-holders front and rear plus a bag hook. Anyone for a curry?

The S adds the 80PS edition of the 1.2 motor as standard plus side airbags, a sliding rear seat (to vary the passenger space vs. cargo ratio), three rear headrests and active front seat headrests all for £555. For another £700, you can go for dCi power in 65PS tune.

If you've got a further £1000 handy, the SE adds aircon, the in-dash 6CD autochanger with 6 speakers, 15" wheels, electric door mirrors, leather steering wheel, upgraded trim and a storage box under the front passenger seat. At this level you could also choose the 1.4-litre petrol engine or dCi 82PS diesel. SE prices range from £9630 for the 1.2 three-door up to £11,480 for the 1.4 five-door with automatic transmission.

The snazziest classic trim is worn by the Micra SVE. It's £1245 more than the equivalent SE but adds electronic climate control, 15" alloys in a new design, rear parking sensors, side curtain airbags, Intelligent Key and automatic headlights plus wipers. 1.4 manual and auto or 1.5 dCi 82PS engines are offered. The latter in five-door form is £12,625.

For anyone seeking a racier looking small car, Nissan has created the Micra Sport. Prices start at £9780 for the 1.2-litre three-door. The 1.4-litre petrol engine adds £300 to this and the 1.5-litre dCi 82PS a further £800. Five-door versions are available, too. Based on the Micra S, the Sport gets a different exterior look with bumpers, spoilers and tinted lamps borrowed from the 160SR. The 15" alloy wheels are different though. Inside, the Sport gets, well, sporty trim and seats plus a leather rimmed steering wheel, trip computer and in-dash 6CD autochanger. For another £750, Nissan has put together aircon, the 160SR's 16" alloys and aluminium look pedals in one tempting pack. Style-wise, the Sport makes a further SHIFT_ for Micra.

Despite its comparatively short life, the current Micra has had a significant effect on Nissan sales and on the company's image. As well as appealing to previous Micra owners, the friendly rounded shape of the current model has found a discerning new audience.

The latest Micra, as intended, has attracted younger owners to the marque while the percentage of female buyers has risen, too. Today, some 66 per cent of owners are female while the average buyer is in her (or sometimes his) mid-40s, down from an average 52.5 years for the previous generation Micra. And the named buyer isn't necessarily the driver so the real age is likely to be even lower.

At the same time, the number of buyers new to Nissan - the so-called conquest purchasers - has risen to account for more than 70 per cent of all new sales. The latest changes are expected to maintain the female/male ownership percentage but to lower the average age to 44 years and to boost conquest sales to 80 per cent. That's sales nicked from other brands for anyone not conversant in marketingese.

14/06/05

Nissan Micra C+C

Opening time for Micra C+C

The latest chapter in the Micra story is set to open with the arrival of the Micra C+C coupé/convertible which was designed and engineered in the UK and will be built here, too. Thanks to its clever folding roof, Micra C+C allows owners the best of both worlds: fresh air when the weather allows and hardtop protection when it doesn't. But the Micra C+C has another trick up its well-tailored sleeve - a C-VIEW® glass roof that allows the elements to be enjoyed even in the depths of winter, a first in its class. Just as well because sales start in time for Christmas.

"Chic, elegant and modern, Micra C+C adds a new dimension to the Micra family. Not only does it provide all the style of a convertible, it remains a practical prospect thanks to its sizeable boot. With Micra C+C, owning a convertible need no longer be a compromise." Makoto Yamane, Studio Chief Designer, Nissan Design Europe

At a glance

o Elegant Coupé & Fun Convertible
o 2+2 seating
o 1.4 and new 1.6-litre engine options
o C-VIEW®: All-glass hardtop
o Auto-Open Roof®: one-touch operation - no manual interaction
o Just 22 seconds to raise or lower roof
o Class leading luggage space
o Built in the UK at Europe's most productive plant

The eagerly awaited Nissan Micra C+C coupé/convertible is almost here. Unveiled today (15 June) at the NMUK manufacturing plant in Sunderland, England, sales of the stylish 2+2 are due to start towards the end of the year.

First shown as a concept at the 2002 Paris motor show, the production version brings new ideas to its market segment: the folding hardtop is made largely of glass to create an open-air feeling whether the roof is up or stowed away.

Development and production of the hardtop has been undertaken for Nissan by Karmann, specialists in the design and production of convertible models. In common with all European Micras, Micra C+C will be built at Sunderland so Karmann has established a small production facility within NMUK where the hardtop modules will be fitted to the Micra platforms.

Undeniably elegant, Micra C+C is lower and longer than the hatchback Micra. The roof line, dictated by the steeply raked windscreen, is 110mm lower than on the conventional car while it is also 90mm longer overall: the extra length is all to the rear of the car, to create the room needed to stow the hardtop behind the rear +2 seats.

The hardtop itself is a work of art. It can be raised or lowered with one touch of a button while the vehicle is on the move and takes just 22 seconds to fold clamshell-style beneath the double-hinged trunk lid. It is hinged at the bottom and opens front to rear when the roof is raised or lowered and at the top when opened conventionally to stow luggage.

Thanks to the Auto-Open Roof®, just one button needs to be pushed when hydraulically raising or lowering the roof - an automatic latching system does away with the need to manually lock or unlock the roof's leading edge to the windscreen header rail.

But as well as having stunning looks, Micra C+C remains resolutely practical, enjoying class leading luggage space. With the roof lowered the boot area provides 221 litres of stowage space, which rises to an impressive 426 litres when it is in place.

In addition the cabin has many clever storage areas, most of which are lockable allowing the car to be left unattended even when the roof is down.

Micra C+C, which represents a €150 million investment, will be available with either the recently enhanced 65kW (88hp) 1.4-litre petrol engine or the newly developed 81kW (110hp) 1.6 16 valve twin cam petrol unit as powers the potent new Micra 160SR.

"The beauty of the Micra C+C lies in its elegant glass hardtop. Micra C+C is the only coupé/convertible in its class to have this feature which allows the owner to enjoy the feeling of open air motoring at all times no matter how the weather is behaving," said Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe.

07/06/05

Yet Another Win For The Nissan X-Trail


Nissan X-TRAIL has won the Best 4x4 Award in the Fleet World Honours for the second consecutive year, bringing the total number of awards achieved by this outstanding SUV to a grand total of 16.

The awards were judged by a panel of experts representing the leasing industry, fleet managers, motoring journalists, residual value guides and Fleet World's editorial team. The judges took a wide range of factors into account, including residual values, maintenance costs, reliability, driver appeal and manufacturer back-up.

Fleet industry consultant George Emmerson, who has managed fleets at IBM, Black Horse Agencies and NHBC, said: "This is a difficult category to judge, because it covers cars from a very wide price range. We were looking for a car that combined style, performance and off-road potential at a price that meant it was available to a reasonable number of company car user-choosers. There was really only one possible winner because the X-TRAIL's strong performance in all the key areas under consideration put it firmly ahead of its key rivals."

Fleet World editor Ross Durkin commented: "The X-TRAIL is one of the real success stories of recent years for Nissan. The car has established itself as a firm favourite among fleet user-choosers who are seeking something a little out of the ordinary. And yet it has retained the confidence of the contract hire and leasing companies that have such a strong influence over this sector. X-TRAIL really is a car with no negatives."

The award was collected by a delighted Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director, at a special ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall.

06/06/05

Eurotaxglass's Announces Strong Residuals For New Nissan Pathfinder


New Nissan SUV outpaces Discovery and XC90 in residual value stakes

Nissan has seen further evidence of the long term strengthening of its residual values in the UK with the launch of its new Pathfinder SUV.

Predictions from residual forecasting expert EurotaxGlass's in its June RV bulletin show that the new Pathfinder will be a better used car bet in the future than rivals from Land Rover, Toyota and Volvo.
EurotaxGlass's predicts the Pathfinder will depreciate by £14,067 after three years and 60,000 miles, less than its close rivals.

Over the same period EurotaxGlass's predicts the Volvo XC90 will depreciate by £16,717, the Toyota Landcruiser by £16,208 and the Land Rover Discovery3 by £14,109.

"The Pathfinder has a huge breadth of ability, both on and off-road, yet prices start at a lot less than 7-seat SUVs from other brands. Even driving the car in the toughest off road environment the Pathfinder is very comfortable," explained Jason King, Forecasting Editor of EurotaxGlass's.

"The Nissan brand is certainly proving it's capable of launching exciting new niche products that not only look good, but that makes sound business sense for corporates from a purchasing and running cost perspective," he added.

Nissan has already seen strong residual values set on its new Murano of 46% of cost new over three years and 60,000 miles, while X-TRAIL residuals continue to hold up well four years after it was first launched.

"Our long term fleet strategy is showing it's working with residual values holding up well. For EurotaxGlass's to compare the Pathfinder with the new Discovery3 in its performance off road and used value shows the brand has come a long way in a short space of time," said Dave Murfitt, Nissan GB's fleet sales director.

"Fleet reaction has been positive to the new Pathfinder from user choosers, but we have also seen a few surprise fleet orders for 20 plus vehicles because companies have been impressed with the SUV's flexibility as a workhorse and people carrier," he added.

Make and Model Cost new Depreciation
from new
Value after 3 yrs/60,000
miles
Nissan Pathfinder 2.5dCi SE auto £26,892 £14,067 £12,825
Land Rover Discovery3 2.7TD auto £30,287 £14,109 £16,178
Toyota Landcruiser 3.0D4-D LC3 auto £28,892 £16,208 £12,774
Volvo XC90 D5 S Geartronic £32,937 £16,717 £16,220

06/06/05

Nissan Appoints New National Rental Manager

Nissan has appointed Mark Hamilton as National Rental Manager.


Mark has been working for Nissan in his current role as Southern LCV Area Fleet Manager for the past two years, giving him extensive knowledge of Nissan products, especially the LCV range. He also brings 23 years' motor industry experience to his new role, having worked with a number of major manufacturers in that time.

Commenting on his new role Mark says: "I am looking forward to the challenge of forging relationships with new customers in this area, whilst maintaining focus and building closer links with existing car and commercial vehicle rental businesses."

06/06/05

Carlos Ghosn Visits The First Nissan Gallery In The Middle East

Kuwait (5 June, 2005) - During an official visit to Kuwait, Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn visited the Nissan Gallery, a one-of-a-kind destination in the Middle East. Located at the Virgin Megastore in Marina Mall, the Nissan Gallery showcases Nissan's latest models in a dynamic retail environment.

During the visit, Ghosn met with Nissan customers and enthusiasts and participated in a special signing session for his latest book, 'SHIFT: Inside Nissan's Historic Revival'.

While visiting the Nissan Gallery, Ghosn was asked to be the first to sign the bonnet of a brand-new Nissan Murano and to launch a global fund-raising initiative for charities in Kuwait. The special signing starts a two month tour where world leaders and celebrities will be invited to add their signatures on the same bonnet.

Once the global tour is complete, the unique autographed Murano will be auctioned in Kuwait. Funds realised from the auction will be presented to local charities on behalf of Kuwait's sole Nissan distributor, Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al Babtain Co.

"We are privileged to support this initiative," said Carlos Ghosn. "Al Babtain and his organisation have worked hard to build the Nissan presence in Kuwait, and this gesture demonstrates strong commitment to the local community," continued Ghosn.

Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al Babtain Company also confirmed its commitment to add innovation and value to Kuwait society. Mr Saleh Al Babtain, Vice Chairman & CEO of Al Babtain Group said: "Kuwait knows to expect the unexpected from Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al Babtain Co."

06/06/05

Oman Becomes Home To World's Largest Nissan Showroom

Muscat (4 June, 2005) - In the presence of Nissan President & CEO Carlos Ghosn, and H.H. Asad Bin Tariq Al Said, personal representative of His Majesty the Sultan of Oman, the world's largest Nissan showroom was officially opened to an audience of nearly one thousand guests.

The Muscat premises are home to Nissan's sole distributor in Oman, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, and extend to 3,367 square metres. The display area can accommodate the full range of Nissan and Infiniti models and their variants, with space for over 25 vehicles. Repair and service workshops, administrative offices, and staff facilities are also included in the development.

Ghosn told guests at the opening ceremony that the spectacular new showroom was a model for the Nissan network in the Middle East.

"This impressive facility demonstrates our commitment to our customers in Oman in providing them with the highest quality products and most rewarding ownership experience," said Ghosn.

"This showroom provides the perfect setting for the new range of Nissan and Infiniti luxury vehicles we are bringing to Oman. Throughout the Middle East we are investing in new facilities and bringing the latest global Nissan and Infiniti products to customers in this region," continued Ghosn.

In the past 18 months alone, Nissan has launched 10 new products in the Middle East, including a full range of new Infiniti luxury cars and sport utility vehicles. This dynamic product investment is reflected in regional sales figures that grew by 18 per cent during the 2004 fiscal year.

Under Nissan's new three-year business plan - NISSAN Value-Up - Ghosn announced in April that Nissan would launch 28 new models globally over the next three years, including several new models for the Infiniti luxury brand.

He also stated Nissan's commitment to maintaining the top level of operating profit margin among global automakers, to achieve global sales of 4.2 million units during fiscal year 2008 and to maintain an average 20% return on invested capital during the course of the plan.

"The story of Nissan's revival is now complete," said Ghosn. "NISSAN Value-Up is a clear plan with specific commitments. Within this framework for action, we will create more value for more customers, employees and shareholders in more world markets than ever before."

01/06/05

Low Price Gives Nippiest Micra High Street Appeal


Nissan's whizzy, new Micra 160SR will have a rival bashing price when it takes to our High Streets from 1 June. At £9995, it will undercut the MINI ONE, Ford Fiesta Zetec-S and the Citroën C2 VTR. The Micra will also be around in fewer numbers as Nissan is limiting supply of its 'Street Racer' Micra to 1600 units this year - an appropriate number given its 160SR label and 1.6-litre motor.

The 110PS Micra not only leaves the MINI ONE standing on price but also on performance. With an extra 20 horses under the bonnet and a 0-62mph time of just 9.8 seconds, the 160SR is over a second quicker than the MINI. Even with its extra power, the Micra 160SR is more economical returning 42.8mpg on the combined cycle compared to the MINI's 41.5mpg.

In addition to the new 1.6 litre engine, the Micra 160SR gets stiffer and lower suspension, dynamic ESP, a deep front spoiler with integrated projector fog lamps, body coloured roof and side spoilers, dark tinted headlamps and graphite finished 16" alloys. Side curtain airbags are another addition over the standard Micra. Inside, the 160SR gets aluminium pedals, white dials and all the customary convenience features including six speaker CD system and lighting plus air-conditioning - all as standard. Add 16" alloys and aircon alone to the MINI and you're looking at a further £1380 bill.

An extra couple of doors are unavailable on any of the Micra's rivals: the five-door 160SR is £10,645. An electric sunroof is another option at £375. Or there's two-tone leather trim with heated seats for £850 … indeed heated is possibly what the 160SR's competition is feeling right now.

25/05/05

Nissan Celebrates 25 Years In Spain


" Nissan celebrates 25 years of operations in Spain
" The first Navara pick-up rolls off the production line
" 400m Euro investment into the latest two models
" Record year planned for production in Spain


Barcelona, 23 May - Nissan is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Spain this year.


To mark this special occasion, Nissan Motor Iberica S.A. took the opportunity to invite employees and the press to witness the first new Navara pick-up model.

His Majesty the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I and CEO and President of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn joined the event to officially celebrate the event.

"An anniversary is an important time to pause and reflect upon milestones and achievements and we have come a long way from our beginnings in 1980." said Ghosn. "Nissan in Spain is contributing to our NISSAN Value-Up business plan commitments, supporting Nissan's long-term growth and profitability. Through the TOP 07 plan, Nissan Spanish Industrial Operations is producing attractive, competitive models to supply the European market," he added.

The Navara joins the new Pathfinder SUV as one of two new vehicles to be manufactured at the Zona Franca plant in Barcelona this year. This reinforces Nissan's ongoing commitment in Spain and builds on its heritage in 4x4 manufacturing for both the home and export market.

Nissan Motor Ibérica plays a key role in the brand's overall strategy, with its production centre for 4x4, pick-up, multi purpose, commercial and light industrial vehicles. Over the twenty-five year period, these operations have boosted production volumes in Spain from 17,000 in 1980 to a forecast of 190,000 units this year.

Nissan in Spain currently employs 6,812 people and encompasses a national sales company, three major manufacturing plants, a diesel engine plant, technical centre, parts distribution sites plus other locations. Spain is the home of the Terrano, Primastar, Almera Tino, Pathfinder and now Navara models. A total investment figure of two billion Euros has been committed over Nissan's presence in Spain.

In recent years, to accommodate the latest two new models, an investment of 400 million Euros was made which created a further 1,200 jobs by extending to a third shift to ensure a flexible and consistent production process.

25/05/05

Micra Manoeuvre


Stunt driver Russ Swift will be shifting a Nissan Micra around the country this summer, showing off his precision driving skills.

Starting at the Ulster Motor Show on 1 June, former British Autotest Champion Russ, who retired from competitive racing a few years ago to concentrate on his stunt driving, will be performing his two-wheeling and famous handbrake parking in a Nissan Micra. He will also be wowing the crowds with his power sliding and drifting in the award winning 350Z.

Russ will be performing at the following shows:

1-5 June Ulster Motor Show - Kings Hall, Belfast
19 June Supercar Sunday - Motor Heritage Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire
16/17 July Model Expo - NEC, Birmingham
30/31 July Meadowhall Motor Show - Sheffield
13 August Rally Supercar Day - Castle Coombe Circuit, Wiltshire
14 August Donny South, North Weald Airfield, Essex

Russ has appeared in a number of television commercials and can be seen on screen soon teaching Bad Girls actress Antonia Okonma to power slide a 350Z around a demanding course in the forthcoming series of Celebrities Under Pressure.

10/05/05

King Cab Makes Claim For Pick-Up Throne


Nissan has completed its Navara family with the princely King Cab which opened its rear-hinged, rear doors for the first time at last week's Barcelona Motor Show. It will join the Navara Double Cab (first shown at the Geneva Show in March) in Nissan GB's showrooms in August, their joint aim to make the Navara ruler of the UK's rapidly expanding pick-up market. And just one look at the new contender's specification, which includes a class-leading 174PS engine, will confirm Nissan ain't bluffing.

SUV qualities

Designed in tandem with the recently launched Pathfinder - and built side-by-side with this Discovery class SUV at Nissan's nearby NMISA plant in Barcelona - the new Navara brings SUV qualities to the utility market. It shares much of its mechanical layout with the Pathfinder and also adopts many of its technical features. Integrated DVD satellite navigation system and Bluetooth phone connectivity in a pick-up? Yes, if it's a new Navara.

And, like its predecessor, the new Navara benefits from a tried and trusted four-wheel drive system to ensure grip under all conditions: little wonder that the outgoing Pickup was such a favourite with the farming and construction industries.

While those traditional pick-up buyers are expected to appreciate Navara's 'go anywhere, do anything' qualities, the newcomer's higher levels of comfort, quality and refinement are also expected to attract playtime users who can use the combination of four-wheel drive and a versatile load area to go skiing or snowboarding in the winter and sailing or windsurfing in the summer.

But beneath the chrome, the new Navara is still very much a workhorse. It has not lost any of its predecessor's abilities for hard work and carrying bulky cargo. And that could be trees or skis.

Rugged chassis

Like the Pathfinder, the Navara features a rugged ladder-frame chassis onto which the body is securely fixed. The Navara has a refined independent front suspension system featuring double wishbones and coil springs. This is teamed with a rigid axle and over slung leaf springs at the rear, designed to provide the best possible payload levels while providing SUV-like ride & handling and comfort.

The Navara shares the Pathfinder's bold front-end styling incorporating Nissan's three-section mesh grille split by the now familiar diagonal 'balanced angle strut' motif. It's all change behind the B-pillars, however.

King Cab

Nissan's Navara will be available in two different formats - King Cab and Double Cab. The just revealed King Cab can seat two adults in the front and has two occasional seats in the back of the cabin suitable for children or, over short journeys, for adults. The area can also double as a home for dogs. Or sheep, if you prefer.

Cabin space is much more generous than the equivalent version of the outgoing Pickup: the most notable increase is the extra 114mm in the distance from the back of the front seats to the cabin's rearmost panel. As a result, the Navara has more comfortable forward facing rear seats in place of the side facing seats found in Pickup. And easier access than most of its competitors thanks to its four-door configuration.

The back 'half' doors are rear-hinged and open to 90 degrees. This, combined with the lack of a central B-pillar, creates the widest possible opening for both passengers and for stowing luggage.

Cabin storage

Cabin storage space has been thoughtfully conceived. The cabin has two glove boxes ahead of the front passenger offering a total of 6.4-litres of space, a 6.0-litre storage box within the centre console and a small storage area on top of the dashboard. Coin, cup and card holders can also be found in the centre console, while there's a sun glasses holder in a practical overhead console in the roof.

There are also deep door pockets while a detachable storage box can be found under the rear seats. When not in use, the rear seat back rests can be stowed vertically and the seat squabs flipped up individually to provide extra storage space within the cabin. The front passenger seat also folds flat to allow longer objects to be carried within the cabin. In total, there are no fewer than eight different seating/cargo configurations.

Increased dimensions


The larger cabin is reflected in increased overall dimensions. The Navara is 5220mm long (an increase of 175mm over Pickup), 1850mm wide and 1780mm tall. The wheelbase has been extended to 3200mm, an increase of 250mm over the Pickup.

Best-in-class pick-up bay

But the serious load story concerns the pick-up bed, which provides best-in-class load space in its market segment. This is thanks, in part, to a design which reduces the intrusion of rear wheel housings to a minimum. The King Cab's bed has a minimum width between the wheel housings of 1130mm and a length of 1861mm.

Largest practical bed width

The result is impressive: thanks to having the largest practical bed width in its class, King Cab can hold a typical quad bike, while mountain bikes and off-road motor cycles can be carried no problem. With the tailgate opened, the King Cab will even carry a number of 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood. And most of Ikea.

Double Cab

The Double Cab Navara bridges the gap between SUV-like comfort and the functional attributes of an authentic pick-up. This has led Nissan to add a new acronym to the motoring world: Sport Utility Truck (SUT), Nissan's answer to a growing demand among European customers for a more civilised pick-up vehicle.

The Double Cab version has a three-seater rear bench in an enlarged cabin, providing ample room for five. The larger interior dimensions mean even more space for rear passengers with head, shoulder and knee room improved by 90mm, 98mm and 177mm respectively.

The Double Cab also has a full roster of interior storage spaces and its rear seats also flip up - on a 60/40 split - to create extra storage space behind the front seats. As in the King Cab, there are eight different seating/cargo configurations within the Double Cab.

With its larger passenger compartment, the Double Cab naturally has a shorter bed, but still provides best in class load capacity. Sharing a minimum width dimension between the wheel housings of 1130mm with the King Cab, it has an internal bed length of 1511mm.

Secure loads with C-Channel


Tethering loads on the move has also been made easier in the Navara thanks to a feature unique in this segment. This factory-fitted option incorporates five rails (one channel on either side of the load floor, plus one on each of the three fixed sides of the pick-up bed) into which self-locking cleats can be placed, providing fixed points for securing ropes.

Both the King Cab and the Double Cab are adept at carrying long loads, too.

The Double Cab also offers an optional multi-functional roof rack, likely to be standard on top versions, that allows ladders or surfboards to be carried without fear of damaging Navara's paint or bodywork. The rack has been designed specifically for Navara and incorporates aerodynamically designed crossbars to reduce wind noise and improve fuel economy.

Proven four-wheel drive


The Navara's four-wheel drive system uses Nissan's authentic and proven part-time four-wheel drive system which provides drive to the rear wheels under normal conditions or a 50/50 torque split to all four wheels when 4WD mode is engaged.

Navara's four-wheel drive system also has both high and low ratio modes, the crawl ratio being best in class and providing outstanding levels of traction over slippery surfaces, especially on tricky hill descents. All three modes are selected electrically via an easy to use rotary dial on the dashboard, selection being confirmed by a dashboard mode indicator.

Rear diff lock

Another refinement is the fitment of an electronically controlled rear differential lock. Operating in low ratio four-wheel drive only, the diff lock can be used in an emergency, for example when one of the rear wheels has lost traction in mud or heavy snow.

The Navara's off-road ability is further enhanced by its wheel-arch filling 17in alloy wheels, generous minimum ground clearance figure of 238mm, and approach and departure angles of 32 deg and 26 deg respectively.

Common-rail turbo diesel

Like the Pathfinder, Navara's power comes from Nissan's newly developed 2.5-litre YD series four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It now features second-generation common rail technology with 1800 bar fuel injection pump for lower emissions, a variable nozzle turbocharger providing more power and lower emissions and there's a new balancer system for greater refinement.
Its output, 174PS, is class-leading and, more significantly, there's an impressive 403Nm of torque. All the better for towing.

Transmission choice

A choice of transmissions is available: a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. The high levels of torque mean the Navara is capable of pulling up to 2.7 tonnes without complaint. The brakes feature ventilated front discs with efficient drums at the rear, while steering is a precise rack and pinion system.

"During its time on sale, the Nissan Pickup earned itself a strong reputation as an honest, hard working vehicle. Navara builds on Pickup's strengths and adds new levels of ability, refinement and fun," says Brian Carolin, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Nissan Europe. "We are confident that Navara will appeal to an ever wider customer base than Pickup achieved. It is just as happy as a hard-working, tough load carrier, or as a means to pursue leisure activities."

Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date in August. And the range line-up will also be revealed then, too. Till then keep a watch on www.nissan-navara.co.uk.

26/04/05

Nissan Rewards X-Trailers


Any private buyer who shifts from their current X-TRAIL up to a new 2005 X-TRAIL will receive three years' free servicing and three years' roadside recovery with RAC. If they go for a new X-TRAIL SVE on Preferences, Nissan's personal contract purchase plan, they will also get a £500 contribution towards their deposit and free DVD satellite navigation worth £1200. Loyalty can be so rewarding.

There are currently 26,173* X-TRAIL drivers in the UK, going where they want, when they want. For those customers who are looking to replace their current X-TRAIL, it is worth pointing out the significant changes Nissan has made to the multi award-winning model to make it even more appealing. Upgraded diesel engine performance, improved interior, revised styling, integrated satellite navigation, power adjustment of the leather seats and more recently the addition of cruise control. There is also a wider choice of colours available - Baltic Blue anyone?

If your tastes run to something more rugged and altogether more muscle bound, the totally equipped Patrol SVE now comes with a £1,800 customer saving. So you can drive away in the range-topping version of the latest and most refined evolution of Nissan's iconic 4x4 legend from £28,250.

25/04/05

Nissan Reports Record Results For Fy04


Nissan Value-Up Business Plan Unveiled


TOKYO (April 25, 2005)--Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced record net income of 512.3 billion yen (US $4.76 billion, euro 3.81 billion), up 1.7% for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005. Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn also unveiled the specifics of NISSAN Value-Up, the company's three-year business plan that began April 1, 2005.

"Last year, Nissan rose to the challenge and delivered a record performance despite many headwinds, such as unfavourable exchange rates, higher commodity prices, higher incentives and higher interest rates," said Ghosn. "The fundamentals of the business are strong, our products are attractive to consumers, and Nissan is poised for sustained, profitable growth."

Nissan's consolidated net revenues amounted to 8.576 trillion yen (US $79.7 billion, euro 63.8 billion), up 15.4% compared with the previous year. Operating profit totalled a record 861.2 billion yen (US $8.0 billion, euro 6.4 billion), up 4.4% compared with last year, and the operating profit margin came to 10.0%, which is at the top level among global automakers. Ordinary profit amounted to 855.7 billion yen (US $7.95 billion, euro 6.37 billion), up 5.7%.

Nissan sold a record 3,388,000 vehicles worldwide in fiscal year 2004, an increase of 10.8%, or 331,000 units. In the United States, sales advanced 18.4% to 1,013,000 units, topping the 1-million mark for the first time. In Japan, sales increased 1.4% to 848,000 units. In Europe, where sales are reported on a calendar-year basis, sales were flat at 544,000 units. Sales in General Overseas Markets, including China, Mexico and Canada, increased 19.5% to 983,000 units.

The fiscal year 2004 financial results include the 50% proportional consolidation of Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd., Nissan's joint venture in China, and the full consolidation of Siam Nissan Automobile Co., Ltd., and Yulon Motor Co., Ltd.

NISSAN Value-Up

The NISSAN Value-Up business plan has three commitments relating to profitability, growth and return on investment. The commitments are:

" maintain the top level of operating profit margin among global automakers for each of the three years of the plan;
" to achieve global sales of 4.2 million units, measured in fiscal year 2008; and
" to achieve a 20% return on invested capital on average over the course of the plan, excluding cash on hand.

"The story of Nissan's revival is now complete," said Ghosn. "NISSAN Value-Up is a clear plan with specific commitments. Within this framework for action, we will create more value for more customers, employees and shareholders in more world markets than ever before."

Under the plan, Nissan will expand its worldwide presence, and Infiniti will be launched as a global tier-one luxury brand. Currently marketed in North America, Taiwan and the Middle East, Infiniti will be expanded to Korea, China and Russia.

Through the end of fiscal year 2007, 28 all-new Nissan and Infiniti models will be launched globally.

" Other FY04 financial highlights:
" Indebtedness

Nissan's net automotive debt has been eliminated. Nissan had 205.8 billion yen (US $1.91 billion, euro 1.53 billion) in cash at the close of fiscal year 2004.

Dividend

As previously announced, Nissan will propose a 12-yen-per-share year-end dividend at the company's annual general shareholders meeting on June 21, 2005, for a full-year dividend of 24 yen per share for fiscal year 2004.

Outlook for FY05:

Business risks include volatility in foreign exchange rates, higher commodity prices, higher interest rates, higher energy prices, and uncertainty about the levels of growth in the U.S. and Japanese markets. Opportunities lie in the accelerated implementation of NISSAN Value-Up.

FY05 forecast:

Based on this outlook and assuming foreign exchange rates of 105 yen/dollar and 130 yen/euro, Nissan filed the following forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange:

" consolidated net revenues of 9 trillion yen;
" operating profit of 870 billion yen;
" ordinary profit of 860 billion yen; and
" net income of 517 billion yen.

Note: Amounts in dollars and euros are translated for the convenience of the reader only at the foreign exchange rates of 107.6 yen/dollar and 134.4 yen/euro, the average rates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

22/04/05

Nissan Primastar Is Going On A Summer Holiday


Nissan is opening up its expanding range of light commercials to a brand new audience by developing its very first motorcaravan conversion.

Based on the Primastar and developed in association with Reimo Motorcaravans of Hythe, it will ensure you and three friends can avoid the airport check-in queues and go away on a whim.

Badged as the Toscana, reviving memories of those lazy days spent on vacation in Italy, the Primastar has four berths - including a double bed - a sink, fridge, fresh water supply and a two burner cooker. A useful elevating roof is fitted ensuring that even the tallest of holidaymakers can stand up inside the vehicle. You can even spec up your Primastar to include double glazing and a useful portable potty.

It seems Reimo has thought of everything. To get maximum use from the vehicle when it's not being used as a motorcaravan, it is equipped with a removable, sliding seating system with three point seatbelts enabling you to do the weekly trip to the tip or to pick up your kitchen cupboards from the local DIY superstore.

All of this kit adds to the already generous number of features you get as standard on the Primastar which includes power steering, electric windows and mirrors, a CD player, alarm, driver's airbag, rear parking sensors and a 6-speed gearbox. Satellite navigation and air conditioning appear on the options list at £881 and £763 each to ensure you know where you are going and to ensure you stay cool on those hot balmy summer nights in Great Yarmouth…

The Primastar Toscana is available with the 100bhp 1.9 litre dCi or the bigger 135bhp 2.5 litre dCi diesel engines which cost £26,598 and £28,170 respectively. Both engines should help owners see 800 miles between visits to the pumps, enough to get from Newcastle to Newquay via the scenic route.

13/04/05

Stuff And No Nonsense From Nissan


No nonsense reliable transport that isn't subject to the wrong type of rain on the line is a job happily provided by the Nissan Almera and Almera Tino. And now Nissan has made them even more affordable. They're better equipped, too.

Based on the entry-level S versions, the latest Flare two-car range gives the customer big savings. And that's before they even leave the showroom. The Almera Flare 1.5-litre three-door is priced at £8995. That's £1255 less than the equivalent S and the Flare gets £325 worth of rear parking sensors in addition to its standard twin airbags, ABS, remote central locking, air conditioning, electric front windows and 6 speaker CD/radio.

If you want a bigger car to hold the family without falling apart, then the Almera Tino will suit. You'll get bigger savings, too. £2580, in fact. Again the equipment mirrors that of the more expensive S model. But with the addition of rear sensors to make parking more of a miss than hit affair.

For another £1000, you can add a lot more stuff to your no nonsense Nissan. 16" alloys, front fogs, side airbags, active head-rests and, in the case of the Almera, rear electric windows (five-door obviously) and set-and-forget climate control. The Almera Tino also acquires leather/Alcantara upholstery and an electric sunroof as well as the wheels, fogs, rear electric windows and safety additions... climate control is already part of the package. These models are appropriately known as Extras. Which like the cars themselves, makes a lot of sense.

04/04/05

Nissan is Top Exporter for Fifth Year


Nissan's plant in Sunderland has been named as the UK's biggest car exporter for a fifth year running.

Figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) showed that the plant's 2004 export total of 252,759 Micras, Almeras and Primeras was 44,500 units more than the second-largest manufacturer.

This means that over 1 in 5 cars exported during 2004 came from the Wearside factory. Later this year the 3 millionth car for export will roll off the production line destined for one of the 45 markets around the world where Sunderland-built vehicles are sold - such as Australia, Mexico, Peru and Russia.

As well as being named the top UK car exporter, the Sunderland plant has also been the UK's biggest car producer for the last five years and the most productive car plant in Europe for seven years.

Colin Dodge, managing director of the Sunderland plant, said: "It's good news for all concerned that the plant continues to do so well. This is our 21st year here, and the continued success is testament to the skills and determination of our workforce and the support from our suppliers.

"The plant is currently upgrading production areas ready for the introduction of three new models in just 16 months - the Micra C+C cabriolet this autumn, a mini-MPV based on the Tone concept next January, and a compact 4x4 crossover vehicle based on the Qashqai concept from December 2006.

"Added to the current model range at the factory, these new cars could see the annual production volume increase to around 400,000 units by 2007."

And during this busy period the workforce will reach yet another manufacturing milestone, when the 4 millionth vehicle to be built since production began back in 1986 rolls off the line before the end of 2005.

31/03/05

A Street Racer Named Micra


The MINI has ruled the city ring road for too long. From this summer, there'll be a new challenger. It's distinctively a Nissan Micra. But this one will be called 'Street Racer' … or SR for short. And it will go like no Micra before it.

Its new, revy, 110PS 1.6-litre engine gives the SR a better power to weight ratio than the Citroën C2 VTR, Ford Fiesta Zetec-S and MINI ONE - no performance figures yet, before you ask. Meanwhile the same team who gave you the Euro-spec 350Z has reworked the Micra's acclaimed chassis and added new, graphite finished 16" alloys. Talking of wheels, the steering gets a meatier feel for more feedback but the Micra's tight turning circle remains so, combined with the chassis mods, the SR should be handier around the city than a fully loaded iPod.
Up front, the 160SR gets a deep front spoiler with integrated projector fog lamps and the headlamps are dark tinted. There are more spoilers along the door sills. And the one on the tailgate is colour coded. The pimping might sound mild but the result is a Micra that looks like it's had a testosterone injection up its exhaust pipe. It'll be shaving next.

Inside the seats grip you harder, the pedals are aluminium and the instruments are whited out. But despite the driving focus, Nissan has ensured the customary Micra convenience features stay in the mix. So the 160SR keeps auto wipers and lighting, the Intelligent Key, a six speaker CD music system, aircon and numerous storage areas.

The dashboard is just as quirky, too. And the price? Nissan's not saying yet … except that it'll be less than the three competitors mentioned above. The race will soon be on.

22/03/05

Ginny Joins the Z Set


Glamorous Ginny Buckley is no stranger to the fast lane in her job as presenter of BBC1's Holiday programme. Here we caught her wasting no time at all getting off a plane, straight into her new Nissan 350Z Roadster. And revving its engine.

Ginny wasted no time either in getting her name down months ago for one of the snazzy 155mph sportscars. She took delivery, we understand, last week and close sources say that she loves the sensation of driving topless. Men of the nation, be grateful.

Showing her eye for style, Ginny went for trendy Sunset paintwork teamed with an Alezan Orange leather interior. All the better, we think, to show off her tan. Genuine before you ask. And indulging her passion for accessorising (are those Chanel shades she's wearing?), Ginny polished off her Roadster with a set of RAYS alloy wheels costing £1000 - no more than she'd normally spend on a handbag.

As always Ginny was perfectly co-ordinated matching the sleek lines of her Z with a cool, figure-hugging ensemble of faux fur trimmed top, designer jeans and knee-high boots. Manolos, we ask? Whatever, they obviously weren't purloined from the BBC's wardrobe department. Despite the long flight, Ginny looked dazzling leading one observer to comment she must have had a make-up artist aboard. Or her trusted Touche Eclat. But its days may be numbered as Ginny's best friend judging by the grin on her face as she sped off in her Z. Enjoy the flight, Ginny.

18/03/05

Nissan Design America Opens $14 Million Studio in Farmington Hills


Iconic design and cutting-edge technology are the hallmarks of Nissan Design America-Farmington Hills, the newest chapter in Nissan Motor Co.'s expanding global design footprint. The new studio, which represents a $14 million investment, officially opened today in Farmington Hills, MI, on the grounds of Nissan Technical Center North America, Inc. The facility, a sister studio to Nissan Design America, Inc., in San Diego, CA, represents a tripling in size over the previous studio space - to 50,912 sq.-ft. Unique to the facility is The Egg, a 15,000 sq.ft. outdoor viewing courtyard.

Once a small studio of 12 designers with a focus on final production design, the new studio has grown to more than 30 full-time employees, under Keisuke Otsuki, new director of design, with capabilities to accommodate a team of 45.

The studio works in conjunction with the San Diego studio and other studios globally to execute full-scale production design and exploratory design work, with design feasibility remaining a core responsibility. The AZEAL concept sports coupe, first unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is the first concept car born out of NDA-Farmington Hills.

"NDA was created 25 years ago with a vision of former Nissan President Takashi Ishihara," said Bruce Campbell, vice president, design, Nissan Design America. "Their role was to feel the pulse of the North American market and respond with leading design. This vision and role continues today.

"NDA's role has been more than a concept studio. The main diet of work is production cars and trucks," Campbell said. "The Farmington Hills studio is a natural extension of this mission. The close proximity of the major suppliers and Nissan's North American engineering and manufacturing facilities is important to conceive and execute industry-leading design."

Nissan's global design growth plans also include an expansion to the San Diego studio, a new studio in central London, and new facilities under construction in Japan. The increased focus on design and high level of integration among the studios is evidence of Nissan's unique design philosophy.

"No one company is doing design like Nissan today," said Shiro Nakamura senior vice president, design, Nissan Motor Co., and president, Nissan Design America. "Nissan's bold and thoughtful designs and unique processes were integral to Nissan's revival and remain vital to its continued success. This cross-global design expansion is proof of Nissan's commitment to design."

The Studio

The Farmington Hills studio mirrors the capabilities of San Diego's yet maintains a character reflective of its culture - unique in its relationship to Nissan engineers and its location in the automotive hub of Detroit. An open floor plan allows for all design groups to work together, creating a highly efficient, integrated design process.

"Both the San Diego and Farmington Hills studios were conceived by designers, for designers," said Campbell. "The environments celebrate and foster creative design. Each studio reflects our design processes and core values." These core values are Humanistic - caring for and enriching people; Design Excellence - the quest to create global leading design; and Inclusiveness - to involve and integrate everyone throughout the process.

Several features make this studio unique:

" The Egg, a 15,000 sq.ft. outdoor viewing courtyard, embodies the meshing of engineering and design. Positioned to face due north for optimal light, the Egg allows designers to view their work in natural daylight, with the help of two turntables. Its striking and unique oval design, surrounded by cantilevered walls wrapped in a double layer of stainless steel mesh, was engineered by A. Zahner Co, a Kansas City-based architectural metals firm known for executing some of the world's most outstanding and complicated metal facades.

" The Power Wall, located off the studio's loggia, is an 8 foot by 20 foot screen, created by EDS Corp., which allows designers in different studios to simultaneously analyse and manipulate large-scale computer-generated designs. It represents the most modern of design communications tools.

" The clay modelling bedplate is the longest in the automotive industry. New, portable mills can work in tandem with clay modellers on this bedplate. Over the bedplate is a newly designed ceiling that consists of a high-tech white fabric heated, stretched and fitted to a grid of box frames that encase 585 colour corrected fluorescent tubes. Located in a separate area is the Zimmerman mill, a fully automated mill that can translate design into a full-scale model with the utmost of precision.

The studio represents an architectural collaboration: Luce et Studio of San Diego, which served as the design architect, and Albert Kahn Associates of Detroit, which served as executive architect. The tall doors, wide hallways and durable materials are designed to accommodate not just the designers, but also the vehicles they design. Great effort was made to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible within the studio's design. Aluminium panels in the loggia are recycled automotive bodies and typically are used for lining in aircraft bodies; the rubber seen in the loggia's doors and windows comes from recycled tyres; and the felt covering portions of the studio's walls and ceilings is made out of wool from recycled sweaters.

"Both the Farmington and San Diego studio design concepts were fuelled by 'like-minded' research about new materials and their creative applications," said Jennifer Luce, principal of Luce et Studio. "Both architect and Nissan shared a dialogue about materials that resulted in a carefully sequenced architectural composition."

Thoughtful use of materials continues into the Power Wall room. Sheltered by a 35 foot wide, 20 foot tall sliding California Redwood clad door, the interior surfaces of the room are lined with bleached oak, indigenous to the Michigan landscape, representing the locations of NDA's two studios. Materials, from the porous steel of the Egg to glass elements throughout, reflect a translucency core to the Nissan design philosophy.

18/03/05

Nissan Sport Concept Brings Nissan Sports Thinking to Small Car Segment in New York Auto Show Debut


The Nissan Sport Concept, which will make its public world debut at the 2005 New York International Auto Show, is the latest in a series of dynamic performance/youth concept vehicles following the Nissan Actic and Nissan AZEAL concepts.

The Sport Concept is a dynamic three-door hatchback with a dramatic four-seat interior. It offers the look and feel of a sports tuner car, yet is conceived as an affordable, attainable vehicle for buyers entering the new car market for the first time.

"The story behind the development of the Sport Concept, AZEAL and Actic is that Nissan is thinking big about the small car segment," said Jack Collins, vice president, product planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "With these three design explorations, we're focusing on how we can bring Nissan's heritage of innovation, sportiness and driving pleasure to a category of vehicles that traditionally lack design excitement and strong visual appeal.

"The Nissan Sport Concept, like the AZEAL and Actic before it, is first and foremost a showcase of future thinking, yet it is also a car that would be right at home in Nissan showrooms in the not-too-distant future," said Collins. "Nissan has a strong global line- up of compact enthusiast vehicles, including the March, Cube, Tiida, Note and Sentra SE-R, and, in the Nissan 350Z, one of the world's most desirable sports cars. The new Nissan Sport Concept fuses the best of both worlds."

The exterior of the Nissan Sport Concept combines shapes and forms that are both geometrical and mechanical in feel, creating a sense of acceleration and kinetic energy. The dynamic fender forms give the special Pearl White-painted body a look of pure, almost animal performance. Its athletic roofline is marked by a large rear roof-mounted spoiler, while its bold surface composition, robust fender character lines, deep front spoiler and side sills, and large wheels and tyres provide an animated, video game-like stance.

The body construction utilises both metal and carbon-fibre composite components. The 20 inch six-spoke aluminium-alloy wheels feature a machined and lustrous paint finish surface treatment. The Sport Concept's headlights and rear combination lights utilise small lamps with multi-layered reflectors.

"The Nissan Sport Concept may be small dimensionally but it is large in its dynamic energy - aggressive, highly functional and definitely street-wise," said Collins.

The interior of the Sport Concept is designed to fit four adults comfortably, yet with an emphasis on the front two seats - with every element of the cockpit existing to enhance the vehicle's engaging driving experience.

The deep, body-wrapping front bucket seats are covered in Wolf Gray leather with double-layered pearl suede inserts and feature formed head restraints and integrated 4-point seat belts. The instrument panel includes integrated tachometer and gauges and a distinctive centre cluster. The Sport Concept interior also offers a three-spoke steering wheel and solid-appearance centre console with the emergency brake lever integrated into the console lid.

Independent rear seats, also covered in a combination of leather and suede, offer true four-place seating with integrated 4-point seat belts. Other rear passenger features include centre console-mounted support grips and a large blue-cone speaker and woofer located in the rear parcel shelf.

"The Nissan Sport Concept is as close to performance art for the street as you can get - modern, cool, ready to run," said Collins. "When it comes to the next wave of small car design, a SHIFT_ is about to be made. And Nissan is making it."

About the Nissan AZEAL and Nissan Actic

The Nissan AZEAL Coupe Concept, which debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2005, is a fresh interpretation of the classic compact sports coupe - an affordable, performance-oriented entry-level coupe with the style and personality to match the lifestyles of its young, active target buyers. The AZEAL design exercise is the first concept car created by Nissan Design America's (NDA) new studio in Farmington Hills, Mich.

AZEAL features an aggressive body design with wide fender flares, short overhangs and a sharply sloped rear roofline with integrated active airfoil. The interior combines a dark, industrial metallic instrument panel appearance contrasted by Wasabi Chartreuse fabric seats and an open greenhouse with glass-panel roof. It rides on 19 inch wheels and tyres.

The Nissan Actic, shown for the first time at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, is a "content rich" design exercise created by the original NDA studio in La Jolla, Calif. It combines a simple, confident exterior form with flexible, modular seating and a unique "digital canvas" interior.

Actic makes a visionary statement from Nissan about how vehicle owners will approach technology in the future. In place of traditional content-heavy vehicle control systems that become outdated immediately, Actic's handheld 'key fob'-based Information Technology (IT) system allows the user to 'grow' the interface with infinite flexibility and updateability.

Other Actic innovations include dual sliding side doors, a 'cross trainer'-style wheel and tyre design (patent pending) with tread-wrapped 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, and a versatile matching trailer with inflatable walls that converts to a comfortable sleeping space for three.

18/03/05

Will Nissan's New Navara be Too Much for Corey?


Nissan's all-new Navara pick-up and Primastar minibus make their UK debuts at this year's CV show, heading one of the industry's widest LCV line-ups - 51 different versions, at the last count - from the UK's fastest growing van manufacturer. And Nissan will be inviting its very own TV celebrity, Corey Pasadena, to unveil the new vehicles.

The new European built Navara will share the same tough chassis as the recently launched Pathfinder SUV and offers a larger, more versatile load-bed as well as a new, common rail 174PS turbo diesel engine when it arrives in the UK in August. The bigger and bolder Navara is more spacious and comfortable than the current model but equally capable across terrain.

Joining the Navara at the CV show will be the factory built Primastar minibus - a 1.9dCi short wheelbase low roof 2.9T, which will be available in two grades, E and SE. The minibus has two slide doors with opening windows, a rear glazed tailgate, accommodates nine people, and offers a high level of standard equipment including ABS and remote central locking.

The SE adds front power windows and mirrors, front passenger airbag, CD player and rear parking sensors.

Nissan's stand will be themed on the same lines as its new advertising campaign which features stunt bike rider Corey Pasadena. He attempts to jump the 51 models in the Nissan LCV line up but finds there are 10 too many … with dramatic results. Go to www.nissanvans.co.uk to find out more. Whilst Nissan's stand is an impressive size this year, it is not quite big enough to fit all 51 variations. But there is a representative vehicle from each of the 6 ranges.

17/03/05

Nissan Comes to the Rescue of the Red Cross


Nissan has provided the Red Cross in Somerset with two 4x4 Patrol vehicles, converted for use as ambulances. The vehicles will be used by the Red Cross to provide immediate emergency aid at a number of events and activities across Somerset and Dorset, including equestrian, grass-track racing, rallies, motorbike scrambles and pop festivals.

Accidents and emergencies at events such as these require vehicles that can cope with rough terrain, whilst being able to transport patients and Red Cross operatives in safety and comfort. Nissan Patrol vehicles are designed to be worked hard in unforgiving terrain. While offering exceptional off-road capability, they still maintain excellent on-road performance.

Somerset Red Cross volunteers are trained in advanced first aid and life saving techniques and attend over 500 events each year. When not being used at events, the ambulances are kept busy in a variety of ways, including transporting patients home from hospital, or visiting local playgroups to teach young children about ambulances and how they help people. As a voluntary organisation the Red Cross relies on fund-raising events and donations to continue providing essential public services in the UK and supporting its humanitarian work worldwide. Full information on the British Red Cross can be found on www.redcross.org.uk.

Philip Rowe of the Red Cross in Somerset says: "The Nissan Patrol 4x4 vehicles are ideal for our use for two reasons. Firstly, they can ably cope with the difficult driving conditions that can be experienced at the kind of country events we attend. Secondly, unlike some other 4x4 vehicles, they allow easy access for stretchers, making it safer for our operatives to manoeuvre patients in and out of the vehicles. Whilst our patients are our priority, the health and safety of our operatives is also important."

Angie Newing, Area Operations Director for the Red Cross adds a third reason for choosing Nissan. She says: "Obviously as these are emergency vehicles, they need to be 100% reliable. A vehicle breakdown whilst on field duty could have disastrous results for an injured patient. The maintenance and servicing contract we have with Nissan means that we can be confident these emergency vehicles are always ready for action."

Dave Murfitt of Nissan says: "We are delighted that Nissan Patrol vehicles will be playing an important role in helping the Red Cross provide an emergency service at country events throughout Somerset and Dorset. These vehicles have supreme off-road capability, whilst offering drivers and passengers high levels of comfort as they travel to and from events throughout two counties."

09/03/05

"Lights, Cambelt, Traction"


Nissan is sponsoring Sky One's Sunday night line-up of original drama, featuring Dream Team, 24 and Nip/Tuck. To celebrate this illustrious partnership, Nissan has created an original film, which will play out over the six-month sponsorship as 'bumpers' to the programmes above. To interest viewers further, Nissan has launched www.nissan-drama.co.uk - a site that is designed to maintain the edgy and atmospheric vibe of the film, drawing users further into the storyline.

Fans will be directed to the site from both the Nissan and Sky One websites, as well as the interactive sections accessible to digital viewers. If your ad breaks are filled with cups of tea or trips to the loo, then you can view the episodes online; the first five are already available, with new episodes added a few days after their Sky One debut.

As the original drama unfolds, the site will evolve to contain lots more features including snippets of information on the characters, events and places, as well as information about the Murano and 350Z Roadster, which both make Oscar-winning appearances in the film.

There will also be an unofficial blog located somewhere on the site…. This is an online diary where you can chat about the film so far, make predictions as to what might happen next, work out the importance of that keyring and who knows, maybe even make new friends?

04/03/05

Nissan 350Z Roadster: Cabriolet of the Year 2005


Customer deliveries have not yet begun, but Nissan's 350Z Roadster has already won its first European accolade. It has been awarded the honour of "Cabriolet of the Year" at the Geneva Motor Show.

The jury of international automotive journalists voted unanimously for the 350Z Roadster in recognition of its performance and design. Since 1994, the "Cabriolet Committee" has awarded this high honour at the opening of the Geneva Motor Show and it traditionally heralds the start of the season for the purchase of convertible cars as winter disappears and spring arrives.

The honour of "Cabriolet of the Year" is the 42 nd accolade to have been given to the 350Z internationally. Of those, 12 have been awarded in Europe and 19 in the United States.

The President of the Geneva Motor Show, Claude Sage, presented the honour to Tsunehiro Kunimoto, Project Design Director, Nissan Design, on Wednesday 2 March on the Nissan stand.
He said: "It is a great honour to receive this wonderful award at the Geneva Motor Show. The first customers will soon take delivery of the 350Z Roadster in Europe and we are very optimistic that it will prove to be as popular and successful as it has been in the US and Japan."

The first deliveries of the Roadster will begin to customers later this month across Europe. The 350Z Roadster is a two-seater convertible, powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 VQ engine that is found in the Coupe. It produces 280PS of power and 363Nm of torque and powers the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. The electric folding soft-top mechanism either lowers or raises the roof in 20 seconds.

14/02/05

X-Trail Multiplies Four by Two


Just as What Car? magazine announces the X-TRAIL as its best compact 4x4 for 2005 Nissan goes and confuses the judging panel with the introduction of a new two-wheel drive version. It could be classed as a family car, as an estate or as a compact MPV. But if anyone's going to be confused, it's the anti-4x4 lobby. The X-TRAIL 4x2 looks exactly the same as the 4x4.

Naturally the 4x2 version costs less than the equivalent 4x4. In fact with a starting price of £15,795 it is a generous £1200 less than the outgoing 2.0 SE 4x4. A second version powered by Nissan's award-winning 2.2-litre dCi engine is also available priced at £17,395 which is £1500 less than its equivalent 4x4. Generous yes, but Nissan hasn't stopped there: a further £650's worth of extra equipment has been placed onto the specification list, 4x4s also included. So, alloy wheels are now fitted as standard on all versions. SE and SVE get a 16-inch version and an all new 6 spoke 17-inch is fitted on the Sport and T-SPEC. Also included is standard cruise control on both the 2.5 petrol and 2.2dCi engine versions. Prices do see a small blip upward with a rise of £300 but even the hardest critic could 'steel' see that this is £350 for nowt.

T-SPEC and SVE benefit even more with side privacy glass. This helps to make the interior a cooler place to be as only 5%, normally 35%, of the harmful UV rays can penetrate through the tinted exterior. The T-SPEC and SVE also get Traffic Management Channel (TMC) added to their BirdviewTM satellite navigation system. It helps to guide you around any road traffic incident that may have occurred up ahead. And, lighting up the road like daylight are a pair of xenon headlamps - only the T-SPEC gets these though.

Should you wish to be a bit different then a new colour known as Baltic Blue has been included on the colour palette. It's designed with the young in mind…
All these specification and price adjustments will start from late March followed by the introduction of the 4x2 version from May onwards. So the chaps at What Car? have a little more time to decide a category for it.

To summarise the changes:


" 4x2 introduction from May 2005 - starting price of £15,795 OTR
" 16" alloy wheels on SE and SVE versions, 17" on Sport and T-SPEC
" Cruise control now standard on all 2.5 petrol and 2.2dCi engine versions
" Privacy side glass on SVE and T-SPEC
" Xenon headlamps with wash system for T-SPEC
" Satellite navigation now with Traffic Management Channel (TMC)
" Price increase of £300
" Plus it comes with the satisfaction of a London Mayor - or does it?

New line-up and prices

Engine Grade Transmission On the Road Price
2.0ltr Petrol SE 4x2 manual £15,795
2.5ltr Petrol Sport 4x4 manual £19,295
  SVE 4x4 manual £21,295
  SVE 4x4 automatic £22,295
  T-SPEC 4x4 manual £22,895
  T-SPEC 4x4 automatic £23,895
2.2dCi Diesel SE 4x2 manual £17,395
  SE 4x4 manual £18,895
  Sport 4x4 manual £20,295
  SVE 4x4 manual £22,295
  T-SPEC 4x4 manual £23,895

11/02/05

Micra Urbis - A Latin Lesson


Nissan has launched a limited edition Micra Urbis, with prices starting from £8495. This new version has been specially designed to give it an exclusive urban look, with titanium finish, tinted front headlamps, a black rear roof spoiler and sculpted front seats in a sporty INDY fabric; plus free City Pack worth £1335. Nissan is also giving customers a saving of £855 off the list price. That's a total of £2190 free.

As everybody knows (…), Urbis is the Latin word for city. So Nissan has rather cleverly created the above mentioned City Pack worth £1335, which adds 15" alloy wheels, a rear parking sensor and air conditioning. This fabulously city-suited pack is free to all customers who purchase their car before 31 March.

To top off all this generosity, Nissan is offering customers who buy the Micra Urbis before the end of March, one year's free insurance if bought using Preferences (Nissan's personal contract purchase scheme).*

Based on the Micra S, the special edition Urbis is available on the 1.2 petrol and 1.5 dCi 82PS engine variants. It comes generously equipped with standard features including driver, passenger and side airbags, remote central locking with anti-hijack system and a trip computer. Then there is the sliding rear seat that splits 60:40; perfect for city life. Slide it forward and you have room for those super cool big shopping bags; when slid back, four of your buddies can travel in complete comfort.

Finally, February is one of those months when everyone needs a little extra love, so Nissan is offering the opportunity to win a luxury European city break. **All you need to do is register for a test drive between 12 and 28 February, and you could be in with a chance of boating down the Seine or touring the sights of Rome. Who needs Valentine's cards?

Urbis with £855 customer saving and free City Pack

Engine Body Transmission OTR Price (with saving)
1.2 16v 3 door 5 Manual £8495
1.2 16v 3 door 4 Auto £9395
1.2 16v 5 door 5 Manual £9145
1.2 16v 5 door 4 Auto £10,045
1.5 dCi 82 3 door 5 Manual £9595
1.5 dCi 82 5 door 5 Manual £10,245

09/02/05

The Case Against The 4x4…


The charge: SUVs are too big for UK roads.

The reality: The Nissan Pathfinder is 4.74m from bumper to bumper. That means it is shorter than comparable seven seater MPVs such as the Chrysler Voyager (4.8m), Renault Grand Espace (4.86m) and Chrysler Grand Voyager (5.09m) let alone a BMW 5-series saloon (4.84m) or Vauxhall Vectra Estate (4.82m) that only seat five.

And a Pathfinder (1.76m tall ignoring the roof-rails) blocks out little more light than a Voyager (1.75m tall) or an Espace (1.73m). In fact you could say that an SUV, with its separate bonnet, produces only a partial eclipse compared to a monospace-style MPV … or an ice-cream van, for that matter.

The charge: SUVs create more pollution.

The reality: The advanced 2.5-litre common rail diesel powering the 174PS Pathfinder is one of the more efficient large capacity engines on the market. It generates 238g/km of CO2 emissions - that's exactly the same as an Audi TT 3.2 quattro which barely seats two but nobody's formed a lobby group to get coupes banned. Yet.

The charge: SUVs guzzle fuel.

The reality: The Pathfinder dCi returns 31.4mpg on the combined cycle. That's exactly the same as a BMW 325i or Audi allroad 2.5TDi quattro 180. Looking at seven seaters, the Pathfinder drinks less than a Chrysler Voyager 2.8CRD. It's also less thirsty than a Vauxhall Vectra 2.0T Estate. And the latter has the same power output as the Pathfinder.

The charge: SUVs are fundamentally unstable.

The reality: SUVs are taller than typical saloons or estates and as a result have a higher centre of gravity. However sophisticated traction and stability systems such as ESP - part of the standard ALL-MODE electronic 4x4 system on Pathfinder - keep the vehicle under control no matter how tricky the conditions.

The charge: The UK's cities are full of SUVs.

The reality: In 2004, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 12,731 new 4x4 vehicles were registered in London, just 6.29 per cent of the capital's total new car registrations. London has 2.8 million cars of all ages lining its streets. Of this figure, just 3.5 per cent are 4x4s.

The charge: Pedestrians are more likely to be seriously injured when hit by an SUV.

The reality: In a pedestrian/car impact, it is fairly obvious that the pedestrian is going to come off worse. However careful design by Nissan engineers has ensured that its SUVs are at least as pedestrian friendly as its conventional cars. The X-TRAIL has a two star NCAP rating for pedestrian safety. The BMW 5-Series is only a one star car. The same applies to the latest generation of superminis: the Renault Modus, Fiat Panda and Hyundai Getz are one all one-star cars when it comes to pedestrian safety. Nissan is still awaiting NCAP results for Pathfinder.

The charge: But American research suggests that pedestrians are 27 times more likely to be killed when hit by an SUV than by another vehicle.

The reality: Not true. The figure was mentioned in an American report published seven years ago but related to side impact collisions involving commercial vehicles, a group which in America includes SUVs. European SUVs, as well as being smaller than their American counterparts, incorporate sophisticated side impact protection.

The charge: SUV drivers think they own the road.

The reality: The high 'command' driving position of the SUV is one of its safety features, giving drivers a better view of the road and its environment. Rather than owning the road, the SUV driver simply sees more of it. And gets advanced notice of any problem ahead.

The charge: The SUV is the worst possible car to take on the school run.

The reality:
A seven seater SUV like Pathfinder is an ideal vehicle for the school run, if used responsibly. To carry six children to school in a family hatchback would require two vehicles… and together these take up more road space and produce more pollution than one SUV. And as we've seen, a Pathfinder is shorter than many large MPVs.

The Pathfinder spends most of its time in two-wheel drive. But on a frosty or wet morning, it can automatically switch into four-wheel drive. And only for as long as is required to maintain traction. An MPV or other family car does not give mum or dad that level of peace of mind. So in rural areas or those which annually experience bad weather (e.g. Scotland), a Pathfinder is literally a safer option. And as for double parking outside the school gates, this creates disruption regardless of the size and type of vehicle.

The 4x4 verdict: not guilty.

09/02/05

Nissan Pathfinder: 4x4x6x7


Think again if you reckon all MPVs are boring buses and all 4x4s are road-hogging monsters. The new Nissan Pathfinder combines the best elements of both in a Tardis-like body - compact on the outside, spacious inside - to mix family car comfort with mountain goat agility.

Best of all, being nowhere near as tall as a typical SUV, it has a lower centre of gravity and so handles like a road car, providing the best of all worlds. Yet it seats seven.
And the fact that prices start at just £24,000 means Pathfinder is set to take the 'Discovery sector' of the 4x4 market by storm when it goes on sale at the end of March. In fact just as the Nissan X-TRAIL has done with the 'Freelander sector'.

It was engineered in Cranfield, Bedfordshire and will be built at Nissan's NMISA factory in Spain. Pathfinder is a seven-model range aimed squarely at the active, get-up-and-go family, and becomes the sixth offering in Nissan's expanding 4x4 portfolio. Hence 4x4x6x7.

Its rugged styling - derived from the 2003 Dunehawk show car - is both practical and good-looking. So Pathfinder will be a superb tool for adventurous families keen on outdoor hobbies such as sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking, paragliding, riding, skiing, furniture collecting… Oh, and it's equally adept on the school run.

ALL-MODE electronic four-wheel drive and traction control


Pathfinder's key features underline its rich four-wheel drive heritage. It features a robust body-on-frame design with the latest version of Nissan's acclaimed ALL-MODE electronic four-wheel drive technology, a system that's as easy to use as it is sophisticated. As well as incorporating ESP and traction control, the new system in Pathfinder has added dexterity thanks to a low ratio mode for added grip and manoeuvrability in mud or snow.

One reason for ALL-MODE's success is its simplicity (at least as far as the user is concerned). With grip and stability constantly being monitored electronically, it's a fit-and-forget system that gets you out of trouble before you know you're in it.

But despite its authentic SUV credentials, Pathfinder is not a huge off-roader. At 4.74m long, it is shorter than a typical seven-seat MPV (Chrysler Voyager, 4.8m) and is shorter even than a family estate such as the 4.82m long Vauxhall Vectra. And at 1763mm in height, it's shorter than a Land Rover Discovery (1832mm).

Simple access to third row seating

Simplicity and ease of use are themes running through Pathfinder's design. For example, though the entry-level S version has five seats, most Pathfinders will be sold with seven seats in three forward-facing rows.

In most seven seaters, getting to the rearmost set of seats is something best undertaken by people with a maths degree. Or the average 10 year old. In the Pathfinder, however, it's a simple matter of folding and flipping the middle row forwards - a one-handed, single action - to create ample space in which to access the rear. The same goes for exiting. In addition, the rear side doors open to an unusually wide angle of 85 degrees.

Naturally, both middle and rear seats fold completely to provide a flat load area and, again, practicality is the key - it takes just one action to fold the third row of seats to increase luggage space, an operation that needs up to 10 actions in some rivals. Folding the third row of seats can also be undertaken from outside the vehicle. Each seat has a simple release handle which when pulled allows the backrest to be folded forwards onto the seat squab.

The front passenger seat also folds, giving a 2.8m long uninterrupted load area. Nissan would like to apologise in advance to Pathfinder-owning husbands who now have no excuse not to spend weekends at flat-packed furniture stores. when the football's on!
Indeed, so practical is the interior that during its development, engineers were assigned the task of finding out just how many different seat/cargo configurations there were. They gave up when they reached 64…

A rear view camera, DVD satnav, Bluetooth, MP3…


When it comes to equipment, Pathfinder is in the luxury car league. Alloy wheels, climate control, CD audio and a full set of airbags - front, side and curtain - are standard on all versions. Move up the range and you can add privacy glass, Bluetooth phone compatibility, trip computer, leather upholstery, electric front seats, rear heating controls, Intelligent Key, xenon headlamps, DVD satellite navigation and a colour rear view parking camera.

Most Pathfinders will be powered by a new version of the turbocharged and intercooled common rail diesel that powers X-TRAIL. For Pathfinder, the displacement of the four-cylinder unit has been increased to 2.5-litres (up from 2.2-litres) with power and torque rising to 174PS and an awesome 403Nm respectively.

The result is an exceptional combination of drivability with economy. Pathfinder has a top speed of 109mph, it takes 11.7 seconds to reach 60mph from rest and yet returns 31.4mpg over the combined cycle. For that thank a 'waistline' rather trimmer than some rivals.

Later in the year, a petrol model will be added to the range, powered by a 269PS, 4.0-litre version of the V6 engine that drives the mighty 350Z. Both diesel and petrol models will have the choice of manual or automatic transmission (in the case of the former, it's a new six speed 'box).

The diesel range starts at £24,000 for the five-seater S and rises to £30,660 for the top-of-the-range T-Spec seven-seater. Automatic transmission, available on all versions except the S, adds £1,300 to the bill, so the top price to be paid for a Pathfinder is £31,960 for the T-Spec auto. Prices for the petrol models, which will only be available in T-Spec trim, will be announced when sales start in September.

S trim means ALL-MODE 4x4, 17 inch alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, front, side and curtain airbags, CD player, electric windows and heated door mirrors. The second row of seats (this is the five-seater remember) splits on a 40:20:40 basis.

Next up is SE trim. This adds £1,800 to the S price but embraces the following extra kit: front fog lamps, roof rails, rear privacy glass, height and lumbar adjustable driver seat, opening rear glass hatch and, of course, the third row of seats, which fold into the boot floor when not in use. It also has a compass, altimeter and trip computer as well as a CD autochanger with six speakers and steering wheel audio controls.

An extra £2,460 will buy you the luxury of SVE trim. This adds side steps, leather upholstery, electric front seat adjustment with memory, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and automatic dimming rear view mirror. It also has separate air conditioning controls in the rear and Nissan's Intelligent Key, which allows the driver to lock and unlock the doors and even start and stop the engine without having to fumble for a key.

Top-of-the-range Pathfinder is the T-Spec model, which adds £2,400 to the cost of the SVE, but adds equipment worth far more. As well as an electric tilt and slide sunroof and xenon headlamps with headlamp washers, T-Spec models have a full complement of advanced equipment led by a DVD satellite navigation system with new generation Birdview technology and a seven inch full colour screen.

There's a colour rear view camera to simplify parking while the audio system has been upgraded with MP3 compatibility. Bluetooth® phone integration is also standard, as is voice operation for the navigation and phone systems.

With such full standard equipment lists, options are very limited. You can have metallic paint (£400) and, if you're an SVE buyer, you can specify the £2,000 communications pack which incorporates DVD satnav, rear view camera, Bluetooth phone integration and MP3 compatibility. And that's it.

The full model line-up is:

S five seats six speed manual £24,000
SE seven seats six speed manual £25,800
SE seven seats five speed automatic £27,100
SVE seven seats six speed manual £28,260
SVE seven seats five speed automatic £29,560
T-Spec seven seats six speed manual £30,660
T-Spec seven seats five speed automatic £31,960

A few sales facts and figures…

Pathfinder is aimed at the medium/large SUV sector of the market currently occupied by rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery, Mitsubishi Shogun, Volvo XC90 and Toyota Land Cruiser. Its arrival coincides with the demise of the long serving Nissan Terrano five-door, but Pathfinder is not a direct replacement. The Terrano three-door continues probably to outlive us all.

As the third new Nissan 4x4 in almost as many months, Pathfinder will have to fight for showroom space with two other new all-wheel drive models - Murano and Patrol - when UK sales start in the week beginning 21 March. If all goes according to plan, the trio will help to propel Nissan to third place in the UK 4x4 market by the end of 2005.

And that's just the beginning. Within two years, Nissan could have the widest 4x4 range of any European manufacturer following the launch of a new crossover model based on the Qashqai concept shown at the 2004 Geneva motor show. Production of the new model will start at Nissan's highly efficient factory in Sunderland at the end of 2006.

Last year, 2004, marked the third in a row that Nissan's 4x4 sales rose spectacularly in the UK. In 2002, the company sold 9,871 units, a figure which rose by more than 60 per cent to 2003's figure of 15,926.

In 2004, including Pickups, Nissan sold 21,292 4x4s - up more than 30 per cent compared with 2003 - to claim fourth slot in the UK market.

Nissan's target for 2005 is 24,500 4x4s, a figure than includes 1,000 Muranos, 2,650 Pathfinders and 750 Patrols, with the ever popular X-TRAIL, Pickup and Terrano accounting for the rest.

09/02/05

Nissan's Revenue Rises 13.5% In First Nine Months of FY04


Tokyo, Japan - Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., today announced financial results for the first nine months of fiscal year 2004, ending 31 March, as well as third-quarter performance. In the first nine months, net consolidated revenue rose 13.5%, compared with the same period in the previous year, to 6.099 trillion yen (US $56.22 billion, euro 45.69 billion) due to robust sales in the U.S. and a continuous improvement in European operations.

Nissan's operating profit from April to December totalled 612.1 billion yen (US $5.64 billion, euro 4.59 billion), up 2.1% from the same period last year, while its operating profit margin came to 10.0%. Ordinary profit amounted to 611.9 billion yen (US $5.64 billion, euro 4.58 billion), up 3.9%. Net income after tax totalled 373.0 billion yen (US $3.44 billion, euro 2.79 billion), an increase of 2.7% compared with last year.

The nine-month results include the 50% proportional consolidation of Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan's joint venture in China, and the full consolidation of Siam Nissan Automobile Co., Ltd., its sales and manufacturing company in Thailand.

Globally, Nissan sold a total of 2,412,000 vehicles in the first nine months, an increase of 10.3% compared with the previous year, building on new products launched in fiscal year 2003, as well as new products released mainly in the second half of fiscal year 2004.

In the third quarter alone, Nissan's net consolidated revenue advanced 14.9%, compared with the same period in the previous year, to 2.092 trillion yen (US $19.28 billion, euro 15.67 billion).
The company's operating profit in the October-to-December quarter totalled 208.7 billion yen (US $1.92 billion, euro 1.56 billion), up 5.1% from the same period a year ago, while its operating profit margin came to 10.0%. Ordinary profit amounted to 210.6 billion yen (US $1.94 billion, euro 1.58 billion), up 6.0%. Net income after tax totalled 134.2 billion yen (US $1.24 billion, euro 1.01 billion), an increase of 6.9%.

Nissan sold a total of 816,000 vehicles worldwide in the third quarter, up 13.4% compared with the prior year.

Nissan is maintaining its forecast for the fiscal year, although the company faces a continued challenging environment characterised by higher incentives, higher commodity prices, raw material shortages and higher interest rates. Nissan has forecast full fiscal year net revenue of 8.176 trillion yen, operating profit of 860 billion yen, ordinary profit of 846 billion yen and net profit of 510 billion yen. The forecast is based on exchange rates of 105 yen/dollar and 125 yen/euro.

08/02/05

Nissan Tops UK Production For Seventh Year


Nissan's plant in Sunderland has been recognised as the biggest car factory in the UK for the seventh year running.

Figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) showed that the plant's 2004 total of 319,652 Micras, Almeras and Primeras was around 75,000 units more than the second-largest manufacturer.

And later this year the Wearside workforce will pass another manufacturing milestone when the 4 millionth car rolls off the production line.

Recently, Nissan announced that its Sunderland plant, Europe's most productive car factory, had been chosen to build a compact 4x4 crossover vehicle, based on the Qashqai concept, from December 2006.

This car will be the third new model to be launched at the plant in just 16 months following start of production of the Micra C+C cabriolet this autumn, and a mini-MPV based on the Tone concept next January.

Added to the current model range, the new cars could see the plant's annual production volume increase to around 400,000 units by 2007.

Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Colin Dodge, commented: "I'm pleased that our plant is the biggest in the UK, and that we're set to become even busier in the years ahead. This is good news for Nissan in Europe, good news for our plant, and good news for the wider supply chain that supports production here."

01/02/05

Nissan Zaroot Concept Car to be Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show


Being shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, the Zaroot is Nissan's vision of how sporty SUVs could look in the future. It combines traditional SUV values - and a serious off-road ability - with futuristic, sporty styling that marks it out as something different.

Retaining the traditional design cues of an SUV, the Zaroot's appearance is squared-off, solid and tough looking. It implies strength and security - yet combines these familiar themes with something a little different - a pair of gullwing doors.

The doors dominate Zaroot's profile, extending from the A-pillar to the rear of the passenger compartment, effectively where the C-pillar would be in a conventional vehicle. There is no B-pillar.

If the pentagonal doors define the character of Zaroot, the 'arch graphic' roof line continues a design theme that has featured on virtually all recent Nissan design concepts. Together they bring increased sporting prowess to an area of the market which hitherto has been seen as little more than utilitarian.

Front and rear styling also adds a futuristic twist to a conventional shape. Zaroot's bluff nose ensures minimum front overhangs and incorporates Nissan's now familiar double strut grille, though the unusual vertical headlamp cluster brings an almost technical feel to Zaroot's 'face'.

01/02/05

Nissan Announces New Model for Sunderland Plant


Nissan announced today that its new compact-crossover vehicle will be built at its car plant in Sunderland, UK from 2007.

The new car, codenamed P32L, is based on the highly acclaimed Qashqai concept car unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show almost a year ago, the first model to be styled at Nissan Design Europe in Paddington, London. It was developed at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Bedfordshire, UK.

This crossover vehicle, part people-carrier, part hatchback with available all-wheel drive, is the second new model to be announced at Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd (NMUK) in just six months, following confirmation that a production model based on the Tone show car, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last autumn will go into production in January 2006.

The announcement was made by Sunderland plant manager Colin Dodge, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing, Nissan Europe, at a press conference in Sunderland, attended by Patricia Hewitt, the UK's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

The new model further safeguards around 1,000 jobs at Sunderland and will create an additional 200 posts following close after the mini-MPV announcement, and represents a total UK investment of around £223m, including £5m of Regional Selective Assistance awarded by the Department of Trade and Industry. During the press conference, Hewitt welcomed Nissan's news of the continuing growth for the company in the United Kingdom.

The new model will go into production in December 2006 and on sale beginning in 2007.

Initial production volume will be around 130,000 units per year. This would increase the plant's total annual volume to around 400,000 units - strengthening Sunderland's position as the UK's biggest car plant.

During the event Nissan also unveiled its new Navara Crew Cab pick-up and the Zaroot concept SUV which will be unveiled to the public at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March. Nissan also showed a production-ready version of its Pathfinder SUV which is due to go on sale in March.

As well as the Tone, the P32L will join Nissan's Micra, Micra C+C and the Primera on the Sunderland production lines which build around 320,000 vehicles a year and is recognised as Europe's most efficient car factory.

"Today's announcement is a tremendous vote of confidence in our workforce," said Dodge. "Production of the P32L is a good decision for the company given our employees' track record of handling the complexities of manufacturing multiple vehicles. It will be a challenge to integrate this all-new model into our product mix, along with our upcoming model changes. But this is the sort of challenge any car plant would welcome and I know the workforce will be looking forward to next year and the start of production."

Nissan believes the new model will fill a growing niche in the car market for vehicles designed to live a dual life. Qashqai, pronounced "Cash-Ky" is aimed at young professional people who enjoy living and working in the city during the week but who want to escape at the weekend.

Nissan Design Europe (NDE), which was responsible for designing Qashqai, is one of the company's design 'think-tanks' dedicated to developing future generations of advanced designs for European markets. It combines the sleek lines of a sporting hatchback with the attitude and authenticity of a serious 4x4.

NMUK currently employs around 4,100 workers, capable of producing up to 500,000 units per year based on a three-shift system.

13/01/05

Gran Turizmo £29,500


Anybody who thinks that a droptop is the only Z newz due in 2005 is wrong. Very wrong. Because on 13 January at Autosport International, Birmingham, Nissan will unveil a limited production, 300PS edition of its 350Z coupe in association with Sony PlayStationâ's 'Gran Turismo 4: The Real Driving Simulator'. Only 176 of these Nissan 350Z Gran Turismo 4's will be available in the UK priced at £29,500. Pre-orders will be taken from 1 February at the traditional time of 3.50pm. And yes, Nissan expects them to go pretty sharpish.

The GT4 is the zippiest 350Z Nissan has yet sold in the UK. The award winning 3.5-litre V6 motor gets revised pistons and camshaft as well as electronic exhaust valve timing control. This helps produce another 20PS to give 300PS developed at 6400 rpm - that's 200 rpm higher than standard which says a lot about the revier nature of the GT4. Top speed remains a limited 155 mph but at 5.8 seconds, the GT4 is even quicker to 62 mph than standard. It howls louder, too.

All 176 350Z GT4s run on a new design of lacquered, five-spoke, 18" alloy wheel. And no, they won't be available as an option on the standard Z … nor will the sensational Ultra Yellow paint job that covers 76 of the UK's allocation of 350Z GT4s. This special paint uses a high-luminance, high-chroma pearl pigment along with three layers of top coat to give a surface that looks like you could dive in and swim about. And forget eye-catching. This colour is eyeball-wrenching. In quiet contrast, the remaining 100 will be painted in stark Kuro Black.

Inside, the interior mirrors that of the 350Z GT Pack with two charcoal leathered, electrically adjustable and heated seats as well as a thumping, 240 watt BOSE tuned stereo, 6 CD in-dash changer and cruise control. Marking out each UK supplied 350Z GT4 will be a numbered, interior mounted plaque and in the boot, owners will find a gift box from Nissan containing a Sony PS2 and GT4 game. So play can continue at home, obviously.

Despite all the above, the 350Z Gran Turismo 4 is priced at just £1000 more than the 350Z GT Pack with RAYS alloys. And like the two other models in the 350Z range, a NISMO bodykit designed with Gran Turismo developers Polyphony Digital can be added for £2495. That's painted and fitted.

Gran Turismo 4 is Sony's second full GT game for PS2 and gets its Europe-wide launch, in mid-March. With this latest release, Polyphony takes a massive stride forward towards its aim of crafting the 'ultimate racing game'. Topping the innovations of Gran Turismo 4 is a mind-boggling new physics model that allows for the most realistic simulation yet across over 50 different race tracks of the driving characteristics of each car. And there are over 700 to choose from. Only one though has been considered worthy enough by Sony to bear the Gran Turismo 4 name … the Nissan 350Z.

The Nissan 350Z Gran Turismo 4 represents the increasing close relationship between the motor industry and the most realistic driving game on the planet. Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo's creator and director of the GT4 game, says: "The release of the Nissan 350Z Gran Turismo 4 is great in the way that the virtual has led to a real product. I am honoured that Nissan has named such an exciting car after my game and I look forward to racing it myself on both real and virtual tracks."

According to Yamauchi-san, some of the greatest cars featured in Gran Turismo have come from the Nissan stable, not least the Skyline GT-R. The inclusion of Nissans in the game came about after the launch of the original Gran Turismo when a test-driver from Nissan contacted Yamauchi-san and invited him to come and drive a Skyline at Nissan's track. In the following years, Yamauchi-san and Nissan's Skyline/350Z test-driver, Hiroyosi Kato became good mates. Kato-san even stars in one of Gran Turismo 4's in-game movies. And Yamauchi-san has bought not one but two 350Zs because it has, he believes, the ideal layout: a powerful engine up front and rear-wheel drive.

The only time the 350Z Gran Turismo 4 will be shown in the UK before deliveries start in March is at Autosport International in what will be its European debut. As well as seeing the car on Nissan's stand, visitors will get a preview of the game. And a chance to drive the car … in virtual reality, that is.

10/01/05

Infiniti Kuraza Concept


The Infiniti Kuraza Concept, a design exploration of future luxury utility vehicles, makes its world debut at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Kuraza takes design forward by focusing on space, rather than enhanced utility - creating a highly social atmosphere to share with friends.

Focusing on the next level of interior design, where all passengers will be provided with equal comfort, roominess and amenities, the Kuraza is marked by six doors - with the 3rd row doors on each side operating from rear hinges - and three rows of large, luxurious side-by-side pairs of individual seats.

Kuraza also combines traditional Japanese design cues, extensive use of natural materials and modern technology to a vehicle with gracefulness and strength.

Key interior design features include stadium style seating for the 2nd and 3rd rows, which combine with the large windows and three overhead glass panels to provide a truly panoramic view; a centre-beam console with drop-down sections for unrestricted side-to-side access; and extensive use of natural materials, including rich, beige leather, hand-crafted wood and milled aluminium-alloy.

Along with its six doors and large, wrap-around greenhouse, Kuraza's exterior offers an Infiniti-style grille, unique multi-lens LED headlights and taillights, carriage-style side combination mirrors, turn signal indicators and spotlights; automatic retracting aluminium with wood-inlay side steps; and 23-inch aluminium-alloy Infiniti-style wheels.

Highlights of the Infiniti Kuraza include:

Interior

" Six-passenger seating with luxurious "kimono-style" shape with layered, leather and silk construction
" Stadium-style 2nd and 3rd row seating
" Panoramic views for all passengers with large windows, overhead glass panels
" Driver-oriented cockpit with analogue and digital instrumentation
" Full-length centre-beam console with drop-down pass-throughs
" Wood and aluminium-strip inlay construction flooring
" Wood and aluminium pedals
" Infiniti analogue clock with hand-etched aluminium face
" LED lighting in overhead console, arm rests, door grips and foot wells, six individual overhead reading lights

Exterior

" Exterior designed to express a dynamic movement from front to rear and catch light reflections as if by a vigorous brush stroke
" Six doors with rear-hinged 3rd row access, one-piece rear cargo area access door, wrap-around rear glass
" Stepped roofline
" Infiniti-style "double-arch" tinted aluminium grille
" Wide aluminium band roof surround, three large glass roof panels
" Hidden, sectional side steps that pivot out from beneath the vehicle when doors are opened; lighted, milled aluminium and wood-inlay construction
" Sculpted-quality, multi-lamp LED headlights with tiny "surround-view" camera to detect potential blind spots, pin light-style fog lamps
" Multi-lamp LED taillights with anodized violet-tinted metal surrounds
" Carriage-style side mirrors with integrated LED spotlights and turn signal indicators
" Large, milled aluminium door handles
" Rich, deep violet three-coat pearl metallic paint

Information Technology

" 16x6-inch vertically oriented "Kakejiku" touch-screen centre monitor
" Multi-functional display with changeable image screens and programmable information displays (weather, road conditions)
" Instrument panel mounted compass and gyro meter displays
" Analogue gauges with violet LED illumination
" Wood and aluminium-strip flooring

Wheels and Tyres

" 23-inch 8-spoke aluminium-alloy wheels
" Special Dunlop 305/45R23 tyres

Design

" Designed by Nissan Design, Nissan Technical Center, Atsugi, Japan

09/01/05

Nissan Azeal Coupe Concept


The Nissan AZEAL Coupe Concept, which makes its world debut at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a fresh interpretation of the classic compact sports coupe - an affordable, performance-oriented entry-level coupe with the style and personality to match the lifestyles of its young, active target buyers.

The AZEAL design exercise is the first concept car created by Nissan Design America's (NDA) new studio in Farmington Hills, Mich.

AZEAL features an aggressive body design with wide wheel arches, short overhangs and a sharply sloped rear roofline with integrated active airfoil. The interior combines a dark, industrial metallic instrument panel appearance contrasted by Wasabi Chartreuse fabric seats and an open greenhouse with glass-panel roof.

AZEAL is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. It rides on 19-inch wheels and tyres.

Highlights of the Nissan AZEAL Coupe Concept include:

Exterior

" Aggressive, athletic proportions characterised by wide wheel arches, broad shoulders and short overhangs
" Open, airy greenhouse with glass-panel roof with centre metal insert
" Aggressively sloped roofline with integrated active airfoil
" Structural roof rails with built-in clips for mounting roof racks
" Light-jet headlights, prism-like fog lights with brake cooling ducts and a full-width high mounted stop light located in the active airfoil
" 19-inch aluminium-alloy wheels with unique machined and painted surface treatment
" Dual exhausts and integrated rear diffuser
" Integrated turn signals on side mirrors
" Liquid Titanium metallic paint

Interior


" Modern, driver-oriented cockpit
" 2+2 seating with split-folding rear seat with ski pass-through
" Ventilated powered front seats with under-seat storage compartments
" Modular centre console with adjustable armrest and integrated electronic parking brake
" Auxiliary port for MP3 player and PDA, built-in navigation system with retractable screen
" Sinister Gunmetal finish interior trim, Wasabi Chartreuse seat materials
" Sequential lighting on rocker side sills
" Active synchronised mirror system
" Integrated mood lighting
" Illuminated starter button on instrument panel

Drivetrain


" 2.5-litre DOHC 4-cylinder, variable-valve timing, turbocharged engine
" Close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with limited slip differential

Design


" Designed, created and managed by Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA), Farmington Hills, Mich.

07/01/05

McRae Rests at Home after Dakar Rally Retirement


Colin McRae is resting at home in Lanark today after retiring his Nissan Rally Raid Team Pickup in spectacular style from the lead of the Telefonica Dakar Rally.

Having started motorsport's most gruelling event from Barcelona on New Year's Eve, McRae set a stunning pace when the desert competition begun in Africa two days later. In the first three stages in Morocco, the 1995 World Rally Champion - taking part in only his second Dakar Rally - was fastest on two of them. The highlight for the team was Colin leading home Nissan's first ever one-two Dakar Rally stage win with team-mate Giniel de Villiers on the Agadir to Smara section (stage five).

Despite a puncture on stage four, which cost McRae over three minutes on the section from Rabat to Agadir which denied the 36-year old Scott a clean-sweep of stage wins in Morocco, Colin and his Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner had established a solid 5 min 28 sec lead over de Villiers as they entered Mauritania.

At 492kms in length, the sixth stage between Smara and Zouerat was the longest of the event so far, yet McRae's Nissan Pickup had run faultlessly and with a carefully prepared route, he and Tina were making exceptionally good progress until disaster struck 410kms into the section.

A strong wind made visibility very bad and holes in the ground were being filled in by the powdery sand which continuously swept across the surface. Such a hole was right in the middle of the section of road that Colin was racing down and, impossible to see, his Nissan hit it at high speed. The rear of the Pickup kicked up, the front dug into the soft sand and it rolled end-over-end several times. Colin immediately telephoned his wife Alison to say he was shaken but okay and was then taken to the bivouac by a television helicopter - after they had interviewed him at the scene, naturally! - for a medical check-up.

The following day Colin was driven to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, where he returned home on an overnight flight.

Colin said: "The roads in Morocco are more like normal gravel rally stages, so it was easier to press on with a good pace and we were really pleased to have opened up a good lead. We knew the stages in Mauritania were more desert and would suit the drivers with more Dakar desert experience, so entering Mauritania with a five minute lead was as good as we could have hoped for. In fact, the stage from Smara to Zouerat was going really well. Tina had done a lot of work on the maps the night before and we had kept away from the big dunes and found a really nice section of road and were making good time.

"We were only six kilometres from the CP3 time control and we knew that from that point on it was plain sailing. Then a bump in the road just caught us out. We probably had already passed 50 holes exactly the same on either side of the car that day and had not noticed them, but this one was right in the middle of the road. There was a strong wind - it was like driving in fog at times and as the wind was moving the sand along the surface the hole was filled in with soft powdery sand, so it was impossible to see the hole until you were in it. The back of the car flipped up and the front dug into the soft sand and over we went. I don't know how many times we rolled, but there were a few big bangs and we came to rest about 150 metres from where the accident has started. Tina and I are a little stiff, but otherwise we are both fine. The Pickup stood up extremely well - the cockpit never moved and the Nissan team did a very good job designing and building a strong car."

The Dakar Rally continues, with Colin's Nissan Rally Raid Team team-mates Giniel de Villiers and Ari Vatanen racing towards a well earned rest day in Atar, Mauritania, on Sunday, before crossing Mali and finishing in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on 16 January.

07/01/05

New Four-Wheel Drives will Further Strengthen Nissan Residuals Claims Eurotaxglass's


Nissan's launch of two new four-wheel drives in 2005 - the Murano and Pathfinder - will spell a further strengthening of the manufacturer's residual values in the fleet sector claims EurotaxGlass's.

A combination of low volumes, stylish good looks and family car practicality suggest strong residuals for the Murano and Pathfinder that will also have a halo effect on the rest of the Nissan range in 2005 and beyond.

EurotaxGlass's is predicting a residual value of 46% for the Nissan Murano 3.5 Auto after three years and 60,000 miles, which means it will depreciate by £16,106, less than any of its close rivals.

Over the same period of time and mileage, EurotaxGlass's predicts the VW Touareg 3.2 Auto will depreciate by £18,253, the BMW X5 3.0i SE Auto by £17,605 and the Lexus RX300 SE Auto by £17,022.

"Not only does the Murano have a version of the 234PS V6 petrol engine from the 350Z, but it also shares plenty of design cues with the Coupe/Roadster which should ensure cult following of the new four-wheel drive," explained Jason King, Forecasting Editor of EurotaxGlass's.

"There should be no shortage of style conscious accountants, architects and professional people looking to buy a new Murano and because there are only 1,300 cars being imported residuals should stay very strong for a long while," he added.

Glass's hasn't set residuals for the new Pathfinder yet, but King is confident that the new four-wheel drive will follow in the Murano's footsteps.

"The car is big and spacious, it shares the same rugged styling as the Patrol and the low volumes should spell strong residuals for the four-wheel drive," he said.

This follows Nissan's decision in 2004 to reduce its short-cycle business, which has already seen Glass's predict higher residual values for the Nissan X-Trail than the Land Rover Freelander and Micra residuals strengthen against the class leading VW Polo and Toyota Yaris.

06/01/05

Nissan Response to Asian Tsunami Disaster


In response to the devastation caused by the tsunami in Asia and East Africa, Nissan has pledged 100 million yen to help the disaster relief effort.

Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. said: "We have all been shocked and saddened by the earthquake and its devastating effects on the lives of millions in the region. Over the coming weeks and months, Nissan will be working closely with local and international authorities to determine the most effective way of allocating these funds."

In addition to the 100 million yen support, Nissan has also pledged to match employees' personal donations with an equivalent contribution to the disaster relief effort.

06/01/05

Nissan Offers Cash Reward


Anybody who trades in a current or classic Micra for a new, top-of-the-range Micra SVE will get an £800 thank you from Nissan. They will also get three years' free servicing and three years' free roadside assistance. And if they choose to finance their purchase over three years and have enough for a 40% deposit, they will pay zero interest. (Actually, Nissan isn't being quite so discriminatory with the three year peace of mind and 0% interest offers - these apply whatever you trade in, livestock excepted.)

It says something that the Micra already enjoys one of the highest loyalty rates in its class. Yes, that offering current Micra drivers £800 to buy a new SVE could prove expensive. For Nissan, that is. For the customer, it would bring the price of a new SVE down to as little as £9695 for the fully equipped 1.4-litre three-door or no more than £11,245 for the 1.4-litre five-door automatic.

The SVE's specification will have classic Micra drivers thinking they've been given a Primera. Or hallucinatory drugs. Keyless entry and start up, parking sensors, electronic climate control, rain sensing wipers, see-you-home lighting, a computer that wishes you "Happy birthday" … it's all standard on the SVE.

One thing lacking in the Micra SVE, admits Nissan, is free insurance. Yes, well, a company can only be so generous and Nissan has done hardship once already. However Nissan is offering free insurance on Micra S, SE Extras and SX in lieu of the SVE's loyalty bonus. Previously Nissan's free insurance excluded under 21s. Not any longer. It now applies to anyone as old as 19 (21 still in Northern Ireland - sorry) or as young as 80. But you have to finance your purchase using Nissan's Preferences scheme. That's not such a bad thing if it's a Micra S you're buying because Nissan will also knock £500 off your deposit … whatever you currently drive.


05/01/05

Gran Turizmo


Anybody who thinks that a droptop is the only Z newz due in 2005 is wrong. Very wrong. Because on 13 January at Autosport International, Birmingham, Nissan will unveil a limited production, 300PS edition of its 350Z coupe in association with Sony PlayStation's 'Gran Turismo 4: The Real Driving Simulator'. You might want a moment to read that again.

Only 176 of these machines will be available in the UK at a price Nissan will announce at Autosport International. Pre-orders will be taken from 1 February at the traditional time of 3.50pm. And yes, Nissan expects them to go pretty sharpish.

The GT4 is the zippiest 350Z Nissan has yet sold in the UK. The award winning 3.5-litre V6 motor gets revised pistons and camshaft as well as electronic exhaust valve timing control. This helps produce another 20PS to give 300PS developed at 6400 rpm - that's 200 rpm higher than standard which says a lot about the revier nature of the GT4. Top speed remains a limited 155 mph but at 5.8 seconds, the GT4 is even quicker to 62 mph than standard. It howls louder, too.

All 176 GT4s run on a new design of lacquered, five-spoke, 18" alloy wheel. And no, they won't be available as an option on the standard Z … nor will the sensational Ultra Yellow paint job that covers 76 of the UK's allocation of GT4s. This special paint uses a high-luminance, high-chroma pearl pigment along with three layers of top coat to give a surface that looks like you could dive in and swim about. And forget eye-catching. This colour is eyeball-wrenching. In quiet contrast, the remaining 100 will be painted in stark Kuro Black.

Inside, the interior mirrors that of the 350Z GT Pack with two black leathered, electrically adjustable and heated seats as well as a thumping, 240 watt BOSE tuned stereo and 6 CD in-dash changer. Marking out each UK supplied GT4 will be a numbered, interior mounted plaque and in the boot, owners will find a gift box from Nissan containing a Sony PS2 and GT4 game. So play can continue at home, obviously.

Gran Turismo 4 is Sony's second full GT game for PS2 and gets its Europe-wide launch, as every gamer knows, towards the end of February. With this latest release, Polyphony takes a massive stride forward towards its aim of crafting the 'ultimate racing game'. Topping the innovations of Gran Turismo 4 is a mind-boggling new physics model that allows for the most realistic simulation yet across 50 different racing circuits of the driving characteristics of each car. And there are 500 to choose from. Only one though has been considered worthy enough by Sony to bear the Gran Turismo 4 name … the Nissan 350Z.

The only time the GT4 will be shown in the UK before deliveries start in March is at Autosport International in what will be its European debut. As well as seeing the car on Nissan's stand, visitors will get a preview of the game. And a chance to drive the car … in virtual reality, that is. If you're going, look for Nissan Motorsport's Dakar Pickup above the crowds and a flash of yellow. Or just listen for the buzz that will be around it.

05/01/05

Nissan Admits Mistake


Nissan's Primera range was revised and revisited in 2004 and the line-up expanded to include a new SX version sporting big wheels and big equipment. Mistake - the new SX didn't have satellite navigation, which is what punters want. Well, it does now. And it's priced at less than it was before.

To fix the situation, Nissan is brutally killing off the Primera SE and replacing it with an SX with added DVD 'Birdview' satellite navigation system including automatic traffic monitoring. They're officially the same price - £15,750 to £18,650 - which you can view in one of two ways. It's a rise of £500 for the SX in return for a sat nav system some companies would charge £2000 for. Or for the same price as the now defunct SE, buyers get an SX that adds 17" alloys and a 6CD changer for nowt. Except unofficially the SX is not the same price as the SE.

As part of a range of customer offers, Nissan is paying for its mistake by slashing the price of the SX five-door by £755 and the Estate by £1355. That makes the SX with added sat nav as much as £855 LESS than it cost before. And it's now available with three years 0% finance (plus a 40% deposit, please) just like the Primera SVE and T-spec. Prices include satellite navigation system and a slice of humble pie.

21/12/04

Nissan Azeal Concept Stays Close To Home In Detroit Debut

Nissan's AZEAL Coupe, the first concept car created at the new Nissan Design America, Inc. studios in Farmington Hills, Michigan, is set to debut at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in early January. The AZEAL Coupe Concept is a fresh interpretation of the "pocket rocket" - an affordable, high performance entry-level coupe with an emphasis on personality and aggressive styling.

Nissan will also highlight its line-up of innovative trucks and SUVs built off the advanced F-Alpha platform: the Titan, Armada, Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra. With every model either all-new or completely redesigned within the past 18 months, Nissan has the newest lineup of trucks and SUVs of any major car manufacturer.

20/12/04

McRae Ready To Take The Desert By Storm

Colin McRae is better prepared for the Telefonica Dakar Rally this year than he was 12 months ago, and whilst the Nissan Rally Raid Team driver is aiming for a podium finish, he believes winning motorsport's greatest challenge at only his second attempt is a real possibility.

This year's Dakar Rally begins in Barcelona on 31 December, and while his fellow Scots will be celebrating Hogmanay, McRae will be preparing to drive his race-prepared Nissan Pickup over 5,565 gruelling miles and through five countries in 16 days, in the greatest motorsport adventure known to man.

Co-driven once again by 37-year old Swede Tina Thörner, McRae is part of a three car Nissan Rally Raid Team which also includes four-times Dakar winner Ari Vatanen (co-driven for the first time by Tiziano Siviero) and South African Cross-Country Rally Champion Giniel de Villiers and his co-pilot Jean-Marie Lurquin.

Since winning two special stages on his Dakar Rally debut in January 2004, Colin has played an integral part in the development of the new Nissan Pickup 2005 - which is 80% different to the vehicle he drove to 20th position on the Dakar 2004. This year the 36-year old 1995 World Rally Champion has tested the Pickup in Tunisia and Morocco, contested the UAE Desert Challenge and drove the 4.0-litre V6-engined six-speed sequential-shift Pickup 2005 to victory on its debut appearance on the Baja Portugal.

It's the new Pickup 2005, a highly motivated team and his experience of racing across the Sahara that fills Colin with quiet confidence in the countdown to the start of the Dakar Rally 2005.

McRae said: "We are aiming for a podium result, but it's such a long endurance event that it is possible to win. You have to approach the Dakar with the right attitude and have a certain amount of experience on different types of terrain, but it's an event you can win on your first attempt if you have the right car and the right team. Last year we were very under prepared compared to where we are now and we had some reliability problems. Since January this year we've been testing and developing the new Pickup and hopefully we're now at a level where we can do the full event with a minimum amount of trouble. I don't think anyone does the Dakar and doesn't have a problem, so you've just got to limit the number of problems and manage them as best as you can. Personally I'll be setting off with a win in mind."

THE ROUTE: FROM RAMBLAS TO LAC ROSE

This year's Telefonica-Dakar Rally is shorter than in previous years, but it will be no less demanding. It races through five countries - Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal in 17 days - beginning with a super-special in Barcelona on 31 December and finishing on the beach in Dakar on 16 January. The route covers a gruelling 8,956 km (5,565 miles), with 16 special stages totalling 5,431km (3,375 miles) - equivalent in competitive distance to an entire Formula 1 season.

The longest stage of the event this year is in Mauritania. Drivers will face a 660km (410 mile) trek through mountainous dune fields and tall camel grass between Zouérat and the oasis at Tichit - only be told that their team cannot work on their cars overnight. This is the first of two marathon stages, where assistance from their mechanics is forbidden. To reach their team, another 520km (323 miles) of sandy stage awaits, as crews plot their way through the famous Nega Pass and follow a rocky and sinuous track to Tidjikja.

After the only rest day in Atar on 9 January, crews head south through Mauritania and into Mali (and onto another marathon stage between Kiffa and Bamako), before heading west to Senegal and the famous special stage around Lac Rose. The 27th running of the Dakar concludes with a return to tradition, with the run down the beach.

Q&A with Colin McRae

What do you think is a realistic aim for you in the 2005 Dakar?

CM: We are aiming for a podium result, but it's such a long endurance event that it is possible to win. You have to approach the Dakar with the right attitude and have a certain amount of experience on different types of terrain, but it's an event you can win on your first attempt if you have the right car and the right team. Last year we were very under prepared compared to where we are now and we had some reliability problems. Since January this year we've been testing and developing the new Pickup and hopefully we're now at a level where we can do the full event with a minimum amount of trouble. I don't think anyone does the Dakar and doesn't have a problem, so you've just got to limit the number of problems and manage them as best as you can. Personally I'll be setting off with a win in mind.

Is it difficult to pace yourself on such a long event and where reliability is key?
CM: The pace varies all the time depending on road conditions. The Dakar is a bit like the Safari Rally in that you've got to find a basic pace. You're usually pushing on at between ninety to ninety five percent and be prepared to vary your speed quickly depending on the road conditions and what you can and cannot see. What I learned last year is that we must push quite hard in the beginning and make sure we get into Africa in a good position. To get into the desert in a top three position would be ideal, because last year we didn't and we had so many problems with dust. We spent an entire stage last year driving in a thick cloud of dust thrown up by cars ahead of us and it makes it very frustrating and very dangerous when you're trying to catch someone and pass them.

Was contesting your first Dakar Rally last year a bit of a surprise or pretty much what you'd expected?

CM: It was more or less what I expected really - the trick with that type of event is to get used to the vastness of it and the length of the stages. Having said that, I remember thinking to myself at the start of the first long section last year that I knew what I was in for and that I could anticipate what was ahead. Things were going fairly well and I thought I must be half way through the five hundred kilometre stage - but when I looked at the trip meter we'd only done a hundred kilometres! It's dealing with things like that which you have to overcome and keep driving, even your brain tells you, 'hold on, you must have passed the finish line by now'. You've got to get into a sort of fairly laid back mode and not worry so much about time. You don't worry about losing a minute or two or having to stop to change a puncture; it's all about getting away from a World Rally Championship mentality, relaxing a bit and at the same time obviously driving as quickly as you can in the given conditions.

Is the Dakar physically difficult?

CM: I didn't know what to expect so I did a lot of physical training last year and I've done the same this year again - probably more. I was really quite surprised how easy it was physically. Your arse gets numb after a while, but it wasn't too tiring.

Sometimes we'd arrive late at night and have to do a bit of work ourselves, but even then it wasn't too bad. It's very tough for the team, especially the mechanics, because they're working on the cars all night, drive all day and then work on the cars all night again. For them it's really tough but for the crew it's not too bad at all.

Do you have to put your own tent up?

CM: Considering we were in the middle of the Sahara we had quite reasonable dwellings, and I only actually slept in a tent for a quarter of the time. Tina and I kept having bets on different things and the loser had to put the tents up - she generally lost so she had to put my tent up most of the time!

Are you worried about the dangers of driving across the Sahara?

CM: No, not really. I don't think about the dangers - it's just the challenge of doing it that excites me. Everybody said before I went that, 'oh it's dangerous, you shouldn't do it, you can have a big accident,' and yeah, you can if you approach it in the wrong way. For sure there's always a risk, but there's a bigger chance of having a more serious accident on a World Championship rally than there is on the Dakar because in the WRC you've got to push yourself 100 per cent all the time if you want to achieve a result. On the Dakar if you're not quite sure of a piece of terrain that's coming up you just back off, lose a few seconds - even 10 seconds, it's not the end of the world.

If you did that in the WRC, forget it, you aren't going to win. So for me anyway you could argue that the Dakar is safer if you approach it with the right mentality. Having said that, I'll probably have a big accident now….

15/12/04

Stephane Schwarz Named Design Director At Nissan Design Europe

(Trappes- 15 December, 2004) - Nissan has announced the appointment of Stéphane Schwarz as Design Director at Nissan Design Europe (NDE), the company's vehicle design studio in Paddington, London.

In his new role, 38-year old Schwarz supervises a team of designers at Nissan's European design centre. He reports directly to Satoru Tai, Vice-President of Nissan Design Europe and is involved in Production Programmes as well as Advanced Design developments. He also focuses on the Perceived Quality of Nissan's products which is key to leveraging Nissan's brand image and design identity.

Schwarz earned a Bachelor of Science in Transportation Design from the Art Centre College of Design in Switzerland. Since joining Nissan in the Design Department in 1994 he has led a number of projects, including concept and show cars such as Fusion and Kino as well as production cars with the new Primera. More recently, Schwarz led the Primera minor change for Nissan in Europe.

In 2003, Mr Schwarz became Associate Product Chief Designer at Nissan Design Centre in Japan where he worked cross functionally - including product planning, marketing and engineering - on various design projects until the final Design Selection for Production.

NDE opened in January 2003 and is home to over 60 international designers, modellers and support staff. The studio's mission is to design the next generation of Nissan cars for Europe. It will also be involved in global design projects and play a strategically important role in Nissan's creative network comprising seven design studios worldwide.

Nissan employs around 12,000 people in its European design, research and development, manufacturing, logistics, sales and marketing operations. Last year, the company sold 542,292 vehicles in Europe.

14/12/04

Nissan To Reveal Infiniti Kuraza Concept In Detroit

Nissan's Infiniti Kuraza Concept takes an exploratory look at future SUV interior design, starting with equal comfort, amenities and roominess provided for all passengers. The Kuraza Concept combines traditional Japanese design cues, extensive use of natural materials and modern technology to create a highly social, highly luxurious interior environment.

The Kuraza Concept makes its global debut at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 10, 2005. Infiniti will also show production versions of the powerful new 2006 Infiniti M performance luxury saloon that goes on sale at Infiniti dealerships in the US early spring 2005.

13/12/04

Renrod Ltd Opens Meridian Project In Trowbridge

Renrod Ltd is proud to announce the opening on the 20th December of the "Meridian Project" - a state of the art motor park development on the gateway to Trowbridge. It will be home to Platinum Nissan and three other Platinum dealerships.

The new development represents a major investment and a quantum leap forward for the company and is the culmination of approximately 4 years work - from the original purchase of the land, through the various planning and designing processes and then to the construction of the buildings and facilities themselves.

The site incorporates the latest standards in automotive retailing and as such will provide customers with an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and practical environment with which to select the vehicle or service of choice.

The company will be releasing further stories and images relating to the "Meridian Project" in the coming weeks - please return to our websites for the latest information.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new businesses.

01/12/04

Platinum Nissan Technician Achieves HNC

One of Platinum Nissan's technicians has achieved his Higher National Certificate in Business Management, ensuring that he has the further training and skills to reach his career potential within the company.

Philip Evans who is based at Platinum Nissan in Box (Near Bath), started his HNC training in September of 2002 with SMB Training of Bristol. The 2 year course provided a good understanding of business management skills such as customer care, budgeting and finance, time management and prioritisation and people management. The course involved studying for 5 hours a week whilst working full time alongside this.

Philip, who is aged 29 and lives in Corsham with his partner, has been a technician with Platinum Nissan for 6 years and committed to achieving his HNC in order to progress his motor trade career. Before becoming a technician with Platinum, Mr Evans worked for his family business - Evans Albert Road Garage - as a mechanic.

Mr Evans said, "I decided that I needed to gain further training to be in a better position of career progression within Renrod Ltd (owner of Platinum Nissan) and to secure a better future. Renrod Ltd encouraged me and supported me in my training and I am really pleased to have achieved my HNC in Business Management."

He added, "I really enjoyed the course and was proud to be awarded my certificate at the presentation evening in September. I am now putting the skills that I learnt into use and looking into the possibilities of taking my Higher National Diploma next year."

Richard Pulsford Brand Manager at Platinum Nissan said, "I'm delighted that Phil has achieved his HNC qualification and we are pleased to be able assist him in his career development with the group."

Platinum is a part of Renrod Ltd, one of the South West's largest automotive retailers, offering the Vauxhall, Renault, Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Skoda brands. The management team has an ongoing commitment to training young people, which is viewed as a way of investing in the future of the company.

The group has a policy not just to employ experienced staff, but also to look for new members of personnel to join the team that can be trained, who can then go on to contribute to the company and further their own careers.

01/12/04

'NISSAN TV' Gets A Good Reception

A unique 'camera shuttle' is helping employees at Nissan's Sunderland plant work, by letting staff watch themselves build cars on 'live TV'.

Cameras have been fitted onto two motorised shuttles on the Primera/Almera door assembly line in the Trim & Chassis Shop.

The shuttles have been programmed to travel down the line relaying pictures of the car doors onto a 17-inch screen. The operator watches the screen to help him/her fit parts onto the far side of the door, instead of having to work by touch.

The shuttles were designed and built in-house by the plant's 'Kaizen' workshop - kaizen is a Japanese word meaning 'the spirit of continuous improvement'.
Kaizen Supervisor, Colin Carr, explained: "Because one side of the door faces away from the operator as it moves down the line, some of the work had to be carried out 'blind'.

We tried several ideas to improve the situation, such as using mirrors, but none worked well enough to hit the very high quality standards we set. It was then suggested that we use cameras to allow manufacturing staff to actually see themselves working on a TV screen."

The motorised shuttles are programmed to move independently of the line so, while one films rear doors, the other tracks the front doors.

Colin added: "It was a difficult project because there's very little space line side, so the shuttles had to be kept as small and as light as possible.

"We ironed out all the teething problems in a couple of months and put the shuttles to work. I'm pleased to say that they are delivering good results in terms of boosting quality, and the operators have quickly got used to watching themselves on TV."

16/11/04

Colin McRae Heads Three Car Nissan Team on Dakar 2005

Nissan unveiled its three car team that it hopes will bring it success on one of the world's toughest motorsport challenges - the Dakar 2005 - at the Automobile Club de France in Paris today, and leading the Nissan Rally Raid Team's challenge will be Britain's Colin McRae.

The 35-year old Scottish driver has been instrumental in the test and development of the new Nissan Pickup 2005 this year - which is 80% different to the Pickup in which he made his Dakar Rally debut in almost 12 months ago. On his first Dakar Rally, McRae (the 1995 World Rally Champion) set fastest time on two desert stages and has since then tested the Pickup in Morocco and Tunisia and contested the UAE Desert Challenge in Dubai. Together with his new co-driver Tina Thorner (Sweden), McRae drove the Pickup 2005 to victory on its debut event, the Baja Portalegre in October, giving the team great confidence in its attempt to finish on the podium on the Dakar 2005.

McRae's team-mates will be the four-times Dakar winner and 1981 World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen (Finland), who will be behind the wheel of the Nissan Pickup for the third consecutive year. The absolute record-holder for the number of stage wins, having celebrated his 50th on the Dakar 2004, Vatanen will be co-driven for the first time in his career by Tiziano Siviero (Italy), the former co-driver for another World Rally Champion, Miki Biasion.

The third Nissan Pickup with be driven by the South African Cross-Country Rally Champion Giniel de Villiers, who will also have a new co-driver guiding him through the Sahara - Jean-Marie Lurquin (Belgium).

Colin McRae said: "The Dakar is a great challenge and I must have enjoyed it last year because I'm back again! The event is something I've always wanted to do for years, and I remember when I was young watching Ari Vatanen contesting the event and thinking how great it looked. When I had the opportunity to do it for the first time last year with Nissan I jumped at the chance, and now I'm delighted to be back. The event was pretty much as I expected it would be, but I also learned a lot. I plan to start a lot faster this year and not get stuck behind other people's dust. You also have to learn to be patient and get the way you approach a World Championship rally out of your mind. If you have to stop and change a puncture and lose two minutes it's not the end of the world.

"Reliability is the key. Nissan has done a tremendous job to develop and build a new Pickup in just nine months. It's a small and dedicated team which works very well together and although you always wish you had more time to do more testing, our victory in Portugal has given us a great confidence boost."

Ari Vatanen said: "When I drove the new Pickup for the first time, after just ten kilometres I said, 'Okay, this car can do it'. We are quietly confident, but on the Dakar you have to be humble because it's a great challenge - but this time we start off with as much chance as anyone else. When we talk about finishing on the podium, it can be on the middle step."

Giniel de Villiers said: "Dakar is a very special event and I'm really looking forward to returning. It's my co-driver's fifteenth attempt at the rally, so he has a lot of experience, and with the new Nissan Pickup 2005 I believe we have a very good chance of scoring a good result."

Gilles Martineau, Team Manager, Nissan Rally Raid Team, said: "Our objective is to be on the podium when we reach the finish in Dakar. Compared to last year, the Pickup 2005 may look like it has only lost its rear wing, but underneath it is eighty per cent new. We have great support from Nissan and a talented team. I hope our recent victory in Portugal is a good sign for us!"

Dakar 2005 starts in Barcelona on January 1st and finishes in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, on January 16th. Two T4 trucks, five T5 trucks and six Nissan Patrol assistance vehicles will support the three car team during the event.

11/11/04

Keep Your Ion Nissan

New air purifying technology has been launched by Nissan in Japan that cleans the air inside the car leading to a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere using the magic of ion particles.

A built-in Plasmacluster Ion™ generator produces positive and negative ions from water and oxygen molecules in the air. When these ions encounter airborne microbes, fungi, viruses and airborne pollens in the passenger compartment air, the ions form clusters around the naughty wee microparticles, react chemically with them, rendering them inactive. The feature is available on the Cube and March (Micra).

Once the space around you is clean, the generator releases primarily negative ions to maintain air quality and freshness. It is these negative or 'minus' ions that are purported to reduce stress and bring about feelings of happiness. They do this by purifying the air, reducing bacteria and decomposing odours. Your health should be improved along with your overall well-being as the ions provide a more tranquil setting in which to just "be".

In the quest to relax and de-stress, ionising has become a craze in Japan. Everything from bin liners to bracelets and hoovers to hair dryers have a 'minus ion' feature. Whilst this technological sensation seems to be unique to Japan, there is no doubt that we could do with a bit of stress release and tranquillity over here, too. Especially on the M25.

04/11/04

Restructure For Special Vehicles Team At Nissan

Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd has restructured its fleet team to enable greater focus on blue light vehicles and vehicle conversions.

Phil Cripps has been appointed Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Manager with overall responsibility for the company's vehicle conversions. Primarily on the light commercial vehicle side of the business, Phil will work closely with customers and dealers to determine the best type of conversion for their needs.

Phil has worked with Nissan since 1991 in a variety of roles from aftersales to dealer support, more recently working as Fleet Technical Support Manager with responsibility for all police and MOD contracts as well as special vehicles and technical support.

The newly created role of SVO Manager ensures a focus on this growing area of business for Nissan, and in addition to working with customers and dealers on conversions, will also manage the development of the first mini-bus and refrigerated vehicles to be introduced onto the LCV price list.

As part of the restructure, Theresa Wynn, Major Accounts Manager has had her role within the fleet department extended to cover all of the manufacturer's "blue light" division.

With almost 200 vehicles, from Primeras and Micras right through to commercial vehicles and pickups, ordered in the past 12 months, the division is going from strength to strength.

Theresa, who has worked within Nissan for the past eight years, is now the main day-to-day contact for all of the police, ambulance and fire brigades working with Nissan and will work closely with Phil Cripps.

The reorganisation of the department marks the company's investment in this area, which saw the appointment of a dedicated administrator, Lisa Sweeney earlier in the year.

Dave Murfitt, Fleet Sales Director comments: "Special vehicles, especially LCVs, are a rapid growth area for Nissan and this restructure will allow us to manage increasing demand from our customers. We have managed many successful projects with police and healthcare trusts in the past year, as well as conversions for companies such as Central Networks. The demand for quality product and well thought out conversions stands us in good stead to carve a niche for Nissan in this area."

02/11/04

Micra Hide 'N' Heat

Nissan is playing a game of hide 'n' heat. It's offering free two-tone leather trim with heated front seats to all customers who buy a Micra SX before the end of the year. But that's not all. The Micra SX also comes with free insurance for a year if it's purchased using Preferences, Nissan's personal contract purchase plan.

The SX is the funkiest of Micras with the youngest average customer. They're attracted to its 15" alloys, dark tinted headlamps and rear roof spoiler. Kit-wise, the SX is stacked. Electronic climate control, Intelligent Key, front fog lamps, a trip computer and six-speaker CD music system are all included together now with hide 'n' heat. There are six different Micra SX versions with a choice of 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines, or an 82PS 1.5-litre dCi common rail diesel unit; each is offered with either three- or five-doors and prices start at £10,195. Is there a better equipped small car for the money? If there is, it's been hiding because Nissan can't find one.
In the New Year when these offers end, the leather trim and seats will become available as an option for £850.

29/10/04

Nissan Net Income Rises To 238.8 Billion Yen In FY04 First Half

Maintains double-digit operating profit margin of 10.1%

Oct. 29, 2004 - Tokyo, Japan - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced financial results for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005. In the six months through September, Nissan's net income after tax totalled 238.8 billion yen (US $2.17 billion, euro 1.79 billion), an increase of 0.5% compared with last year.

"Many of the external risks we forecast at the beginning of the year have materialised, including higher incentives, commodity prices and interest rates," said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "Despite this challenging environment, we still achieved strong results for the first half due to robust sales in the U.S. and continuous improvement in our European operations."

Nissan's net consolidated revenue amounted to 4.008 trillion yen (US $36.5 billion, euro 30.1billion), up 12.7% compared with the same period last year. Operating profit in the first half totalled 403.4 billion yen (US $3.67 billion, euro 3.03 billion), up 0.6 % from the same period a year ago, while the operating profit margin came to 10.1%. Ordinary profit amounted to 401.4 billion yen (US $3.66 billion, euro 3.02 billion), up 2.8%.

Globally, Nissan sold a total of 1,596,000 vehicles in the first half of the fiscal year, an increase of 8.8% compared with last year.

In Japan, sales fell 4.9% to 368,000 units, including mini-vehicles. In the U.S., sales grew 16.6% to 489,000 units. In Europe, sales rose 6.6% to 285,000 units in the same period. Sales in General Overseas Markets advanced 15.2% to 454,000 units, including sales in China of 84,000 units.

Ghosn said Nissan would maintain its forecast for the full fiscal year, despite the volatile and uncertain global environment.

"The business climate in the second half is likely to remain severe as the risks are expected to continue," said Ghosn. "Despite this outlook, we are maintaining our full-year forecast, supported by strong business fundamentals and the release of nine all-new models in key markets around the world."

Nissan forecasts full-year net revenue of 8.176 trillion yen, operating profit of 860 billion yen, ordinary profit of 846 billion yen and net profit of 510 billion yen.
The results for the first half include, for the first time, a 50% proportional consolidation of Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd, Nissan's joint venture in China, and the full consolidation of Siam Nissan Automobile Co., Ltd, in Thailand and Yulon Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, in Taiwan.

Other FY04 first-half financial highlights

Indebtedness:
Consolidated net automotive indebtedness amounted to 100.2 billion yen (US $913 million, euro 753 million) in the first half, down from 278.1 billion yen on September 30, 2003.

Consolidated net debt for sales financing operations totalled 3.290 trillion yen (US $29.96 billion, euro 24.72 billion), up from 2.712 trillion yen on September 30, 2003, reflecting the significant sales growth of the company.

Shareholder's equity:
Consolidated shareholder's equity totalled 2.257 trillion yen (US $20.55 billion, euro 16.95 billion), an increase of 233 billion yen compared to 2.024 trillion yen as of March 31, 2004.

Notes: Amounts in dollars and euros are translated for the convenience of the reader at the foreign exchange rates of 109.8 yen/dollar and 133.1 yen/euro, the average rates for the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

27/10/04

Nissan Fleet Sales Strategy Leads To Stronger Residuals

Nissan's strategy of changing its fleet sales mix has helped it improve residual values during 2004.

In the past 12 months Nissan's strategy of reducing its short cycle business has changed its sales mix, which has in turn increased residual values on both the X-TRAIL and Micra, with future values of both the new Pathfinder and Murano also looking positive.

According to EurotaxGlass's the Nissan X-TRAIL has a better residual value than the Freelander and Hyundai's Tucson. After three years and 60,000 miles it is worth 50.9% of its cost new compared with 46.9% and 44.4% for the respective Freelander and Tucson.

CAP Clean residual value figures for October showed that the Micra 1.2S is worth 64% of its original value after 12 months and 10,000 miles. That puts the Nissan just behind the Polo and Yaris in the residual value stakes and well ahead of the Citroën C3, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

'We have sat down with the residual value experts and have explained our strategy of reducing our short cycle sales. Nine months on they have seen the impact on the Nissan brand and have made positive adjustments to our residuals,' explained Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director.

'Stronger residuals also mean lower contract hire rentals, so we are seeing our cars become more competitive in this market as a result of our new sales strategy,' he added.

Nissan's fleet department is looking forward to the Pathfinder and Murano in early 2005. Although they won't guarantee large fleet volumes for Nissan, their stylish design will provide a positive effect to the brand, especially with user choosers according to Murfitt.

'Both 4x4s are high profile and will help build up awareness of the Nissan brand, with user choosers in particular. Combine these two new models with the 350Z and the
X-TRAIL and I believe user choosers will help provide future growth for Nissan, which reinforces back to our sales strategy of improving our fleet sales mix.

'The early signs are that the Pathfinder and Murano's mix of style, high specification and relatively low volume will mean strong residuals for both vehicles. We hope this will have a further positive impact on the Nissan fleet brand,' he said.

As of the end of September Nissan 4x4 fleet sales accounted for 3,128 units, representing a 10% share of total fleet sales.

25/10/04

Nissan Displays Multimedia Car At 2004 Its World Congress

Tokyo - Nissan is displaying a new prototype vehicle at this year's 11th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems that incorporates a multimedia platform capable of showing up to 4 moving images on an onboard screen at once. The prototype is designed to explore future developments in vehicle safety equipment, convenience features and in-vehicle entertainment.

The car is fitted with one monitor in the front and another in the rear seat area. Depending on the chosen mode, the front seat monitor can display up to four images at one time from seven different cameras mounted at the front, side and rear of the vehicle, giving the driver all-round visibility including blind spots. Simultaneously, the rear seat monitor can show DVD images.

The multimedia capabilities are made possible by the adoption of a high-speed 1394 optical fiber network communications system which allows a data transmission rate of 400 Mbps (mega-bites per second). Whereas conventional analogue cables are only capable of transmitting one image, the optical network communications system allows the transmission of multiple images.

The application of optical fiber also means that the weight of the cables can be reduced to about one-half the weight of a conventional wiring harness.

The 2004 ITS World Congress, which takes place in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, will open to the public from October 19 to October 24.

25/10/04

Nissan Reaccredited With Environmental Standard

Nissan's Sunderland plant has been reaccredited with the ISO 14001 certification, the international standard for environmental management.

To maintain certification (which Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd has held continuously since 1998) plant engineers set improvement objectives to control emissions to the air and water, manage waste, use energy efficiently and continually improve its environmental performance.

As part of this continuous improvement, and in addition to the plant's ISO 14001 commitment, NMUK is now seeking planning permission to build a wind farm at the plant. This would cut carbon dioxide emissions at power plants by more than 10,000 tonnes per year.

If the application is successful, up to seven wind turbines will be installed on low-lying ground in the centre of the Nissan site, to minimise any visual impact they might have. This would be the first wind farm in the North East to be enclosed entirely within an industrial area and the first within the Nissan group.

In addition to cutting CO2 emissions, the facility would also significantly reduce other atmospheric pollutants at power plants. And importantly, in light of steeply rising energy prices, the farm would also provide an annual cost saving to NMUK, helping it to remain commercially competitive.

Senior Engineer at NMUK, Graham Bagley, said: "We're delighted to be reaccredited with ISO 14001. It proves that the measures we are putting into place, to ensure we are operating in an environmentally responsible way, are working.

Continuous improvement plays a large part in achieving the ISO standard and the wind farm is central to our aim of cutting power plant emissions and generating energy in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner."

If planning permission is granted, the farm will be completed by next autumn. Once fully operational, the turbines would provide the plant with enough electricity to power the equivalent of 2,600 UK homes.

NMUK became the first of Nissan's overseas plants to achieve ISO 14001, just two years after the standard was introduced in 1996.

Since then, other environmental initiatives introduced by NMUK include:
Using almost 100% returnable packaging
Creating and maintaining a feeding ground for wildfowl
Removing paint residues by using hot sand
Recycling waste water, solvent and sand (used in the castings process)

25/10/04

Nissan's Sport Holdall Is Loaded With Kit

The Olympic Games may now be in the dim and distant past but you can still get your dose of sport courtesy of Nissan. Following on from the success of the limited edition Navara Rally Raid, Nissan will launch another special Double Cab at the end of October, called the Navara Sport. But even more special is the price: £14,950 on the road, a hefty £1340 less than the standard Double Cab.

Designed to get your heart rate racing faster than 30 minutes on the treadmill the Sport is loaded with desirable kit to make you look good whether en route to the gym or the gymkhana. Nissan's versatile holdall is stuffed with equipment including
CD autochanger, rear privacy glass, front fog lamps and a rear step bumper. And it's available in Kuro Black or Blade Silver that is sure to look as sleek as the latest designer trainers. Despite the addition of all these extras the Sport actually costs less than the standard Navara on which it is based.

Like all Navaras the Sport is powered by a 2.5 litre, 4 cylinder diesel engine, with 133hp and torque of 304Nm. And we can't forget the 3000kg towing capacity. Unlike some competitors anti-lock brakes come as standard on this special edition so with this and driver and passenger airbags you can practise Sport without worrying about injury. One will also find improved on-road ride and handling thanks to the addition of wider tyres and firmer suspension settings to which all Navaras have recently been treated.

If you think money might be a hurdle Nissan can offer you a helping hand with an offer of 0% finance over 2 years with 30% deposit or alternatively 3.9% over 3 years with 30% deposit. But don't linger on the starting blocks for too long, there are only 400 to be had.

21/10/04

Nissan Connects Driver, Car And Moile Phone…Wirelessly

A new telematics service being offered to customers in Japan is about to change the relationship between the driver, the car, and the mobile phone. Nissan has joined forces with NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan's largest cell phone provider, to offer 'i-mode' information services delivered to drivers' mobile phones using Nissan's CARWINGS telematics system. Thanks to a new system developed by the two companies, information can now also be transferred wirelessly between navigation system and cell phone using Bluetooth® technology.

Nissan's existing CARWINGS system offers a combination of services including navigation, real-time traffic information, 24-hour live operator, hands-free phone, and provides useful information on the location of hotels, restaurants, garages and car parks.

Customers of new Nissan models, beginning with the Tiida compact hatchback and later the Fuga sports saloon, will be able to access a new service called 'Okkuto-Keitai'. This allows customers to receive 'i-mode' information services from NTT DoCoMo delivered directly to their cell phones, based on location or destination information from the car navigation system. Initially, the service will provide digital mobile maps from ZENRIN Data Com and details on over 40,000 restaurants from Gourmet Navigator Inc. In the future, Nissan and NTT DoCoMo plan to offer an increased number of i-mode content services.

Customers can request the new i-mode services by simply pressing the appropriate buttons on the CARWINGS console or by calling the 24-hour CARWINGS operator. In less than a minute, an e-mail with a URL link to the requested i-mode information is transferred directly to the driver's mobile phone.

Using a Bluetooth-compatible navigation system and cellular phone, the two companies have developed an 'alternate mode switchover' system to automatically switch from voice to data communications and vice versa. In other words, the driver can engage in hands-free phone conversations, as well as using all other CARWINGS services wirelessly, without having to press a single button on the cell phone.
Could this ever come to Europe? Well maybe…

19/10/04

Buckley Bags Roadster

BBC TV presenter Ginny Buckley was first in the queue to order a new Nissan 350Z Roadster when Nissan opened the order books for the car last Friday. The Holiday anchorwoman has ordered a Roadster with the GT Pack in Sunset with the optional Alezan leather, black roof and ventilated net seats.

Ginny, who recently resigned from her job as a motoring journalist to take over as the BBC's latest holiday girl said: "I've long been a massive fan of the 350Z, I made it my 2003 Car of the Year when I was motoring editor at The News of the World. It's one of the few cars on the market that's packed with performance, turns plenty of heads and comes at the right price. But of course what girl can resist the lure of a spot of topless motoring on a sunny day and I can't wait to get behind the wheel of the Roadster."
Ginny will take delivery of her new car in spring 2005. But until then, she will be content cruising in her 350Z coupe.

30/09/04

Select An Award Winning Used X-Trail

Nissan has launched a new way for customers to search for their used vehicle through a web-based system called 'SELECT'. Easily found within the current approved used vehicle locator on www.nissan.co.uk, 'SELECT' is different because it searches for vehicles directly from Nissan's own fleet. That means the finest selection of nearly new Nissans on offer in the UK including many examples of the X-TRAIL, What MPV and 4x4? 's 'Used Car of the Year'. And even the odd 350Z.

SELECT taps into Nissan's own company pool of vehicles which are all highly spec-ed, have travelled less than 10,000 miles and are all less than 12 months old. Being ex-management cars, they've also all been carefully looked after (yes, really).

Searching and purchasing could not be easier. Once the customer has logged on and located a vehicle through the dedicated site, they are asked to phone a specialist operator who will arrange delivery of the car to the customer's nearest Nissan approved used centre. The customer can then meet the dealer to discuss any part exchange.

Should the car not suit the new owner's requirements and as long as it is within 30 days from the date of purchase, he or she can choose to exchange the vehicle for something closer to their needs - all part of the 30 day exchange policy. But that's not all, you also get the following benefits:

Minimum of 2 years/50,000 miles of the original new vehicle warranty
History check and mileage check ensuring product quality
Multi-point check by Nissan qualified staff
12 months' RAC cover
MOT insurance for when the vehicle reaches 3 years old
Free fitted carpet mats

With all the above you can be sure that any of the vehicles on the website will be in tiptop condition. But if you need any further recommendation of how good a used Nissan is, ask Bob Murray, editor of What MPV and 4x4? who has just voted the
X-TRAIL his used car of the year 2004 . He describes the X-TRAIL as 'neither too big nor too small, it scores for its neat looks and roomy and practical cabin. Add in great prices and bulletproof reliability, and it was a straightforward decision to make the

X-TRAIL our 2004 'Used Car of the Year'.'

So, if you want an award winning used X-TRAIL or any of the other award winning range, the first place to look is on the SELECT website and drive away with complete peace of mind knowing that you have the support of both dealer and manufacturer.

29/09/04

New Patrol, Same Beat

Many 4x4s are getting softer but not the Nissan Patrol. For the latest version that goes on sale at the end of October, Nissan has stayed true to the principles that created the first Patrol over 50 years ago. There's a new look outside and in, plus greater power and torque. But the Patrol is still as tough and unstoppable as ever. And at prices starting from £24,500, no other new car offers as much metal for the money.

The Patrol has never been one for pottering up pavements - it's as common in Chelsea as affordable housing. No, the Patrol is built for storming across sand dunes and marching up mountains. And the new Patrol certainly has the looks to match its abilities. Even a camel would move over when faced with the Patrol's imposing nose with its extra helping of chrome and raised bonnet centre influenced by Nissan's enormous Titan pick-up. There's a more streamlined look for the front bumper which in SVE form now houses deeply recessed foglights. Yet the bumper design maintains the acute approach angle needed for serious off-road driving.

Under the re-profiled wheelarches sit new 17" alloy wheels fitted to the range topping SVE. This version also gets a lockable hard spare wheel cover while all Patrols now have larger rear lights for better visibility and integrated side sills for more graceful access. Important given the Patrol's 215mm of ground clearance.

Whatever dramas the Patrol is having to contend with, Nissan has tried to make life inside calmer than ever. The new dashboard, for example, will be a surprise to current Patrol drivers. It's curvy and modern looking with switchgear derived from the X-TRAIL and 350Z. Throughout the interior there are new materials, too. But before you think the Patrol's gone a bit soft, let's move onto the engine.

It's still the lusty ZD diesel engine but now with 160PS instead of 158. Sure that's no great leap but the headline should be reserved for the torque figure that rises 26Nm to a stomping 380Nm. And most of this is available between 1500 and 2500rpm. Rather handy if you're making use of the Patrol's 3.5 tonne towing capability. Yet its combined cycle fuel economy remains at 26.2mpg. The Patrol also sticks with a separate chassis for the ultimate in off-road ability. So although it may be more comfy for passengers, it'll still climb a 39 degree gradient and wade through 700mm of water.

The Patrol also retains high and low ratio four-wheel drive and its unique disconnectable rear stabiliser bar to give even more axle articulation in really rough terrain. This no nonsense hardware is just one reason why the Patrol won the production class of this year's Dakar Rally. Another is durability.

If an uncomplaining four-wheel drive workhorse is what you want then the Patrol S is almost your only answer. Black bumpers and wheel-arch extensions prove that this car won't mind tussling with the undergrowth. And inside, the cloth upholstery has been designed to take many years of battering. The S comes in one bodystyle: a five door, with seating for five. New for this year is a sliding rear seat giving you the option of changing the balance between luggage capacity and rear legroom. And when you're talking 5145mm of Patrol, the balance won't be a compromise.

The driver won't exactly be roughing it either with standard air conditioning, electric windows all round and a CD player. The S also has anti-lock brakes, twin airbags, an alarm and most usefully electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors all in its £24,500 list price. Compare that to an equivalently specified Defender 110 County. Well, not equivalently because some of the Patrol's kit isn't even offered on the Land Rover. At any price.

If you prefer your workhorse colour-coded and leather upholstered, a Patrol can still oblige. The SVE adds both along with 17" alloy wheels, side airbags, outside temperature gauge and compass, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, electronic climate control, electric glass sunroof, rear side privacy glass, front fog lamps and headlight washers. Also included is a DVD satellite navigation system with Nissan's unique Birdview™ system that covers 13 European countries. Not even a Range Rover can boast that. For £29,900, a Patrol SVE is possibly the ultimate vehicle for anyone who spends as much time off as on road. At this price it only really has one rival: the £31,400 Patrol SVE automatic. And be assured, the Patrol is no cross-over.

28/09/04

Murano And 350Z Roadster Prices

On 15 October, Nissan dealers will open the order books for the Murano and the 350Z Roadster. Just one version of the Murano will be on sale priced at £29,800. The vehicle is so well equipped that options are virtually limited to the choice of colour. And like its coupe twin, there will be two versions of the 350Z Roadster available - the standard model priced at £26,000 and the 'GT Pack' at £28,500.

Murano customers will get first crack of the whip because the order books open at 9.00am and later the same day at, you guessed it, 3.50pm, dealers will open the order books for the 350Z Roadster. Deliveries start from March 2005 but numbers are limited, so anyone who wants one will have to be quick.

Murano
Powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 engine as the 350Z Murano drivers will enjoy effortless performance, complemented by Nissan's revolutionary XTronic Continuously Variable Transmission.

The use of a six-speed CVT in the Murano will be a unique feature in its segment. Indeed, it is an industry-leading innovation, building on Nissan's reputation as a pioneer in this area. CVT technology is traditionally found in vehicles with low power and torque outputs, so by combining it with a high power, high torque engine in the Murano, Nissan has demonstrated its renowned technological prowess in this area.

The CVT ensures that the engine is always at the optimum torque level, resulting in linear and smooth acceleration with good pick up at low speed. Drive to the wheels is fed through the latest version of the ALL MODE 4x4 system, as used on the X-TRAIL. It includes ESP+ for added stability, which is linked to an active brake limited slip differential. This is ideal for driving in conditions of variable traction, such as snow, where the transmission sends the power to the wheels with the most grip.

In addition to the unique CVT gearbox, "Birdview" satellite navigation, leather upholstery, air-conditioning and a seven-speaker Bose audio system will all be standard equipment on the Murano.

350Z Roadster
The main feature of the 350Z Roadster is its automatic roof which takes less than 20 seconds to raise or lower. It's very simple to operate. With the ignition on, the car in neutral and your foot on the brake, you simply release a latch on the roof and hold down the button on the dash. When lowered, the roof folds away under a lightweight tonneau cover in front of the boot lid. It's the same simple operation to raise the roof. Closing the latch operates a triple locking system which secures the roof to the windscreen header rail in three places.

Standard equipment on the 350Z Roadster is identical to its coupe twin but with an additional option unique to the new model: Alezan leather and ventilated net seats available on the 'GT Pack'.

When the order books open on 15 October, customers will have to go into their local Nissan dealership where the features of each car can be more comprehensively explained. When the order is placed, a deposit of £2000 is handed over and a number in the waiting list is allocated by head office. The customer will be sent a confirmation of his or her order and will also receive regular updates from Nissan about the progress of their car.

Don't forget, when Nissan opened its order books for the 350Z coupe last year, all 450 cars were sold out in 58 minutes. So, don't be surprised if you see a row of tents appearing outside Nissan dealerships across the country in early October.

23/09/04

Nissan To Build Fifth Model At UK Plant

Nissan has announced plans to build a fifth model at its award winning plant in Sunderland in the UK. Unveiled at the Paris motor show today, the show car called Tone hints at the future model which goes on sale in early 2006.

A roomy five seater, Tone is aimed at parents who need a practical car in which to carry the family but who are not prepared to trade space for driving pleasure. Tone has been designed to combine the two, providing clever use of interior space with a fun to drive attitude.

As a vehicle which will have a busy life, reflecting the life of its drivers, it features the Intelligent Key which can be found on the Micra - the only car in its class to have it. Intelligent Key enables the doors to be locked or unlocked without trying to find the key. Using proximity sensors, it will unlock the doors at the touch of a button on the door handle, saving the driver the inconvenience of searching for the key when their hands are full.

And the ignition works in a similar way. If the key is detected, the car will start without having to put the key in the ignition lock.

Tone takes styling influences from the avant-garde Micra and mixes them with design cues from other Nissan concept and show cars. The result is as individual as the Micra yet Tone is demonstrably a member of the Nissan family.

The arched roof line, at its highest point above the B-pillar, has become a feature of Nissan road cars since the Fusion concept car became Primera. The pronounced waistline is fashionably high while the front and rear bumpers are fully integrated into the design.

Other influences, however, come from the more recent Qashqai urban crossover concept that drew the crowds at the 2004 Geneva Show. Like Qashqai, Tone has highly distinctive boomerang LED rear lights that frame the tailgate and roof, while Tone's prominent triangular rear side windows are scaled up versions of those found on Qashqai.

At the front, the grille adopts an aggressive double-deck four-slot design similar to the grille on Murano, while the dominant headlights house powerful projector beams. With very short overhangs front and rear, the profile is dominated by bold 17 inch alloy wheels.

At just a little more than 4m in length, but sitting on a wheelbase of 2600mm - just 25mm shorter than the much larger X-TRAIL - Tone's overall dimensions allow it to cross boundaries.

By keeping Tone's overall height to 1542mm, the design team has ensured the proportions help to keep the centre of gravity low, without compromising the car's practicality. And a low centre of gravity is key to the Tone's 'fun to drive' philosophy.

According to project chief designer Taiji Toyota, Tone is: "…tall, but not so tall. We wanted a roomy interior and the benefits of a high driving position but we did not want to make the car look top heavy. With the long wheelbase and body we feel we have achieved a shape that will appeal on both a practical and emotional level."

Tone has been given a deliberately 'masculine' feel with extensive use of brushed aluminium for interior fittings and a sophisticated dark grey exterior body colour. Inside, a hint of purple shows through the perforated 'metallic' black and silver leather upholstery while light grey headlining contrasts with the predominantly black trim.

Dramatically shaped sports seats are designed to keep the driver and front seat passenger firmly in place during cornering, enhancing the sporting concept and fun to drive philosophy which is at the heart of Tone.

Twin glass strips run the length of the roof - another feature seen on many recent Nissan show cars - and bathe the interior with natural light.

Accentuating its 'driver appeal', Tone has a dramatic and futuristic dashboard. Two deep set dials can be found behind the sporting three spoke steering wheel, but the centre of the dashboard is dominated by a brushed aluminium display panel housing a satellite navigation screen and controls for the climate control system.

Although designed as a car for the enthusiast, Tone's designers have not forgotten the practical needs of a parent. The glove box features a neat slot that doubles as a tissue dispenser - ideal for keeping sticky fingers off the upholstery - while the brushed aluminium centre console-cum-armrest houses a deep storage area beneath its lid.

The backrest folds in an uncomplicated fashion to create a roomy and flat load area. Extra storage space can be found beneath the boot floor, which lifts to reveal a deep well, with a storage capacity of 90 litres, where valuables can be stowed out of sight.
Taiji Toyota, whose previous designs include X-TRAIL, Murano and the Chappo concept which led directly to the innovative Nissan Cube, says: "Tone is a dynamic, sophisticated car with strong emotional appeal that also answers a parent's practical needs."

23/09/04

Nissan Announces Fifth Model For Sunderland Plant

Nissan announced today (Thursday 23rd September) that a fifth model will be built at its car plant in Sunderland.

Speaking at the Paris Motor Show, Nissan Executive Vice President Patrick Pelata told journalists that an as yet unnamed car, based on the 'Tone' concept he was unveiling, would be produced on Wearside from January 2006.

He said: "The Tone represents our thinking in the area of the mini MPV market. The niche market where Tone would compete is forecast to grow by a factor of four from 2002 to 2007.

"I am happy to announce that we will introduce a car based on this design at the beginning of 2006. In addition, I am pleased to announce that it will be built at our plant in Sunderland, Europe's most productive car factory."

Around 1,000 employees will work on the new compact 5-door hatchback, including up to 200 additional posts - although this figure could change depending on market conditions closer to 2006.

The market will also dictate the new model's production volume, but Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd expects to be building around 100,000 units a year alongside the Micra, Almera, Primera and Micra C+C - due for production launch next September.

A total of £125 M has been invested in the project, with £24 M of that going towards preparation at the plant, and its suppliers, for the start of production.

NMUK Managing Director, Colin Dodge, commented: "I'm delighted that we'll be producing the new car here in Sunderland. We've been working very hard to increase our overall competitiveness for some time now, and it's very satisfying to see our efforts being rewarded."

Nissan's operations in Sunderland began in 1984, with the first vehicle, the Nissan Bluebird, coming off the production line in 1986. Since then, the car plant has grown to become the UK's largest, and has produced over three-and-a-quarter million vehicles to date.

16/09/04

Nissan Gives Owners Paws Fur Thought

Nissan is faster than a hungry greyhound after a rabbit when it comes to design advancements. And the latest clever product to come out of Nissan in Japan has been designed to mate car and dog, yes that's car and dog in safety, comfort and the natural fragrance of fresh flowers. But with the minimum of stray hairs.

Becoming increasingly like us Brits in their love of furry companions, the Japanese now own over 11 million dogs. That's a lot of hair to contend with. But Nissan's new range of in-car pet carriers prevents the seats being reupholstered in labrador. And your interior smelling like one. It also stops pets from becoming a canine cannonball in the event of an accident. Or from ripping out your car's furnishings at the sight of a passing cat.

The pet carrier comes in two sizes and is attached to the rear seat with a seat belt. It's open topped allowing for free flowing conversation between you and your pet. Plus, importantly for health conscious Japan, it has an anti-bacterial, deodorant cover.
Nissan's carrier folds up for storage in the boot or it can double up as a pooch basket for the home. Prices start at 12,600 yen for the small version and go up to 15,750 for the large. That's around £63 and £80 respectively … if you could buy them in the UK, that is. Currently you can't. But if the company gets enough barks of encouragement, you might.

14/09/04

Nissan's Best Buys

For the second consecutive year, the Nissan Almera Tino and Primera have been voted as Best Buys in their class according to the 2004/2005 Which? Car report from the Consumers Association, published this month.

Which? says: "To be awarded the prestigious Best Buy accolade, a car needs to impress us across the board - it needs to be safe, secure, reliable and a hit with its owners. Our Best Buys are the finest new cars currently in showrooms."

The Primera shares its "best buy" tag with the Volvo S60, Lexus IS200/IS300 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but Which? is quick to point out that "with so many large cars being pitched towards the premium end of the class, the Primera is the only Best Buy that you can drive away for less than £15,000".

The Almera Tino was named the sole "best buy" in the mini MPV class and Which? describes it as having "flexible interior space for passengers and luggage, comfortable to drive and cheap to run - owners are pleasantly surprised by servicing, parts and insurance costs".

Which? also lists cars that are "worth considering". These cars "have one or two drawbacks or we don't have enough information to make them Best Buys, but they are certainly worth a place on your test drive short list". Nissan has three cars on the worth considering list - the Micra, Almera and X-TRAIL.

The Nissan X-TRAIL was recently voted "best 4x4 recreational vehicle" for the third consecutive year and the Micra was voted Best Compact diesel for the 1.5dCi version by top selling weekly motoring magazine Auto Express.

31/08/04

Nissan Tops Training League

Nissan's Sunderland plant has been named the top trainer in the UK automotive industry in a national independent survey.

Every two years, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies (Semta) carries out a nationwide survey of more than 850 engineering and manufacturing companies.

A league table is produced ranking each company according to its commitment to training and staff development. Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (NMUK) was placed in the top 10 of all companies surveyed and in first position within the automotive sector.

NMUK pumps nearly 4% of its annual payroll into training, compared with the national average of just 1%. This works out at around £6.5 million pounds, or £1,400 per employee.

Also, the plant's employees receive an average of eight days off-the-job training a year compared to the national figure of just over two days.

NMUK Training Manager, Steve Pallas, said: "The success we have as a car plant is inseparably linked to our policy on training. The amount of resources we invest in staff development is a measure of the importance we believe it plays in how our company performs."

Head of Research and Standards at Semta, Bill Twigg, added: "Nissan's success is a benchmark for others to follow. It shows what can be achieved when you invest time and money in your workforce."

27/08/04

Nissan Fellows Get Friends Free Fuel

Nissan customers are to be given the opportunity to sell the Primera to their friends. If they are successful they will be paid with £250 worth of fuel vouchers. And their friends will also receive the same.

The company is sending out a salespersons pack with qualifying postcards to 3500 current Primera owners. If the recipient is successful in selling the virtues of the Primera and his or her friend buys one, the postcard should be completed and returned to Nissan. A couple of weeks later, fuel vouchers will land on the current AND the new customer's doormats.

Selling the virtues of the latest version Primera, which went on sale in July, isn't hard. Here are just some of the items on the SVE version's 'long as your arm' equipment list which the current Primera driver ought to mention in the sales pitch to their mates:
Colour rear view camera

DVD satellite navigation with RDS TMC traffic avoidance
Xenon gas discharge headlamps
Leather upholstery
Electronically adjustable and heated front seats
Climate control air-conditioning
Electric glass tilt/slide sunroof
Also, if the above is not enough, the S grade currently comes with 'extras'. Nissan has thrown in a colour rear view camera and 16" alloy wheels for free and on top of that, knocked £605 off the standard on the road price. This means you can now get a Primera from £13,995.

What's more, Nissan is currently running a 0% finance package over three years, plus three years' free servicing AND three years' RAC roadside assistance cover on the SVE and T-SPEC grades. You don't even need to be a friend of a Primera owner to take up these packages.

However, as with all great offers, they can only continue for a certain period of time. But the end of September still gives you plenty of time to polish up your best sales patter.

Here is a bit of help for the untrained:
'It's as cheap as chips' - Primera starting price for September only is £13,995.
'She's a beautiful runner' - With a choice of two petrol engines (1.8 and 2.0 litre) and one diesel engine (2.2 litre dCi) there is one to suit most tastes and desires.
'It will never let you down' - Voted as 'Best Buy' for the large car sector in a recent reliability survey, plus the back up of a 3 year or 60,000 mile manufacturer's warranty,

3 years' paint and 12 year anti corrosion warranty.
'One careful owner' - YOU.

26/08/04

Nissan Improves Your Bedslide Manner

A sliding bed, a swinging hammock, two bikes and a big chest might conjure up images of a Carry-On film. But in fact they're all new accessories for the Nissan Pickup.

If you're having trouble getting to those hard-to-reach spots in your Pickup's load bay then let Nissan improve your bedslide manner. As its name suggests, the bedslide covers the load area and glides backwards and forwards. It's easier to shift and place your cargo. Plus it helps prevent back-ache.

The large tool box will fit neatly into the Pickup's load area. With a 7.9 cubic feet capacity it offers a full-length lid for easy loading and unloading of equipment. And a reinforced steel construction ensures it's strong as well as tough looking.

In a large load space, small items can easily rattle around. To now store smaller items securely and safely, Nissan has introduced a new hammock net. Unfortunately it can't double as a hammock which you can sleep in under the stars but nonetheless it is very practical holding anything from wellies to wetsuits.

And if cycling is your thing, Nissan has added a new bicycle carrier to the accessory range. It offers a two bike capacity carrier for fitment to the front forks. Its self support system comes with heavy duty foam pads to protect the Pickup bed and it can be used in conjunction with a bedliner.

These new goodies, designed to be quick to fit, are an addition to an already impressive Nissan accessory line up.

23/08/04

Nissan Tops Its European Z In No Brainer

Nissan GB has at last got the go ahead to sell the 350Z Roadster in a move that will surprise nobody. Well, to use the phrase of Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's president and CEO, sending us the drop dead gorgeous drop top was a 'no brainer'. But don't start a queue just yet, folks. It'll be a month or two before you can order one.

First comes the big European unveil which is being saved for the Paris Motor Show on 23 September. We already know the 350Z Roadster is a looker. It'll drive good, too, because Nissan's engineering team in Cranfield have been working to tailor the car (which has been on sale in the USA for a year now) to European tastes. Just how good it drives we'll find out when deliveries start early next year.

The order book will open a lot sooner, though. Exactly when and how much the car will cost Nissan isn't saying yet. For that, you'll have to wait till the Paris Show. A more important figure for many is the number of Roadsters we can expect in the UK. There's still a five month waiting list for the Coupe, remember. Again, you'll have to wait till the end of September to find out.

What can be revealed now is that the twin exhausts have been specially tuned all the better to enjoy the 3.5-litre 280PS V6 motor. And that this 350Z transforms from top up to top down in 20 seconds. And that special attention was paid to aerodynamics to ensure a buffet free interior. And that the chassis has been strengthened to maximise driving pleasure. And… okay, that's enough. Go and get your tent ready. You'll be wanting it later to ensure first place in the order queue.

23/08/04

New 4x4S Headline Nissan's Display At 2004 Paris Motor Show

- New seven seater Pathfinder SUV unveiled for Europe
- First showing of European-spec Murano cross-over powered by the 350Z's V6 engine
- Dramatically revised Patrol 4x4
- Latest X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle gets first European showing
- Special version of the Navara in association with Hobie Cat, the leading manufacturer of catamaran sailing boats

At the 2004 Paris Motor Show, Nissan will be displaying many new and recently revised 4x4s which will underline the company's aggressive ambitions in Europe, as well as its desire to change consumers' perception of Nissan.

Incidentally, the Nissan press conference will take place at 1315 on 23 September. Nissan's stand will be located in Hall One where, in addition to the following vehicles, visitors can also get their first look at the European specification 350Z Roadster.

Pathfinder
Due to go on sale in March 2005, the Pathfinder sports utility vehicle is a new addition to Nissan's growing four-wheel drive line up inspired by the Dunehawk concept car which was displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003.

The interior provides three rows of seats, with the second and third rows folding flat to create a huge load area. Thanks to the versatility of the interior, a total of 64 different seating configurations is possible. Even with the third row of seats in place, there is class-leading luggage space. For added convenience, the rear glass hatch opens for easy access to the rear luggage area in tight spaces.

Power comes from Nissan's new highly efficient 2.5-litre 'YD' series four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It features second-generation common rail technology for lower emissions and a new balancer system for greater refinement. It gives category-leading power and torque outputs which out-perform those of larger engines, while also providing outstanding economy figures.

Although a 4x4, the Pathfinder is equipped with independent double-wishbone suspension all-round which gives a car-like on-road dynamic performance. However, its advanced electronically controlled ALL MODE 4x4 transmission - an enhanced version of that which is fitted to the X-TRAIL - endows it with a high level of capability off-road.

The ALL-MODE transmission allows drivers to choose effortlessly between four different settings with the twist of a selector switch, giving the control of a serious 4x4, but without the need to operate a separate gear lever.

Equipment and technology levels are high. Nissan will offer a rear-view parking camera - as pioneered on Primera - and the Intelligent Key system which allows the doors to be unlocked and the engine started without having to insert the key into a lock.

Additionally xenon headlamps, a premium audio system, satellite navigation with Traffic Message Channel (TMC) and voice recognition, leather upholstery, dual zone climate control in the front and air conditioning in the rear are all available.

Murano
The European version of the Murano will be on display in Paris - its European debut. An eye-catching cross-over with the elevation of a 4x4, but the lines of a sports car, the Murano will provide comfort and performance for the discerning car-buyer.

Powered by an adapted version of the award-winning 3.5-litre VQ V6 engine found in the 350Z Coupe and Roadster, the Murano has proved to be a huge hit in North America where it has been on sale for more than a year.

More than 1,600 changes have been made to the US specification Murano to ensure it is ideally suited to the demanding European market.

Coupled to the engine is a unique offering in the Murano's segment of the market - a Continuously Variable Transmission which features a six speed manual mode. Power is transmitted to the road via Nissan's electronically controlled ALL MODE switchable 4x4 system.

There will be just one version of Murano on sale in Europe and the level of standard equipment is very high. All Muranos will feature satellite navigation with Traffic Message Channel (TMC) providing real-time traffic updates, a colour rear-view parking camera, a high-end Bose sound system, bi-xenon headlamps and leather interior.

The Murano will go on sale early in 2005 across Europe, while prices and specifications will be announced at the Paris Motor Show, when the order book will open.

Patrol
The iconic Patrol has just benefited from a wide range of improvements. With an extensive list of exterior modifications, as well as an upgraded interior, the Patrol continues to set the standard in the authentic 4x4 segment.

There's a bold new 'face', a new-look rear end and a new integrated side step, while revisions to the lusty 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine give more power and more torque. Additionally, the 'GR' moniker will be dropped from the name.

But perhaps the biggest changes can be found inside the vehicle. Although the Nissan Patrol remains a tough off-road vehicle at heart, Nissan believes there is no reason why users should not enjoy a little extra luxury while they work. As a result, the new Patrol has an all-new interior featuring better quality materials, greater comfort and more equipment.

X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle
Nissan is showing its 2003 Fuel Cell Vehicle which has significantly improved speed and range compared with the 2002 FCV which was shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003.

Such is the progress that has been made with fuel cell technology, leasing of the 2003 FCV began in Japan earlier this year.

Pickup
Nissan has entered into a partnership with Hobie Cat, the leading manufacturer of catamaran sailing boats and in recognition a new Special Version of the Pickup model has been developed.

Reflecting the busy and active leisure-orientated lifestyles of sailors everywhere, the Pickup Hobie Cat has some special features which will enable it to support its owners in all of their activities, no matter how challenging.

The newly revised Primera, as well as the X-TRAIL will also be on display in Paris.

20/08/04

Nissan Celebrates 50 Years Of Design

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of design and is showcasing in Tokyo the historical achievements of its design department over the past 50 years, as well as its future design vision.

Nissan has established itself as the creator of a bold, extensive model range reaching the four cornerstones of the world's customers with its range of passenger cars, commercial vehicles, sports cars plus a full line of 4x4s.

From the Datsun roadsters, compact pickups and the 510, to the Z, Patrol and the powerful Skyline GT-R, for over five decades Nissan has made a lasting contribution to the advancement of automotive design. During this time, Nissan has propelled its image to new heights by bringing innovation to reality with a number of vehicles, making Nissan one of the world's top automakers.

Design heritage
Nissan's design department was established in February 1954 from Nissan's car modelling division and began designing passenger cars such as the Bluebird 310 and Fairlady 1500.

After expanding its premises to every continent, the Fairlady 2000 in 1967 marked the birth of Nissan's sporty image, leading to the creation of the Fairlady Z two years later which went on to be the best-selling sports car in the world.

1970s - the 240Z earned popularity as a legend of international safari rallies and was followed by the Cherry and Sunny.

The year 1979 saw the first design studio to open outside of Japan in San Diego, California, producing concept vehicles and the 1986 Terrano.

1990s - the launch of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Primera then Micra continued to consolidate Nissan's presence in Europe.

Nissan opened its first European design centre in Munich in 1992.

The new Millennium
Following the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 1999, new CEO Carlos Ghosn recognised the importance of design as the "face" of the Nissan brand and consequently head-hunted Shiro Nakamura for the position of Head of Design. Nakamura had previously held various senior positions within Isuzu Motors Ltd and he was tasked with the challenge of reviewing the complete Nissan model range to revive the brand's image but with a tight brief to retain its Japanese influence.

To the credit of Nakamura and his 700-strong team, between 2000 and 2003, 23 new production models and 19 concept cars were launched around the world. Nissan went on to announce that it had achieved its targets one year ahead of the three year Nissan Revival Plan and had reaffirmed its position in the global market.

European design focus
All Nissan designers explore a common philosophy to be clear, creative, consistent, yet use their experience of regional cultures and their market's unique preferences. Of its six worldwide design locations, the establishment of the latest studio in Paddington, London in January 2003 demonstrated Nissan's commitment to design for the European market. With over 50 designers and modellers, the state-of-the-art facility at Nissan Design Europe has recently introduced the latest in presentation technology through a 'power wall' whereby life-size, three dimensional images are projected on a large screen for analysis and changes can be made to the colour, design and image at the touch of a button.

Nissan's concept cross-over vehicle the Qashqai, was penned in London and was their first fully completed project which went on to win Best Concept Car Award at this year's Birmingham Motor Show.

Designs for the future
Design remains key to Nissan's future growth and it will continue to challenge the conventional in its objective to create bold, distinctive products.

Conran & Partners, a name synonymous with contemporary design and functionality, recently joined with Nissan to create a premium quality feel to the interior of the Cube3, a show car which was exhibited at Tokyo Motor Show 2003.

A variety of Nissan's models, from past, present and future are currently on display at Nissan Headquarter's gallery and the Nissan Ginza Gallery, with a mixture of full-size and scale models of some of Nissan's most popular vehicles.

Key Facts
Nissan has six design centres worldwide
Japan (1954) Nissan Design Center, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa
(1972) Nissan Shatai Co. Ltd, Hiratsuka City
(1987) Creative Box, Shibuya, Tokyo
US (1979) Nissan Design America, San Diego, California
(1989) Nissan Design America f-h
Europe (2003) Nissan Design Europe, London

11/08/04

Customers Russian To Buy Almera

Nissan's Almera has just become the best selling imported car in Russia, selling more than 5600 since the beginning of the year. And it's not doing too badly in the UK either. Retail sales of the Almera have increased by nearly a third while overall sales for the segment have increased by just 3 per cent over the same period in 2003*.

Most of this increase, 85% in fact, is from sales of the Almera SE Extras. First introduced in January 2004, the Extras pack offers 16-inch alloy wheels plus a customer saving of £1405 to the standard SE model. For September, the Extras pack, which is still available on the 1.5-litre model, now adds front fog lamps, worth £185, at no extra cost keeping the price of the SE Extras at just £9995.

Nissan has also enhanced the spec of the top of the range SXE model, which is available with both 1.8-litre petrol and 2.2dCi engines. Both gain an electric sunroof and rear parking sensors, which make parking your Almera more of a miss than a hit affair. Worth £675, the 1.8-litre model gains the additional specification in lieu of ESP (electronic stability programme) whilst the 2.2dCi, which retains ESP, goes up in price by just £200.

02/08/04

The Great Power Wall Of Nissan

To speed up the early part of the car development process, from drawing board to design frieze, a 5.5 metre wide projector screen known as a power wall, has been installed into a specially designed room at Nissan's design centre in Paddington, London.

The power wall enables decision makers to sit together in one room and view full size 3D images of their new designs, even tweaking the odd colour or tone. The advantage? Actions can be confidently taken without the need for expensive clay modelling, saving both time and money. Bruce Fenn, Manager Digital Design Group at NDE, describes this as 'an MTV Generation Based Decision Making Process'.

The room provides a calm but positive environment helping to reduce the so called, but never proven, harmful electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) that would normally be given off in such a technically biased room. Even the drinks cabinet has to be silent. Wooden floors, dark grey steel walls, sound insulation holes, a complex lighting system and cool coloured furniture all contribute to the overall effect.

Obviously to power this complex twin projector computer system there is a full suite of technically advanced equipment. A degree in graphic design software would definitely be useful in getting the full benefit out of it. However, basic adjustments such as next slide, light dimming and image rotation can easily be changed by using a simple hand held device.

For the more demanding of presentations five, yes, five plasma screens can be hung from the side walls. Reduces the need for large sheets of paper and huge lumps of Blu-Tack everywhere.

As part of a global power wall concept, similar communication environments have been created for the Nissan San Diego Studio in California, Atsuki in Japan, and Farmington Hills, Michigan. The objective is to bring designer and decision makers together more often, accelerating projects through better communication.

Of course, it is not all work and no play, plug in PlayStation 2, grab hold of the controllers and hours can be easily lost - imagine playing Gran Turismo with life sized cars; bring it on!!

30/07/04

Nissan Confirms Colin McRae For The 2005 Dakar

Nissan has renewed its contract with Colin McRae, which will see the 1995 World Rally Champion remain with the Nissan Rally Raid Team for the 2005 Dakar Rally.

To celebrate the continued partnership between Colin and Nissan, and to give his many British fans a chance to see him in action, Colin will attend the Rally Super Day at Castle Coombe Circuit in Wiltshire on Saturday 14 August. He will perform demonstration laps in a Dakar-prepared Nissan Pickup and in the 265PS Micra R, which has a top speed in excess of 150mph!

McRae, 35, made his debut on the Dakar with Nissan in January 2004, and impressed the team by scoring two stage wins on his way to a memorable finish on the gruelling trans-Sahara event. This year McRae will be more involved with the development of the Nissan Rally Raid Team Pickup (which is based on the road-going Pickup Single Cab 4x4) and will take part in all the test sessions planned over the coming months. There is also the possibility that McRae will participate in the UAE Desert Challenge in October.

The 2005 Dakar starts from Barcelona on 1 January and crosses Spain, Morocco, Mauritania and Mali before finishing in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on 15 January, with the prize giving the following day.

Nissan is delighted to continue its collaboration with McRae, which started in November 2003, and will confirm the rest of the driver line-up for the 2005 Dakar as soon as possible.

McRae said: "I'm looking forward to returning to Dakar with Nissan because we'll have a new Pickup and I'll be more involved with its test and development. Given the strength of the team and my experience of racing in the desert last year, there is no reason why we can't achieve our objective of finishing on the podium in 2005."

28/07/04

Nissan X-Trail Scores A Hat-Trick

The Nissan X-TRAIL has been voted "best 4x4 recreational vehicle" for the third year running by top selling weekly motoring magazine Auto Express, beating off competition from the BMW X3 and the Toyota RAV4. It was a hat-trick for the Nissan brand too, with the highly acclaimed 350Z triumphing in the Sporting Car category and the Micra collecting the award for Best Compact diesel for the 1.5dCi version.

The awards were held at the Waldorf in London on 29 June, where Simon Thomas, Nissan's sales director, picked up the award for the third time.

David Johns, Editor of Auto Express said: "Nissan has facelifted the X-TRAIL since last year's New Car Honours and guess what? This year's victory is more emphatic than either of the last two. True, the changes have done little more than sharpen the styling a fraction, but the X-TRAIL has lost none of its power to impress. It's a well rounded performer that leaves its class rivals floundering."

Auto Express described the 350Z as "a thrilling driving experience which sets it apart" and to prove the point, the 350Z was the recent winner in the magazine's annual Greatest Drives feature.

But choosing a winner in the Compact Diesel category was a more difficult task for the road testers at the magazine. Describing the Micra 1.5dCi as "the pick of the bunch" combined with "fine dynamics, cheeky styling and build quality" the Micra relegated the Audi A3 2.0 TDI and Citroën C2 1.4 HDI to also rans.

Bill Bosley, Managing Director for Nissan Motor (GB) Limited, said: "We are delighted to collect three honours from Auto Express. The X-TRAIL has been collecting awards since it was launched back in 2002 and the 350Z has picked up several trophies since it went on sale last October.

With several new models being launched over the next 12 months, we look forward to adding more Auto Express New Car Honours trophies to our cabinet."

27/07/04

Nissan Produces Millionth UK Car

The Nissan car plant in Sunderland has recently built its one millionth car for the UK market. The landmark vehicle was a Coral Blue 1.4 litre Micra SE.

The milestone was well timed, as the plant is celebrating its 20th year in the UK in 2004.

In that time, more than 3.6 million cars have rolled off the Wearside production line. And last year the plant achieved a record production volume of 332,000 Micras, Almeras and Primeras.

Nissan now has the largest UK presence of any car manufacturer. In addition to the Sunderland facility, Nissan also has its European design headquarters based in Paddington, its European research and development function in Cranfield, Beds and a national sales and marketing company in Rickmansworth, Herts.

Managing Director of NMUK, Colin Dodge, commented: "Reaching the million mark for the UK market represents a real achievement on behalf of the workforce, and cements Nissan's position as an integral and important part of this country's automotive industry.

"Twenty years ago a lot of people doubted Nissan's ability to successfully locate here, so it's satisfying to have achieved this production milestone, particularly in our anniversary year."

22/07/04

Fatboy Slim Gives Nissan Something X-Tra

The recent advertising campaign for the Nissan X-TRAIL has had the nation grooving to its infectious soundtrack. The single Follow me Follow me by Black Alien & Speed has been so popular that the world famous DJ, Fatboy Slim, has done his own remix version of the track, which was released in the UK, Spain and Germany on 5 July.

The 'Rio funk' classic is already winning radio airtime and is set to sweep Britain.
The track has already been played a number of times on Radio 1, the most widely recognised radio station in the UK, with Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe blasting out the record to their combined audience of 1½ million people. And as if that isn't enough, Dave Pearce has recently made the single his 'Record of the Week'. His show draws in 373,000 people every day, all 'turning it up loud', as the show goes live at 6:00pm, every Monday to Thursday. Other radio stations, such as Capital and XFM have wanted a piece of the action, so have also been giving the track airplay, in addition to MTV Base playing the video nearly 50 times to their 5.6 million viewers.

Adding to the single's success is the man himself, Fatboy Slim, who appeared as a surprise guest DJ at Glastonbury Festival, playing the record to 150,000 muddy music lovers. Equally as high profile, was DJ Jon Carter's performance. He got the party started with Follow me, Follow me at the Lovebox Festival on Clapham Common, getting 100,000 people raving to the penetrative tune. Currently the single has shipped over 3,000 copies to date, so an entry into the top 40 is expected this weekend.

The record is available in store, as well as to order from various websites including HMV, Amazon and the record company's own website (www.mrbongo.com), which has a link directly to the X-TRAIL site.

The X-TRAIL's popularity has been reflected in Nissan being awarded 'Best Recreational 4x4' by Auto Express magazine for the third year running

20/07/04

Primera Numbers

Nissan has agreed that prices for the new, plusher, sharper, smoother and cleverer Primera range will start from £14,600 for the 1.8S. Well, officially they will. But till September, Nissan is offering the S from just £13,995 and that's including a couple of surprising free extras.

The range has grown, too. Things still kick off with the S which as part of the 'Extras' promotion adds 16" alloy wheels and a colour rear view parking camera to existing features like automatic climate control and all-round electric windows. And the S also gets many of the improvements made to the new range including a stiffer bodyshell and sharper steering, plus new 'fine-vision' instruments, steering-wheel and door trims. But for just £650 over the price of the regular £14,600 Primera S (the Extras promotion being a summer special) Nissan has introduced a new SX version. It too has a colour rear view camera but adds 17" alloy wheels, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, auto dim rear view mirror, a 6CD autochanger, premium audio and Mode seat trim. Like the S, three engines are offered including the recently introduced 138PS dCi. And two body-styles. That's hatchback and estate, the saloon no longer being offered in the UK.

Onto the Primera SE which goes up in price by £50. Yes, up. But wait before you start firing off emails of complaint because it gains DVD satellite navigation system with the new Traffic Management Control function that must be worth at least £1200 of anybody else's money. And Nissan has taken the liberty of trading the electric sunroof that used to be standard SE issue for the rather more useful cruise control and colour rear view camera.

The one-from-top SVE is also up in price … this time by £250. But given that Nissan has added leather seats, the front pair being heatable and electrically adjusted, powerful xenon headlights with wash function, a colour rear view camera, cruise control and a 6CD autochanger, the SVE remains something of a bargain. In fact Nissan reckons the extras are worth about £1815. So £250 ain't bad.

All of which may leave you wondering what Nissan could possibly find to add to the range topping T-spec, the company's most comprehensively equipped car ever. It did try to accommodate a kitchenette with integrated hob but the legal department raised objections. Cooking is not conducive to safe driving, apparently. So instead the company settled on a colour rear view camera and tyre pressure monitor, in addition to the intelligent cruise control of the 2.0-litre, metallic paint and electronic stability programme of both engines. The 2.0-litre is now only offered with Nissan's M-CVT automatic transmission for £20,150 - that's £650 less than before. Or for the same price, the 138PS dCi is available. Estate versions of these and indeed every Primera add £1100.

To avoid any confusion, a full price list is attached. And a final reminder, the new Primera was designed, engineered and is being built in the UK. The changes should guarantee it sells here, too.


15/07/04

Let The X-Trail SVE Show You The Way

For a limited period, Nissan is adding satellite navigation, worth £1200, to all X-TRAIL SVEs. And it isn't just any Sat Nav. It is the highly acclaimed Birdviewä Satellite Navigation system. While some use a small screen with just a combination of arrows to guide the driver, Birdviewä gives at-a-glance 3D views of your surroundings on a full colour display, which is the biggest in its class at 7 inches.

The factory fitted Birdviewä system is run by DVD unlike most inferior CD ROM rivals. This means that you don't need to buy expensive discs to find destinations within Europe. You can programme in the quaint hotel in the South of France you have booked for your summer break away while sat outside your house here in Blighty. And you'll get accurate guidance all the way. Being an advanced DVD system it recalculates routes faster than other Sat Nav systems if you need to take a diversion.

The Sat Nav isn't the SVE's only luxury feature. Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, heated and electrically adjustable front seats, a large electric tilt/slide panoramic sunroof, climate control air-conditioning and one-touch electric foldaway door mirrors.

Prices for the X-TRAIL SVE start at £20,995 for the 2.5 16v manual rising to £21,995 for the 2.5 16v auto and the 2.2dCi manual.

And if free satellite navigation isn't quite enough for you, choose to finance your X-TRAIL through Nissan's Preferences scheme and you will get a deposit contribution of £500.

The Nissan Preferences offer doesn't just apply to the X-TRAIL SVE. Both the SE and Sport get the same. And should you opt for the range topping T-SPEC your down payment will be enhanced by £1000 assistance.

The award-winning Nissan X-TRAIL is the fastest growing compact 4x4 on the market with sales up 40% versus the same time last year and this success is set to continue.

14/07/04

Nissan Navara Pick-Up Sparks Life Into Central Networks

Central Networks is taking delivery of 47 Nissan Navara King Cab pickups, specifically developed and adapted to help it restore supplies of electricity to five million customers around the central network region 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Part of E.ON, the second largest energy supplier in the UK, and responsible for keeping the region's electricity supply running smoothly, Central Networks opted for the Navara after it proved to be the only pickup in its class capable of carrying 800kg of equipment and towing 3000kg at the same time.

Nissan beat six other manufacturers to the major contract.

'You can liken our job to that of the AA as our team of restoration craftsmen have to respond to power related supply problems when householder's electricity goes off,' explained James Norris, Central Networks' Restoration Contracts Manager.

'Our team's job is to get power up and running quickly so the vehicle we use has to be reliable as it is on call around the clock and must be flexible to accommodate the equipment needed to fix electricity related problems.'

'The vehicle's 133PS diesel is big enough to cope with towing and should still return around 40mpg. The four-wheel drive system ensures our craftsmen can access the most arduous of locations,' he added.

Central Networks has taken advantage of Nissan's Special Vehicle service that brings together a wide range of specialist vehicle services under one umbrella.

Nissan worked with ATT Papworth and van racking specialist Edstrom to ensure the vehicle was built to Central Networks' exacting standard. ATT built a special lockable top to make the pickup secure, while Edstrom has kitted out each vehicle with a range of racking and shelving. Towbars have been fitted to enable the Navara to also tow generators.

Nissan's one stop service ensures that bespoke vehicles are delivered to the customer kitted out and ready to start work, this includes everything down to the vinyl graphics.
Each vehicle will be run over four years and will cover around 20,000 miles per annum.

14/07/04

Nissan's Extra Extra

Nissan has now extended the Extras offer to the Micra SE model. This means anybody buying a Micra SE with Extras pack will get free 15-inch alloy wheels and an electric sunroof together worth £885. And that's not all. Nissan is also giving customers a saving of £855 off the list price. That's equivalent to £1,740! And the Extras pack is available on all SE Micras including dCi and automatic variants.

The Micra SE is already generously equipped with standard features including air conditioning, driver's, passenger and side airbags, remote central locking with Nissan's Intelligent Key system which means you never need to find your key fob again, sliding rear seat and a trip computer. In fact, the SE offers over £800 of extra value compared with its rivals (Yaris Blue, Fiesta Flame and Peugeot 206 Zest) which don't offer such a comprehensive list of standard specification.*

And if all this extra specification wasn't generous enough, Nissan is offering customers who buy any Micra SE before the end of September, one year's free insurance if bought using Preferences (Nissan's personal contract purchase scheme).**

The Extras packs are still available on Almera and Tino SE models. The Almera Extras pack features 16-inch alloy wheels, plus a customer saving of £1,405, while the Tino Extras pack features 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, leather/alcantara upholstery and a customer saving of £2,005

12/07/04

350Z Eazier To Get Hold Of But No Steal

Demand for Nissan's 350Z is exceeding all expectations with this year's initial allocation of 1400 units selling out in five months. But the good news is that the factory is going to work a little faster and will produce another 800 units for the UK in 2004. And another Z-line just in: the 350Z has won the 'Performance Car' category at the 2004 British Insurance Security Awards. So although getting a Z will be easier, trying to take one is pointless.

Vehicle crime may be at its lowest for the last 20 years but with 2,386,000 offences occurring each year, car owners need to feel confident that their vehicle will still be around the following morning. And the hotter the car, the more of a target it becomes. Nissan has tackled this issue by fitting the latest thief resistant systems to the 350Z.

These are what led the panel of judges from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the AA, Thatcham and the Department of Transport, with support from the Home Office, to give the 350Z top honours in their 'Performance Car' category at the 2004 British Insurance Security awards.

Bill Bosley, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) Limited explains: "Performance cars are the most sought after and targeted vehicles by criminals in the UK and therefore need the best security features available. This award is not
only recognition of the high standard that our engineers achieved in developing the 350Z but also helps customers to easily identify vehicles with class leading security."

On sale from just £24,500 (£27,000 including GT Pack), the 350Z is one of the most competitively priced, 155mph, two seater sports cars available. The observant will notice that this price has increased by £500 but with slow depreciation and low insurance rates, it remains one of the best performance packages money can buy - well, this year anyway!

22/06/04

Goodwood Goes Nismo

Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd has developed a 350Z NISMO concept just for the Goodwood Festival of Speed fitted with racing and styling parts designed by Nissan's mad motorsport arm in Japan. Some of the bits are available now while others could be on sale soon depending on how much of a noise the Z concept makes at the event running this weekend, 25 to 27 June.

Noise is very much part of the Goodwood experience. And the same goes for the 350Z, too. As if the standard 350Z doesn't sound intoxicating enough (for the car nut, that is), the NISMO sports exhaust fitted to the Goodwood concept gives it an even more spine tingling note. 10.7 cm wide, twin oval tailpipes are the only external sign of an exhaust system developed for even sharper engine response during fast driving. The cost is likely to be around £1000. Assuming it gets through our noise and emissions regulations, that is. Rules can be so dull.

The 350Z made its debut at last year's Goodwood Festival and turned more heads than cars costing 10 times as much. More jaws will drop at the 350Z being entered into the 2004 Supercar Run as it's fitted with the most dramatic visual item in NISMO's range, the Aero Kit developed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital producer of 'GRAN TURISMO'. The images created by the game's development team were translated into production reality by NISMO after being aerodynamically tested. So as well as looking the business, the Aero Kit increases the forces on the front and rear of the car - there's more grip at the front and added traction at the rear.

The standard front bumper is replaced by a deeper one with a low lip spoiler which is colour coded to the vehicle. And an additional louvre in the bumper grille gives the 350Z an even wider and meaner look. Side skirts rectify irregular air stream around the tyres at high speeds. Their function is linked to that of the rear under-skirt and along with the front lip spoiler, make the 350Z look literally sucked to the road. But all of this wouldn't be complete without the high mounted rear spoiler or wing that sits on top of the tailgate below the rear window. An exact price for the NISMO Aero Kit hasn't been confirmed but it's going to be around £2500 including VAT and fitting. Initially the kit will only be available on new Zs but later Nissan GB is hoping to establish a retro-fit programme for cars that are already out there.

Available now and fitted to the Goodwood NISMO concept are a set of dramatic, five spoke 19" alloy wheels. Yes, you read that right - 19". The front pair are 19" x 8.5J and the rear are even wider at 19" x 9.5J. The price of a set is around £1765 not including VAT or the tyres. Rather more affordable at £40 plus VAT is the NISMO radiator cap that keeps the cooling system pressure at a higher level. This leads to a higher coolant vaporising point that in turn helps to prevent overheating when the car is being thrashed over a sustained period. No price yet on the NISMO suspension kit fitted to Nissan GB's concept. So for now just admire the menacing, road licking effect.

There have been a few changes to the interior of this car, too. NISMO kick plates, floormats and a titanium gear knob add to the Z's cabin jewellery. Nissan GB has also thrown in a pair of NISMO sports seats which are even more hip hugging than the originals. They're upholstered in Alcantara and have a special type of foam in their cushions designed to absorb vibration and shock transmitted up from the tarmac. Just as well given this car's 19" wheels and even stiffer suspension…

All these parts come from NISMO's S-tune range which is designed for performance improvements during road driving. NISMO is a new name to Nissan UK's accessories range. And it's being applied to the 350Z only. But it's not so new to anyone who plays 'GRAN TURISMO' or drives a Nissan Skyline GT-R. Nissan Motorsports was established in Japan in 1984 to provide manufacturer backed performance parts for Nissan cars. And the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed is the natural event at which to highlight the range in the UK - not least because there will be many fans there who lust after a 350Z.

Prices for the 280PS 350Z start at £24,000. It'll accelerate to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 155 mph. But only two people can climb aboard for the ride. Standard equipment includes xenon headlights, front/side/curtain airbags, a 6CD autochanger, 18" alloy wheels and Brembo brakes. The £2500 GT Pack adds leather upholstered, electrically adjustable and heated seats, a BOSE stereo system and cruise. 18" RAYS alloys that are 4kg lighter than the standard wheel add another £1000. Most customers, 31% in fact, are going for the full house GT Pack with RAYS. Another Z factoid is that the most popular colour is Gun Metal grey with 40% of the vote. And of these, a quarter have the Alezan orange leather interior.

It's not as if anybody ordering a 350Z now will need the NISMO Aero Kit to stand out from the crowd. There's still a waiting list and though the 350Z is causing a noise, it's never going to be around in large volumes. The same goes for another exciting Nissan that the company is showing at Goodwood. It's called the Murano, it's the size and measure of a BMW X5 but will cost less than a similarly equipped X3, it's powered by the same engine as the 350Z, and only around 1000 will be imported into the UK next year. But even rarer is the 265PS Micra R of which there's only one. And it's parked firmly on the Nissan stand unlike the 350Z NISMO concept which will be racing daily past Goodwood House. Although it will be going fast, you won't miss it.

17/06/04

Tino Sales Rise Causes Nissan To Colour

Not only are sales of Nissan's Almera Tino rising faster than any other compact MPV sold in the UK but now the company is claiming the Tino is more entertaining than any of its rivals … to park, that is.

A rear parking camera is fitted as standard to SE and SVE models. When reverse gear is selected, an image is transmitted onto the car's dashboard. This was in black and white. But from now on, what's hiding behind the car will be seen in glorious technicolour. Before you ask, the move to colour doesn't mean owners will need a different (road fund) licence. And the car's price tag stays the same, too.

The virtues of the Tino are certainly being appreciated by the consumer judging by the current levels of sales compared to 2003. They're up a massive 162%. The reason for this new found popularity? Well, Nissan reckons it's a combination of things.
The Tino came in for some minor fettling last year with the addition of a 136PS 2.2 litre diesel engine to the mix being the major news. Which? magazine (2003/2004) recently voted the Tino its 'most reliable vehicle' and the 'best buy' in the class. And anecdotally, buyers are turning to the Tino as newer rivals become not-so-compact MPVs. Finally there's been the lure of free spec: under Nissan's current Extras campaign, the Tino SE gets 16" alloys, leather/Alcantara upholstery and fog lamps together worth £2005. No wonder customers are now seeing red, purple, green, yellow, blue...

08/06/04

Oxford Ambulance Puts Its Trust In Nissan

The latest Ambulance Trust to take advantage of the expertise of Nissan (GB) Limited in this specialist fleet sector is Oxford Ambulance NHS Trust. The Trust has recently taken delivery of 15 Primera 5-door diesels and three X-Trail diesels.

The vehicles are part of a fleet that covers the whole of Oxfordshire, working as rapid response Paramedic vehicles and supporting major incidents across the county. Often arriving at the scene of an accident before the ambulance the vehicles are a lifeline for around 800,000 Oxfordshire residents.

The Primeras and X-Trails are fully equipped with items such as a resuscitation kit and oxygen to enable paramedics to attend to patients before the ambulance and police arrive at the scene. In addition to medical equipment, the vehicles also have flashing lights and beacons, sirens and all carry the paramedic livery.

A state of the art GPS satellite navigation system ensures the emergency services control room can precisely track the vehicles, making sure the nearest vehicle is sent to an incident to keep response times as fast as possible.

Bought on five-year contract hire from Lex Vehicle Leasing, the vehicles will cover up to 30,000 miles a year and will be jointly maintained by the local Oxford Nissan dealer, Crossroads, and the Oxford Ambulance NHS Trust's own in-house workshop.
John Willis, the Trust's Divisional Manager: "The emergency response vehicles have a crucial part to play in the Oxford Ambulance NHS Trust service and we test-drove many makes and models before choosing Nissan. Everyone involved in this decision agreed that the Primera and X-Trail were streets ahead in terms of practicality and value for money. With the potential to be used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the vehicles, just like the experts they carry, do not have room for error and we are delighted with the new additions to our fleet."

Dave Murfitt, Fleet Sales Director, Nissan GB commented: "The provision of specialist vehicles such as these continues to be a successful part of our fleet offering. Working with specialist installers of equipment necessary for emergency vehicles, Nissan is carving a niche for itself in this demanding market."

27/05/04

Nissan Concept Wins Design Award

Nissan's latest Concept car, the Qashqai, has won a prestigious award at this year's Sunday Times Motor Show Live at the NEC, Birmingham. It made it to the top of the judges' list in the best Concept/Prototype category of the Institute of Vehicle Engineers (IVehE) Motor Show awards. The Qashqai was first exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year.

A number of expert automotive engineers and designers, all members of the Institute of Vehicle Engineers, were chosen to study and inspect new cars and concept vehicles on display at the British Motor Show. A stringent scoring system was used as the panel of judges worked their way through the different categories.

James Walker, Executive Director of the IVehE, said: "The Nissan Qashqai was picked out for its high quality of design and execution. This vehicle has lots of innovative features with an excellent load carrying capacity, aided by an outstanding seat configuration, which when folded up vertically gives exceptional accessibility to a well-designed interior.

He added: "The Qashqai is an excellent example of a modern lifestyle car, sophisticated for city life and adaptable for rural sporting use, with the ability to carry sports equipment from bicycles to surfboards."

The leading judge of the Concept Category, Brian Horner, Chief Executive of Visioneering UK Limited, said of the Qashqai: "The vehicle is beautifully built. It could easily be developed for economic production."

"This is a truly excellent concept vehicle."

The designers of the Qashqai were delighted at the news of this award. Makoto Yamane, Studio Chief Designer, said: "Winning this award is a great start to Nissan Design Europe's performance. I feel that the Qashqai project captures the vibrant flavour of our new studio surroundings in London and the international team which worked on the car."

He continued: "The Qashqai is a unique concept giving dual role in design and execution offering a mix of urban qualities with off-road toughness, a sign that Nissan is exploring new market segments.

"Everyone at Nissan is extremely proud to receive this award."

And Mat Weaver, Senior Designer at NDE, said: "Designing a concept car is very often a case of burning the midnight oil, so as the fruit of our hard work I'm honoured that the Qashqai has been recognised and awarded by the Institute of Vehicle Engineers. This concept is the first work from our new London design studio to be seen and with this fantastic start I'm looking forward to what we can offer in the future. Qashqai as a vehicle offers a look which is unique in its solid yet very agile appearance both inside and out."

He added, "I feel it's a car you can see yourself in, which for a concept car is not often the case, but it goes some way in proving that we are trying to bring the future closer to today."

The Qashqai combines coupé-like styling with the stance and authority of an off-road vehicle. The concept has four-wheel drive and ground clearance closer to that of a typical off-road vehicle, yet retains the looks, feel and driveability of a sporting hatchback.
Qashqai has a number of special features. The front doors open conventionally but the back doors are rear hinged and there is no central 'B' pillar. As a result, access to and from the passenger compartment is exceptionally easy.

A unique seating arrangement sees all four individual seats attached to a central backbone chassis rail. The seats can be folded upright, flush with the central rail, which leaves enough space for a bicycle to be stored easily inside the cabin without it having to be dismantled first.

A boot area behind the rear seats houses a safe for valuables and is approached via a split tailgate. Another thoughtful touch makes access to the luggage area from outside as simple as possible: the lower portion of the tailgate slides away underneath the body of the car when opened.

27/05/04

Nissan Patrol Adds 4x4 Capability To Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust Fleet

Covering over 750 square miles and serving a population of more than half a million residents, Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust has put a huge emphasis on the vehicles used in its emergency fleet. The addition of a Nissan Patrol to the fleet has enabled the Trust to benefit from a fully equipped, emergency 4x4 ambulance with the ability to cope with adverse weather conditions and any emergency that may be thrown in its direction.

The Nissan Patrol is one of the first of its kind to carry the European Standard Colour of Euro Yellow. Euro Yellow is being introduced throughout Europe to make all emergency vehicles instantly recognisable. Converted by ATT Patworth in Cambridge, the Patrol is a fully equipped 4x4 ambulance with the capacity to carry stretchers and thanks to the high roof, it gives the crews an enhanced working area.
Graham Cann, Fleet Manager, commented: "The fact that it gives the paramedics an enhanced working area which enables them to examine and treat patients, was a major factor in us deciding to choose the Patrol. Many vehicles in a similar class to the Patrol do not offer a high roof which gives such flexibility."

Carrying the same equipment as a frontline ambulance the Patrol is fully equipped with satellite navigation, which linked directly to the radio communication and data keypad ensures directions are available to the crew as soon as emergency calls are taken, saving precious seconds.

Cann continued: "The Patrol was invaluable during the snow storms earlier this year and the high specification of the vehicle has also enabled us to serve events such as horse-racing at Warwick and Stratford as well as Speedway."

In addition to the unique Patrol, Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust's fleet also includes 11 Interstars. These vehicles were converted by Oughtred & Harrison in Goole, Yorkshire, and operate in Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire as patient transport vehicles. Three of the vehicles can carry stretchers as well as seated passengers and the remaining eight vehicles have wheelchair and walking patient capability.

Dave Murfitt, Fleet Sales Director, Nissan GB Ltd said: "We are delighted to be working with Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust, Oughtred & Harrison and ATT Patworth to produce such important vehicles, and look forward to seeing many more introduced into service both by Coventry & Warwickshire Ambulance NHS Trust and across the UK."

24/05/04

Nissan's Motor Show Madness

To celebrate The Sunday Times Motor Show Live 2004, customers ordering a Nissan Micra from their local dealer during the motor show will get three years' zero per cent finance, three years' free servicing and three years' RAC roadside assistance on XS, SE or SX models. This is in addition to the three years' warranty that comes as standard on all Nissan Micra models.

Nissan has also extended the trade-in bonus offer of £750 on SE and SVE models until 7 June. Customers will benefit from a £750 payment, which can be used towards a deposit, if they trade in a Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, Skoda Fabia, VW Polo or Rover 25 against a brand new Micra.

11/05/04

Primera Goes Onto Further Education

- More comfortable ride and sharper handling
- Reversing camera now colour
- DVD satnav gains Traffic Management Channel to help driver avoid traffic congestion - standard on more models
- More functions for the integrated mobile phone operation - standard on most models
- Tyre-pressure monitoring for T-spec
- New centre console with lidded box to house mobile phone cradle, a bin below for up to 8 CDs, new cup-holders and a new dashboard cubby hole
- In-dash 6CD autochanger
- New interior door trims with large, high mounted arm-rests and aluminium effect trim for the door-pulls and handles - new head-lining trim
- Dashboard display screen graphics easier to understand and brighter
- 'Fine-vision' instruments
- Two new exterior colours

Nissan's Primera, the car that according to its advertising is a new form of intelligence, graduates at the Sunday Times Motor Show Live with a new and more luxurious interior, added technology including a unique traffic avoidance feature for its DVD satellite navigation system, and finer tuned ride and handling. The further qualified Primera has been designed, engineered and will be built in the UK. And it takes to the stage for the first time on Nissan's stand at the UK's biggest car show.

The interior upgrades are all about improving the perceived quality of the Primera. That's the way the car feels when you first sit in it. Nobody's ever questioned the long term durability of a Primera - it is a Nissan after all - but some thought it didn't feel, oh, luxurious or expensive enough when you stroked it in a car showroom. Well, there shouldn't be any complaints now. Especially as the upgraded Primera is likely to be priced from around £14,500 when sales start in July.

Few cars offer a rear-parking camera at any price. It's a feature that's certain to wow friends and potentially save you the cost, at the very least, of a rear bumper repair. Previously Primeras of SE status and above had a black and white dashboard mounted screen that showed what was going on to the rear of the car when reverse gear was selected. As part of the revisions to the Primera, the camera goes colour to give an even clearer view on the screen. And it will be standard on all but the
S grade.

More models in the range are likely to get Nissan's Birdview DVD satellite navigation system when specifications are confirmed. This move is particularly generous of Nissan because the system now adds traffic information on the screen and can plot a diversion around any problem. The system employed by Nissan is arguably one of the most advanced available. It starts with a DVD based system that works faster anyway. To this has now been added a dedicated FM tuner that does nothing else all day but listen to Radio Data System Traffic Message Channel broadcasts relevant for the car's location. Very dull for the car but great that you don't have to. And it means an end to irrelevant interruptions telling you a cow has wandered onto the A1 south of Edinburgh when you're stuck in a queue for Bluewater. There is a fee for this TMC service but Nissan pays it. And it works in eight other European countries.

The Primera is one of the few new and affordable cars around that has mobile telephone pre-wiring across most of its range. From July, the system gets even cleverer. Using the Primera's dashboard N-FORM controlled display screen, you'll be able to use your mobile's phone book, look at missed and received calls, see who is calling you and pretend to be busy, juggle two calls at once, and put a call on hold. That's all assuming you have an up-to-date Nokia, Siemens or Sony-Ericsson phone.

But even if you don't, the majority of modern mobiles are compatible with Nissan's so-called 'Plug and Go' system. You just won't enjoy all the compatibility of the newest mobiles. The safety benefits remain, even more so now that there's a phone answering button on the new steering wheel, and you will of course be legal … after you've had the correct cradle fitted by your Nissan dealer. But the cost of this is a fraction of what other manufacturers or phone shops charge because the integration comes as standard.

The cradle is mounted in the upper storage area of a new centre armrest. Designed in response to feedback from existing customers, its padded lid is higher up and therefore easier to use as an armrest should. The lid means that the phone can now be hidden out of view while a large box below can swallow up to 8 CDs. The space where the phone used to sit is now freed up for a pair of cup-holders that can be hidden away under a louvered lid if you had your caffeine fix at home. An illuminated ashtray or coin holder is situated in the same area. And on heated seat Primeras, the switches are further forward to reduce the risk of an unexplained hot sensation in your lower regions.

The bit of console ahead of the gearlever changes, too. The navigation DVD unit has been banished to under the driver's seat freeing up space for a storage box with - wait for it - a push-push, damped action lid with chrome trim and a flocked interior. Showroom browsers will love it. A more straightforward addition is room to dashboard mount a 6CD autochanger. Before it had to sit in the boot. The steering wheel gets a new flatter design with more neatly integrated switches for the cruise control, audio and telephone. As well as looking shinier, they're easier to use. So, too, are the new bigger door pulls and higher mounted armrests - more changes that come in response to customer feedback.

The in-dash display screen gets a graphical makeover in the interests of colour and clarity. Primera customers apparently like to clock watch so the time now remains on the dashboard mounted colour display irrespective of whether the audio selection, climate control or satnav is being displayed. And another little change is that the driver won't be constantly told to be wary of ice when the temperature dips in and out of range. Once is enough, thank you. The climate control operation has been improved - again, because Nissan has listened - with more accurate airflow and fan speed selection and the possibility to manually select a lower temperature range.
But the Primera's party trick is no longer the rear view camera, even with its newly added colour. Instead it's the new 'Fine Vision' instruments. Turn on the ignition and these gauges fade in over two seconds in a carefully orchestrated pointers first, then numbers then LEDs manoeuvre. Turn the ignition off and they fade out in the reverse order. It's not all show because they're easier to read for which thank amber, this season's new red when it comes to instruments. And if you drive the top spec Primera T-spec, you won't have to leave your leathered driving seat to check the tyres' pressure. It's shown on the dashboard screen.

No change for the engine line-up but Nissan's Cranfield based engineers have fine-tuned the Primera's chassis. On the comfort side, they say they have reduced harshness and pitch plus improved the car's ride particularly on uneven surfaces. And in terms of handling, they claim the latest Primera will be even more stable at high speeds and during quick lane changes. The steering should feel sharper and more responsive with reduced delay. And Nissan engineers don't usually lie.

The keener among you will be wondering why no mention of any exterior changes yet. Usually there are lashings more chrome, smoking lenses and chunkified bumpers to boast about in a model revision. Not this time. With the exception of a couple of new colours developed at Nissan's London based colour studio, the Primera's exterior hasn't been touched. Well, how would you change such a sharp design without massive plastic surgery? Nissan thought that too cruel, unnecessary and harmful to residual values. So sorry, not even an additional spoke on the alloy wheels to mention. Which is just as well really as many a handsome car has been ruined by a meddlesome marketing department intent on design destruction.

Getting back to the showroom, do we need to mention the new headlining material shared with the 350Z? Or the satin chrome finishing for the dashboard switchgear, ventilation grilles and door pulls? No, not really. It's the overall effect customers will notice and lead them to request a brochure and price list. There a nice surprise will greet them with the expanded and better-equipped line-up, not to mention the prices. Which we won't till nearer the launch date. For now, just admire the flocking.

12/05/04

Nissan X-Trail Wins Top Fleet Award

Nissan's X-TRAIL has won yet another award to put into its already brimming trophy cabinet scooping the top prize in the 4x4 category of this year's prestigious Fleet World Honours .

The Fleet World editorial team were joined on the judging panel by experts who represented fleet managers, the leasing industry and the residual values guides. Factors including manufacturer service networks, operating costs, reliability, residual values and, of course, road test findings were taken into consideration when deciding the winners.

Fleet industry consultant and former IBM Fleet Manager, George Emmerson said: "When we judged this award we were looking for a combination of style, performance and off-road potential in a car that was available to a reasonable number of car user-choosers. There was really only one possible winner because the X-TRAIL's strong performance in all the key areas under consideration put it firmly ahead of its key rivals."

Fleet World Editor Ross Durkin commented: "The introduction of the 136PS dCi engine was a major step forward for the X-TRAIL and when we group tested it earlier in the year it stood out as the most accomplished car in its class by far.
Ride and handling are as car-like as you can get in a 4x4 of this size and that makes it extremely comfortable on a long journey.

He added: "Nissan's traditional values of quality and reliability also count strongly in its favour as a fleet proposition."

Nissan's Fleet Sales Director, Dave Murfitt said: "I am delighted to be receiving this award on behalf of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. X-TRAIL sales show the fastest growth in the compact 4x4 market segment and we are delighted that Fleet World have recognised the strengths that support its undoubted desirability in the market."

The Nissan X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines, a 2.0 litre 140PS, a 2.5 litre 165PS and an enhanced 2.2 dCi, 136PS in a choice of four specification levels, SE, SPORT, SVE and T-SPEC.

The Fleet World awards were presented at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall on Tuesday 11 May

27/04/04

Terrano Van - Even More Specs Appeal For 2004

Safety, styling and luxury are the watchwords for the latest improvements to the Nissan Terrano Van - with desirable features such as anti-lock brakes and a CD player making an appearance on the standard equipment list.

And what's more, the price has only increased marginally, to a very competitive £14,125 for the standard model, or £16, 245 for the 3.0 Di SE.

Safety upgrades play a major part in the 2004 changes to Terrano Van. The entry level Standard model now matches its higher spec'd partner by featuring ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution as standard. And the same goes for a passenger airbag. The SE trim sees further safety developments with the inclusion of side airbags as well as a feature unique to 4x4s in this class, 'active' front seat headrests which move forward and upwards in the event of an accident to provide greater support to the occupants' necks.

The looks of the 2004 Terrano Van have been enhanced. But don't fret. It still retains that distinctive rugged and practical look.

The Standard grade van looks even cooler now that the bumpers become part body coloured to complement the existing colour coded front grille. The SE, however, has been treated to even more goodies which will suit those who like to get a little car luxury with their van. For starters, the alloys have grown an inch to a butch 17" and robust aluminium side steps have been added. The front grille which used to be body coloured is now chrome. Oh, and metallic paint is now standard on the SE. And on the inside you'll see that the fabric trim has been subtly upgraded and that the basic black centre console trim has been pushed aside to make way for a modern titanium finish.

With all these improvements we mustn't forget that the Terrano Van has always been and continues to be a powerful, versatile and highly equipped 4x4 vehicle. Rough tracks and unfinished roads don't phase the Terrano Van due to its sturdy ladder-frame chassis, high ground clearance and tough bodywork.

And talking of power, although unchanged into 2004, it won't disappoint. Available with either a 2.7-litre TD or 3.0Di engine pushing out a hefty 154PS at 3600rpm, and 304Nm at 1600rpm, the latter can happily lug a load of up to 700kg and should you need to tow, it can handle up to 3000kg. With all this power feeding through the selectable 4x4 transmission system the 2004 Terrano Van must be one of the best 'go anywhere, sturdy looking, value for money, extra safe' vans available today.

As a quick re-cap:
Additional equipment - Standard Additional equipment - SE
ABS ? 17" alloy wheels
? Electronic Brakeforce Distribution ? Aluminium side steps
? Passenger airbag ? Side airbags
? CD player ? Active front seat headrests
? Remote audio controls ? Body coloured bumpers and door mirrors
Metallic paint
Remote audio controls

26/04/04

Nissan Reports Record Results For FY03

Ghosn unveils highlights of NISSAN Value-Up to follow NISSAN 180

TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced record operating profits of 825 billion yen (US $7.29 billion, euro 6.29 billion), up 11.9% for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004. The operating profit margin came to 11.1%, reaffirming Nissan's position as one of the most profitable automakers in the world. Despite a negative foreign exchange rate outlook, operating profits for fiscal year 2004 are forecast to continue to grow to a new record level.

President and CEO Carlos Ghosn also unveiled highlights of NISSAN Value-Up, the three-year business plan that will follow NISSAN 180 in April 2005.

"NISSAN 180 propelled us to the top performance rank of the world's automakers.

NISSAN Value-Up will broaden and strengthen that position," said Ghosn.
Consolidated net revenues totaled 7.429 trillion yen (US $ 65.6 billion, euro 56.6 billion), up 8.8%. Net profit after tax came to 503.7 billion yen (US $4.45 billion, euro 3.84 billion), up 1.7%. Return on invested capital reached a record 21.3%.
Nissan sold 3,057,000 vehicles worldwide in fiscal year 2003, an increase of 10.4%, or 287,000 units, surpassing the 3-million sales mark for the first time in 13 years.
"During the past year, Nissan boldly and thoughtfully leveraged its global reach," said Ghosn. "We advanced our operations in China through our joint venture with Dong Feng and entered high-volume, full-size segments in the United States for the first time."

NISSAN Value-Up

The company's new three-year business plan commits to sustained growth, high profitability and return on investment. The plan's commitments are:
to reach annual global sales of 4.2 million units by the end of fiscal year 2007;
to maintain an operating profit margin at the top level among global automakers; and
to maintain a minimum 20% return on invested capital.

NISSAN Value-Up will expand the company's worldwide presence. Infiniti will be launched as a global tier-one luxury brand. In total, 28 all-new Nissan and Infiniti models will be launched in markets around the world, supporting a strategy of significant geographic expansion.
Other FY03 financial highlights:

Indebtedness
Nissan's net automotive debt stood at 13.6 billion yen (US $120 million, euro 103.7 million) at the end of fiscal year 2003 under new accounting standards.

Dividend
As previously announced, Nissan's board of directors will propose a full-year 19 yen per share dividend at Nissan's next annual general shareholders' meeting on June 23, 2004.

Outlook:
Business risks include adverse movements in foreign exchange rates and rising commodity prices and interest rates. Opportunities lie in the accelerated implementation of all of Nissan's actions plans during the final year of NISSAN 180.

FY04 forecast:
Based on this outlook and assuming foreign exchange rates of 105 yen/dollar and 125 yen/euro, Nissan filed the following forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange:
consolidated net revenues of 8.176 trillion yen;
operating profit of 860 billion yen;
ordinary profit of 846 billion yen; and
net profit of 510 billion yen.

Note: Amounts in dollars and euros are translated for the convenience of the reader only at the foreign exchange rates of 113.2 yen/dollar and 131.2 yen/euro, the average rates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004.

22/04/04

Micra Convert-Able

Do you drive a Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, Skoda Fabia, VW Polo or Rover 25?

Well, if you do, Nissan would like to give you £750. That's £750 on top of the trade-in value of your current car to put towards the cost of a brand new Micra SE or SVE.
In addition, Nissan is also giving every customer who buys an SVE before the end of June, three years free servicing and three years RAC cover (which will save you as much as £520). And there's the offer of zero per cent finance over three years. The SVE model is one of the best equipped superminis on the market with features that include driver and passenger airbags, ABS with Brake Assist and EBD, ultrasonic rear parking sensors, climate control air-conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels and Nissan's Intelligent Key. With prices starting at £10,295 for a 1.4-litre three-door, customers trading in one of the above cars will pay just £151 a month after a deposit of £4118.

But don't worry if you don't drive one of these cars because you can still take advantage of three years, zero per cent finance (with 40% deposit) on all SE and SVE models. With the SE range starting from £9,150 for the 1.2 three-door, you would pay a deposit of £3660 plus 36 monthly payments of just £153.

Offers on other Micra models in the range include zero per cent finance on the S grade over 12 months with 50% deposit and free insurance on S and XS models when purchased with Preferences, Nissan's personal contract purchase plan. However if you purchase a Micra SX, you will still qualify for free insurance on the SX model.

02/04/04

Breaking New Ground

Contractors Drive Onto Site To Start Construction Of Four New Car Dealerships For The Renrod Motor Group, Owner of St Martins Nissan

Work has started on the construction of four new car dealerships on the Meridian Business Park, Trowbridge. The project involves the building of four state of the art dealerships uniquely situated on a single site to house four brands including Nissan, to act as a sister site to St.Martins in Box. Regionally this is a unique concept and the Renrod Group are literally breaking new ground in this venture.

Recently, Rodney Cuff, Managing Director of Renrod Motor Group was joined by some members of the professional consultant team and the contractor (Adonis Construction) for the symbolic gesture that marked the commencement of the development.

Andy Higgs, Partner of King Sturge Project Management said "We are pleased that this challenging project has started on site. The team have had to overcome numerous problems to obtain the optimum design for the building. At the same time there have been environmental challenges associated with the site. These include retaining trees, providing a detailed landscaping scheme and utilising new environmentally friendly solutions where possible, such as an on site rainwater harvesting system and the diversion of a public right of way".

The buildings have been designed by Bath based Architects, BBA who have been liasing with Renrod Motor Group personnel including Group Developments Manager, Mike Ratcliff, and have been instrumental in reconciling the range of needs of the various parties involved on the site.

When completed the site will form a landmark development on the approach to White Horse Business Park and will provide new opportunities for employment in the area. At the same time prospective purchasers will be able to compare and contrast various products to ensure that their aspirations are best met.

Rodney Cuff said "The new site will provide an excellent resource for our customers and clients in terms of meeting their motoring requirements. We are also pleased that we have been able to incorporate environmentally sustainable solutions to some of the problems on the site and have been able to involve local companies in both the design and construction of the units. The input we have received from our team of consultants has been instrumental in the success of the scheme to date and I look forward to seeing the development progress in the construction phase".

The Meridian Project, as the Renrod Group will refer to this development, will soon have its own website (scheduled to go online towards the end of April) dedicated to all aspects of the project from the initial purchase of the land through to the final phase of site launch.

The Meridian Project is scheduled for completion in October this year.

For further information please contact

Renrod Ltd
Union House
Union Street
Trowbridge
BA14 8RY
www.renrodmg.co.uk

16/03/04

2004 Model Year Cabstar - Stop Press

This must be the fastest upgrade on a vehicle following its launch. The medium and long wheelbase versions of the new Cabstar now have Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) fitted as standard.

Should you have any questions relating to the new Cabstar or any other Nissan vehicle, please don't hesitate to contact us on 01225 744444

16/03/04

Nissan Primastar Shines Brighter In 2004

In response to customer demand for a better-equipped medium sized van, Nissan has revised and extended the Primastar range for 2004. The revisions include the addition of a new 2.5 dCi engine, a new high roof version, additional safety specification on the SE grade as well as a streamlined grade structure to match the Kubistar and Interstar ranges.

New engine, more power

The 2.5 dCi engine, which also appears on the Interstar range, is now available on the Primastar but with even more power. With 135hp and 310 Nm of torque it offers impressive load lugging capabilities, but is still capable of returning 33mpg on the combined cycle.

The 2.5 dCi engine is available with the SWB low roof, LWB low and high roof SE models.

Improved specification

To bring the Primastar in line with the Kubistar and Interstar ranges, the grade structure has been modified. The Access grade has been discontinued and the SE grade has gained extra specification to make it safer and more comfortable than ever. The top of the range SE sees ABS with Electronic Brake Assist as standard equipment alongside driver's airbag, rear parking sensors and full metal bulkhead. A single slot CD player has also been added for that extra bit of luxury.

New models and greater options

Many operators have downsized their vans in recent years, but they still demand a generous combination of payload options and load volumes in these smaller vehicles. Based on a change in buying patterns, Nissan has added five new Primastars to the range. There are two new high roof versions powered by the existing 1.9 dCi engine available with both long and short wheelbase options. The new 2.5 dCi is also available with long and short wheelbase options - the short wheelbase is teamed with a low roof and the long wheelbase with both low and high roof versions. Quite literally the new 2004 Primastar provides a van for every operator's business needs.
The Primastar options packs have also been revised and include two rear doors packs, two tailgate packs and a climate pack. All packs are available on the SE grade only.

15/03/04

Intelligent DRIVE FOR DERREN BROWN

Channel 4's psychological illusionist, Derren Brown will be driving a Nissan Primera for the duration of his forthcoming UK tour. Derren's Primera is a top of the range T-SPEC, which he has more in common with than you might think. Both are unique performers with intelligence at the centre of their acts, the only difference being that the Primera's speciality is technology and Derren's is more mind blowing.

Derren will be using the car to travel to various theatres around the country from 15 March, including Croydon, Portsmouth, Swansea and Edinburgh. The tour finishes mid-May when Derren will be back on Channel 4 with a second series of the popular programme Mind Control.

Nissan has waved its magic wand over this model. Like Derren, the T-SPEC has ESP but in the Primera's case it means Electronic Stability Program (ESP) which reduces the effect of understeer and oversteer by braking the wheels on the outside of a bend to keep the car on its intended track. The T-SPEC also comes equipped with an Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) system, which via a laser sensor at the front of the car continuously measures the distance to the vehicle ahead, adjusting its speed appropriately.

In addition, the Primera comes with a rear view parking camera that shows the view behind during reversing via a clear picture on the central display. The standard DVD satellite navigation system, as if by magic, guides you to a destination that could be almost anywhere in Europe, using unique Birdview™ 3D graphics.

Nissan has read customers' minds further still, and so to suit all, offers nine different versions of the Primera. It's available in four door, five door, or estate bodystyles, and with three choices of engine, including 1.8 and 2.0 litre petrol, as well as the high-powered 2.2dCi which gives an average fuel consumption of 46.3 mpg.

09/04/04

New Nissan Cabstar Workhorse Gets Even Tougher For 2004

The Nissan Cabstar range, so long the workhorse for many fleet operators and owner drivers has been revised for 2004.

The new Cabstar mirrors the dictionary definition of a workhorse 'being a machine that performs hard work'. It provides new engines with up to 14% more power mated to a new gearbox, has longer intervals between servicing, new independent front suspension, improved interior comfort and new exterior styling.
Combine these improvements with a range of Single Cab, Double Cab, Tipper, single and twin rear wheels, short, medium and long wheelbase options, and the 2004 model year Cabstar range is the ultimate load lugger.

New engines and more power

At the heart of the new range are two new engines; a new 3.0 litre turbo diesel unit (designated 3.0T) that generates 105bhp, 14% more than the 2.7 litre engine it replaces, and a more powerful 125bhp version (3.0Ti), which replaces the old 120bhp engine. Lower servicing costs are guaranteed through oil change intervals increasing from 10,000 to 20,000 miles.

Both new engines have been equipped with a new five-speed gearbox and like the previous model a power take-off is available on the options list.

A detailed range table has been included below on all the new derivatives and prices in all their glory, but we have simplified the range for you here:
The 34.10 is available with a Single Fix cab and in one wheelbase and three body versions.
The 35.13 is available either as a Single tilt cab or Double cab, which can be specified in medium and long wheelbase versions with Chassis, Dropside or Tipper Body variants.

More payload for new Cabstar

At the business end the general layout of the Cabstar remains the same, although a technical review of the short wheelbase models has seen a slight repositioning of the rear wheels and rear axle. These technical changes see the gross vehicle weight increasing from 3200kg to 3400kg on the SWB and payloads rise across all versions.

Payload on the SWB Dropside increases from 1405kg to 1492kg and on the SWB Tipper by 70kg to 1380kg. Payload on the long wheelbase models remains the same, but the uprated SWB models improve the Cabstar's competitiveness in the UK light truck sector.

Cabstar receives new identity

One thing you may have already noticed is the Cabstar has lost its E badge, it is now just called Cabstar. The model nomenclature has also been changed so each model is designated first by its GVW, ie 34 (3.4 tonnes) and then by its horsepower ie 10 (105bhp). The new range is the Cabstar 34.10 and 35.13, which are available in short, medium and long wheelbase variants.

From the outside the styling of the new Cabstar looks very similar to the previous model, except for the new grille, but there are key changes that have been made underneath the skin. Nissan has increased strengthening at the front end, increasing energy absorption and improving front-end crash protection; while a sturdier front bumper keeps those small parking bumps in check.

Also at the front end Nissan has installed an all-new independent suspension, which provides a number of significant benefits to the vehicle:

Firstly the geometry of the suspension improves the vehicle's turning radius by nearly 7% on the long wheelbase model, 6.1% on the medium wheelbase and 3.5% on the short wheelbase version. This improves manoeuvrability, especially when visiting cramped building sites.

Secondly the new suspension gives the Cabstar a wider front track that helps further improve vehicle stability and road holding.

Thirdly the dynamics of the Cabstar's ride and handling have been improved when the vehicle is laden or unladen.

More Cabstar comforts

Alongside all the other changes, Nissan has upgraded the interior trim, which spells good news for Cabstar drivers. All interior carpets and seat trim have been improved, whilst still being practical enough to stand up to the tough working conditions of your typical Cabstar user. All new Cabstars have a driver's airbag fitted as standard, combining with the beefed up front crash protection and sturdier front bumper. A CD player also now appears on the standard equipment list.

04/04/04

Nissan 350Z - 'TOP GEAR MAGAZINE Car Of The Year' 2004

Nissan 350Z has been awarded the illustrious title of 'Car of Year' in the 2004 Top Gear Magazine awards. The team of road testers from the magazine, all put their heads together to establish their overall favourite, and the winner was .... the 350Z.
The award itself will be presented to Nissan by Jeremy Clarkson and editor Michael Harvey in London on 9 March.

Top Gear Magazine commented:
"From the moment you sit in the driver's seat, the Z feels like something special. It has the right shape, the right noise, the right pace, the right poise. All at the right price. The Nissan 350Z deserves its place as our car of the year".

Bill Bosley, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) Limited said: "When you consider the vast amount of quality cars that have entered the fray over the last 12 months, to win 'Car of Year' is a fantastic testament to the 350Z. It was always designed to be a true, no compromise sports car, emulating the original thought process of the legendary 240Z back in the early 70s. This award is further proof that we have achieved our objectives."

Since its launch, back in October 2003, the 350Z has been consistently collecting awards and praise from all areas of the media from the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers' 'Sporting Car of the Year' to Boys Toys magazine 'Car of the Year'.
The entry price tag is £24,000, however 90% of customers are opting to include the GT pack for a further £2500, which provides heated / electric operated leather-covered seats, BOSE stereo system and cruise control.

When the order book was first opened in March 03 the quota for the year (450 units) was sold out in only 58 minutes. Since then demand has continued to be strong with orders now being taken for mid-year delivery. So if anyone wishes to experience the award winning 350Z for themselves, they need to plan ahead.

02/04/04

Qashqai - Nissan's New Take On The Crossover

At a glance
o Four-wheel-drive Crossover concept unveiled today at the Geneva Motor show
o Compact for the city and robust for the great outdoors
o Advanced electronic all-wheel drive and good ground clearance
o Rear hinged back doors and…
o … no B-pillar for superb access to passenger compartment without compromising strength
o Unique side-hinged seats maximise interior space
o First project from newly-established Nissan Design Europe

Nissan believes the end could be in sight for conventional cars in the compact sector of the market. And if the market share of the traditional hatchback is indeed numbered, its place might well be taken by striking crossover vehicles designed to live a dual life… vehicles like the Nissan Qashqai.

"Qashqai is a bold new design that pioneers a new sector of the market. Aimed at a young pre-family buyer, Qashqai is a dual-role compact crossover concept: during the week it is a tough city dweller at home on the mean streets, but at the weekend it heads for the hills for freedom and adventure."

Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design Division, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
First from NDE

Qashqai is the first concept car to have been developed by Nissan's recently-opened design studio in London, England. Nissan Design Europe (NDE) is one of the company's design 'think-tanks' dedicated to developing future generations of advanced designs for European markets

Qashqai, unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show, is ample proof that Nissan's multi-cultural design team is thinking 'out-of-the-box'. Unlike anything on the roads today, Qashqai combines the sleek lines of a sporting hatchback with the attitude and authenticity of a serious 4x4.

Escape

Named after a desert-dwelling nomadic tribe living near the Zagros mountains in South Western Iran, Qashqai is seen by Satoru Tai, Vice President, Nissan Design Europe, as an Urban Nomad. "It is aimed at young professional people who enjoy living and working in the city during the week but who want to escape at the weekend."

Arch graphic roof

Among its striking features are the swooping coupé-like roof, high waist-line and the aerofoil shape of the side glass. The arch graphic of the roof line has become a recurring Nissan design theme and can be found on many Nissan production cars including Primera, Micra and 350Z as well as on a number of design concepts.

Qashqai's four-wheel drive underpinnings are obvious from the ample ground clearance, tall body and huge wheels. The concept is 1570mm tall, 1860mm wide and 4310mm long. It sits on a wheelbase of 2650mm. Its four-wheel drive credentials include 237mm ground clearance and compact overhangs front and rear - 854mm and 806mm respectively.

The wheels - 20 inches in diameter - were made especially for Qashqai by Michelin and feature the French company's unique PAX run-flat system.

Rear-hinged back doors

But it's the unique design features that set the concept apart. While the front doors open conventionally, the back doors are rear-hinged… and both open to virtually 90 degrees. As there is no central B-pillar, when both side doors are opened simultaneously access to and from the passenger compartment is much easier than in a conventional car.

There is, however, another reason for adopting this unusual layout. Securely fastened to a central monorail - a solid aluminium chassis backbone designed to ensure the concept enjoys uncompromised structural rigidity despite the lack of B-pillars - are four individual seats.

Unique folding seats

Those on the passenger side of the vehicle not only have backrests that fold, clamshell-style, onto the seat base, but are also cantilevered so that they can be stowed upright, flush with the central chassis backbone.

This, in turn, leaves ample space to store a mountain bike within the passenger compartment - with an obstruction-free side-loading zone, the bike is simply picked up and slotted into place with nothing having first to be dismantled.
Qashqai also has a conventional luggage compartment at the rear of the car but, again, there's a novel opening arrangement for the rear hatch.

Split tailgate

The split tailgate features a glazed upper 'bubble' and metal lower panel. For loading small items, the glass panel can be opened independently and the luggage slotted into the boot.
But for loading larger items, the centrally hinged bottom panel moves forward and then down, to slide out of the way underneath the tail of the car. Once again this allows much easier access to the load area: with a conventional split tailgate, it is necessary to stretch uncomfortably across the lowered portion to reach and remove a suitcase.

Secure storage

The boot area also houses a special 'strong box' allowing valuables to be locked safely away when the car is left unattended.

Other notable exterior features include the lights. The vertical rear lights run up and over to the tailgate to accentuate its tall stance, while at first glance there don't appear to be any lights at the front at all.

'Invisible' headlamps

In fact, the headlamp clusters - they incorporate the turn indicators and fog lamps as well as the LED headlamps themselves - echo the striking rectangular style as featured on the 350Z, but are covered in a newly developed 'clear-ink' paint that matches the car's body colour but becomes invisible once a light is shone through.
At the front, the familiar three-section Nissan grille features a sporting mesh effect deep within the apertures.

Glazed roof

The airiness of the cabin is thanks to the twin full-length glazed roof panels above both pairs of seats. The central section houses a roof console with controls, interior lighting and ventilation outlets and extra storage space.

The interior of the concept also underlines the dual role to be played by Qashqai. The asymmetric interior design envelops the driver to create a sporty environment, but the passenger side of the car is more open to give a feeling of freedom and space.

Car of the future?

Satoru Tai says: "Qashqai is a serious design study which shows one direction future Nissan's vehicles could take. It is aimed at young people who are not constrained by convention; it's a car that can adapt to its environment just as quickly as they can."

Street language

One final feature of Qashqai's interior design pays homage to its birthplace and underlines its urban roots. NDE's home near the Grand Union Canal in London's Paddington is a unique building called the Rotunda. Constructed from reinforced concrete in 1966, its original role was as a maintenance depot for British Rail.

So striking was the design that it won an Architectural Design Project Award in 1966 and the Concrete Society's Award three years later and it is now considered one of the most important buildings of the post-war British Modern movement. As a result it carries a Grade II* listing from British Heritage.

Although derelict when taken over by Nissan Design Europe, because of the architectural listing many of the features had to be retained during the building's make-over… including some period graffiti daubed on the walls.

And this graffiti inspired the motif to be found on the bold slash of colour that rings the passenger's side of the cockpit. Predominately red, the fabric covered panel that runs clockwise from the centre of the dashboard to the centre of the rear door has a very unusual pattern developed from the wit and wisdom of London's youth…

12/02/04

Navara Dull Moment With The Nissan Rally Raid

You can now pick up where Colin McRae left off with this limited edition Navara Rally Raid built to celebrate Nissan's participation in the 2004 Dakar Rally. You, too, can feel like a rally champion in this special addition to the Navara range which is available in showrooms now for the basic on the road price of £16,290, which includes a heavier duty ladder frame chassis and a revised suspension for even better on-road ride and handling.

Already the most powerful and distinctive pickup in its class, the Rally Raid adds Nissan's Motorsport livery just like Colin's Dakar Pickup. One of three bold external colours will certainly make it stand out, not only in the desert but also in the equally gruelling conditions of the daily commute. If that isn't graphic enough it has front fog lamps and extra dark tinted glass together with the option of a full sponsorship decal kit to give that authentic rally look. Side running boards have been removed to enable the Rally Raid to tackle the most extreme surfaces whilst at the same time a chunky rear step bumper is added. And wider tyres give added grip.

Colin had to make do with listening to nothing but the sound of his shouting co-driver but the Rally Raid driver has the luxury of a standard fit, 6CD autochanger with 4 speakers. If that isn't entertainment enough, the occupants can run their hands over the thick rimmed, two-tone leather steering wheel or even the new, hard-wearing 'Warp' trim, a fabric that isn't dissimilar to the comfortable squashy bit in a trainer! This trim can also be seen in the 2004 X-TRAIL. All this in addition to driver and passenger airbags, climate control and ABS as found on all standard Navaras.

As well as being cost-efficient, the Rally Raid does not shy away from hard work. Far from it. It's capable of lugging over a ton of Saharan sand or any other load you may wish to carry. And towing too - it can haul loads of up to three tonnes. Of course, with Nissan's 50 year history of developing and building 4x4s, the Rally Raid has awesome off-road ability thanks to its selectable 4WD system, huge ground clearance and low ratio gearbox. But the Rally Raid is not simply a workhorse for the adventurous. It is also a practical family car with seating for five.

The next stage for any prospective Rally Raid drivers is to get a reliable navigator to point them to their nearest Nissan dealer but they'd better be quick - there are only 300 up for grabs.

11/02/04

Micra XS - A Car With Micrattitude

The new Micra is a year old ("Happy birthday Micra!") and to celebrate Nissan has introduced a special version called the XS priced from £8795 including free insurance*. This new model has been created to appeal to younger buyers who want a sporty look without breaking the bank.

Based on the S grade, the XS features 15" alloy wheels, a rear roof spoiler, body coloured electric door mirrors, a race-style aluminium gear knob and unique dashboard trim. This is in addition to standard features that include power assisted steering, front electric windows, ABS with Nissan Brake Assist, driver and passenger airbags and keyless entry with Superlocking. The XS also features Nissan's clever sliding rear seat which moves forward or backwards by up to 200 mm providing extra legroom or boot space depending on requirements.

The XS is available with a choice of the 1.2-litre petrol or 1.5-litre dCi 65 engines, both with the option of three or five doors. Prices start from £8795 for the 1.2 three-door, rising to £10,095 for the 1.5 dCi five-door. Each Micra XS is £800 more than the S on which it's based - top value given it comes with £1000 of extra kit and, if the customer buys on Preferences (Nissan's personal contract purchase plan), a £700 deposit contribution plus a year's free insurance, too. The Clever Pack - rain sensing wipers and Nissan's Intelligent Key system - is an XS option for just £250.

Micra - the story so far

Since the Micra went on sale in January 2003, Nissan has sold over 46,700 in the UK and 177,000 across Europe. Such was the interest in the new Micra that three months after its launch, the production capacity was increased by 25% at the Sunderland plant to accommodate the demand. Soon after launch, the range line-up was boosted by the addition of a 1.5-litre dCi engine with a power output of 65PS and later, 82PS adding to the existing petrol line-up of 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4-litre engines.

The Micra represents the product-led revival that Nissan is enjoying at the moment. It has strong, distinctive design and reinforces Nissan's reputation for high quality. It is available with features normally found on upper-segment models, such as "Intelligent Key", which allows the car to be unlocked and started when the key is in close proximity to the car, and "Friendly Lighting" which leaves the headlights on until the driver has safely reached their front door.

Simon Thomas, Sales Director for Nissan Motor (GB) Limited said: "The Micra has been a huge hit in the 12 months since it went on sale. Its combination of stylish looks, broad engine range, thoughtful features and all-round driving excellence is a winning combination. It's also interesting to note that the best selling version in the range is the highly equipped SE, a marked change compared with the outgoing car. And by the end of 2004, 15% of Micra sales in the UK will be diesel - higher than initial targets."

He added: "Micra drivers are now younger than ever before and we know that good design is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. And, very importantly for us, it is the first time many of them have bought a Nissan. In this respect, conquest sales demonstrate that Nissan's product-led revival is gaining pace."

Further glamour will be added to the Micra range next year, when the Micra Coupé Cabriolet goes on sale. Based on the C+C concept car which was shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2002, the hardtop convertible Micra will provide seating for four passengers. It will go on sale in the second half of 2005.

09/02/04

Nissan At The Geneva International Motor Show 2004

(Paris) - Nissan will be unveiling the Qashqai concept car for the first time at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

The Qashqai is a compact Crossover with an advanced electronic four-wheel drive system. It reflects Nissan's belief that consumers' tastes are changing to echo their lifestyles which are becoming more active. Buyers of compact Crossovers will want enough interior space for their family, the ruggedness of a 4x4, as well as the comfort and ease of driving of a traditional passenger car. In addition, buyers increasingly want a vehicle which is distinctive, allowing them to express themselves and to stand out from the crowd.

The concept is the first complete design project to have come from Nissan Design Europe's new facility which opened in London in January 2003 and is now home to over 50 international designers, modellers and support staff. The studio's mission is to design the next generation of Nissan cars for Europe.

With the Qashqai, Nissan has been concentrating on customer segmentation to improve its understanding of the lifestyles and activities of its prospective customers. As a result, Nissan is better able to identify niches which will become market segments in years to come.

Although a concept car, Nissan has recognised that prospective owners of the Qashqai would be based in an urban environment. They will be successful in their careers considering their age. As well as working hard during the week, their car will allow them to escape the city at weekends and play hard, seeking adventure with like-minded friends.

Reflecting the lifestyles of its potential owners, the Qashqai offers space and flexibility. The interior of the car reflects the varied role it will have to play, with an innovative folding seat arrangement allowing bikes, outdoor activity equipment and the weekly shopping to be easily stowed. This flexibility is aided by rear doors which are hinged on the back edge, allowing a massive loading aperture thanks to the lack of a B-pillar. Despite the lack of B-pillar, the structural strength of the Qashqai is uncompromised thanks to the individual seat mounting.

The exterior design incorporates strong Nissan DNA seen in the design of the Micra, 350Z and Primera. The Qashqai's large wheels and exaggerated wheel-arches give the vehicle a purposeful stance, echoing the strength of a large 4x4, but with delicate design touches which endow it with a softer, less aggressive look.

Nissan is among the first manufacturers to recognise the evolution in customer tastes which will see consumers increasingly buying cars like the Qashqai and it represents an interpretation of how a future model may look.

In addition to the Qashqai, Nissan will also have one of the Rally Raid Pickups driven by Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen and Giniel de Villiers which won four of the gruelling stages of the Dakar rally in January.

As well as these two very special cars, Nissan will also have on display the 350Z, Micra, X-TRAIL, Pickup and Primera. Visitors to the Nissan stand will also be able to enjoy the relaxation zone where they can rest their tired legs.

The Nissan press conference will take place at 1330, Tuesday 2 March 2004. Nissan's stand is 4150, in Hall 4.

03/02/04

Extras Extras - Read All About Them

Nissan has always tried to give its customers more than they expect from their cars, which is why the company has loaded the Almera, Tino and Primera SE* models with technology that you would normally associate with higher specification models. But if that's not generous enough, Nissan has added free specification in the form of an Extras Pack to these models as well as giving customers savings of up to £2705 off the price of the standard SE models.

The Extras Pack fitted to the Almera 1.5-litre petrol and 2.2 dCi 136 5-door SE models features 16-inch alloy wheels, Ice or Blade metallic paint, plus a customer saving of £1405 making the 1.5-litre SE Extras just £9995, the same price as a 3-door S.
The Tino models are available with the 1.8-litre petrol and 2.2 dCi 136 diesel engines and come with free Extras Pack of Starburst Silver or Pearl Black metallic paint, 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps and leather/Alcantara upholstery. Both models also come with a customer saving of £2005, making the 1.8-litre model just £11,995 on the road, which is £1000 less than the entry level S grade.

Finally, the Primera SE comes with a choice of 1.8-litre petrol or 2.2 dCi engines and is available as a 5-door hatchback or estate model. All models gain 17-inch alloy wheels and free Blade or Ice metallic paint with the Extras Pack. The 1.8-litre models attract a customer saving of £1705, bringing the price down to £13,995 for the 5-door and £15,095 for the estate. The 2.2 dCi models attract a saving of £2705 and now match the prices of the 1.8-litre models.

All SE models with Extras Packs are available now until the end of March 2004.

Note:
*Standard equipment on SE grade varies by model - but all feature rear parking technology, whether it's sensors or camera, ABS with Brake Assist and climate control air conditioning.

23/01/04

Nissan Tops UK Production

Nissan has been recognised as the largest car producer in the UK for the fourth year running.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that production at the company's Sunderland plant accounted for one in every five cars built in the UK last year.

The 331,924 cars produced on Wearside in 2003 also represents a record for the plant. The figure is more than 35,000 units up on its 2002 volume, and nearly 4,000 units above the previous record, achieved in 2000.

The substantial year-on-year increase was fuelled by excellent demand for the new Micra following its European launch last January.

The Primera and Almera models are also produced in Sunderland, and the plant will build the Micra C+C cabriolet from autumn 2005.

Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Colin Dodge, said: "I'm particularly pleased that we had our busiest year ever in 2003 as it reflects the huge popularity of the Micra across Europe. I'd also like to pay tribute to our workforce in adapting so well to changing market demand.

"Manufacturing flexibility is something that is becoming increasingly important within the automotive industry. Our performance in 2003, in doubling Micra production year-on-year, proves that we are well-equipped to meet similar challenges in the years ahead."

14/01/04

Nissan Rally Raid Team - Dakar 2004

LEG 13: BAMAKO (Mali) - AYOÛN EL ATROUS (Mauritania)

Liaison: 230 km - Special Stage: 478 km - Liaison 26 km - Total: 734 km

ONE-TWO-THREE FOR NISSAN ON TODAY'S STAGE, COLIN MCRAE CLAIMS HIS FIRST DAKAR STAGE VICTORY…

Nissan's first triple finish on the Dakar… The three Pickup cars set the best times, with victory going to Colin McRae ahead of Giniel de Villiers and Ari Vatanen. Three fine Champions who have helped lift the team's morale after a few difficult moments.
Today's special stage, which took place on a sandy track, appeared to suit the 'drivers' … but the navigation played an important role, as there were so many parallel tracks. It was on this terrain, which rather suited the Nissan Pickup vehicles, that Colin McRae claimed his first Dakar Victory. The first, maybe, but certainly not the last, as this seems to prove that the Scottish driver has definitely caught the 'Rally Raid' bug … the Nissan trio clocked in at each CP in the lead, showing an uncontested supremacy over the whole timed sector.

For Gilles Martineau, this fine triple result rewards the work of the whole team: "I am very happy this evening. Happy, because this result is excellent for the team's morale. I would especially like to underline the work accomplished by the mechanics.

Without them, Colin and Ari would never have reached Bobo Dioulasso in the allotted time. They did the work of titans out on the trail, in extreme conditions. This victory is theirs as well. Colin proved, not only that he has a place in Rally Raids, but also a place at the front. As soon as we have regained some reliability, we will be able to give our rivals something to worry about. This is encouraging for the future. Over fast terrain like today, the car was perfect; we just have to improve our performance over soft sand, dunes and camel grass. We are gradually climbing the steps to get to the very top, and today, we went up another step…"

Colin McRae savoured his delight very humbly this evening: "Today's special stage was the first time when I was really able to drive. We had a few minor vibration worries, and we fought a bit with our inflating-deflating system. Nothing too serious. The trail was quite narrow between the trees, and we lost a front wing and a bit of our rear wing. We felt that we were driving well, and that we were catching up with the others. I am pleased to be the first British driver to have won a special stage since Andrew Cowan, who won six Dakar stages … I would have been a bit disappointed to head home without managing to claim a win. Tomorrow, it will be important to set the right pace, as it is a marathon stage. We will have to take care of the car, because we will not have any assistance at Tidjikja bivouac. There are still quite a few difficult sections to get through before arriving in Dakar, but we will try to win another stage before then…"

Giniel was second, just behind Colin, only seven minutes from his team-mate: "It was a real special stage today, not like yesterday. We stopped twice, because we had radiator problems. Then we got lost twice. There were quite a few parallel paths, which made navigation more difficult. I am very happy for Colin, because this win is good for all the team."

Ari Vatanen completed the trio. As soon as he arrived in the bivouac, he came to congratulate Colin on his performance, adding: "I let you win today … now you only have to get another 49 wins to catch me up!!!" But Ari remained clear-headed: "It was a real rally-driver's stage today … at the start, we were driving calmly, keeping an eye on the car. Towards the end, we began to push, but we were stuck in Servia's dust for 60 km. We got lost twice, like many others. This win, and the three top places, are very important for morale. When times are hard, you need some sunshine, which we had today. Tomorrow, we will try to do it again. I am very happy that Colin has been able to prove himself. This victory is his first, and there will certainly be others. Rally drivers do quite well on the Dakar, as I have proved, and Juha Kankkunen as well. I asked Colin if, according to a Finnish proverb, he had done two Dakars this year, the first and the last. And, well, he quite simply answered: NO!!!"

Yoshio Ikemachi, who is currently 3rd in the Production category, should not be forgotten when talking of this excellent teamwork. As well as running his race, he is ensuring the role of 'rapid assistance' for the Pickup cars.

Tomorrow, the competitors will undertake the second Marathon stage, which will take them to Tidjikja. A stage of 552 km, announced as being the most beautiful sand stage of the Rally … the highpoint of the day will be the crossing of the gigantic dunes which line the Taskant cliff, 200 metres high. It is the only way to climb this cliff, in order to get to the finish line, along a fast, 130 km track.

12/01/04

Vantastic Nissan

- NISSAN'S BEST EVER LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SALES
- FIRST EVER LCV FINANCE OFFERS FOR 2004
- LEATHER UPHOLSTERY OPTION NOW AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP

Nissan has recorded its best ever sales of commercial vehicles in 2003 with 8843 units which represents a 51.6% increase over 2002.

The growth is attributed to the increase in the fleet size, which now includes the 'star' models of Kubistar, Primastar and Interstar. These join the established, but slightly modified, versions of Terrano 4x4 van, Pickup and Cabstar.

The Pickup is the shining star with major volume increases year on year since its introduction back in February 2002. Sales are now at an all time high of 4601units in 2003, which is 102% (+2323) more than the previous 12 months, making it the highest percentage increase versus any of its close competitors.

To boost sales even further in 2004 Nissan is now offering, for the first time, a range of financial offers on its light commercial vehicle range. These relate to not only the 'star' line up but also every LCV, which includes Pickup and Terrano 4x4 van.

Kubistars can now be purchased from as little as £35.00 per week by using a two-year finance package with 0% interest and a 50% deposit. Applying this to the rest of the commercial vehicle range changes the weekly rates to the following:

Primastar £45
Interstar £55
Cabstar £50
Pickup £45
Terrano 4x4 van £55

If a 30% deposit is preferable the same weekly payments can be achieved by means of another finance offer incorporating an APR of 3.9%, based over three years, which fits in nicely with the standard manufacturer's three year, 60,000 mile warranty.

Both packages have been designed to attract small and medium size business users looking for a cost-effective way of purchasing a new vehicle. If Contract Hire is the preferred method then similar competitive weekly rates can also be achieved with Nissan Finance available through the dealer network.

However, Nissan does not aim to stop there. By adding leather upholstery to its Navara Pickup option list, customers can now choose to have a more luxurious feel to their interior space. Available in shades of grey or charcoal the leather seats and door inserts can be factory fitted for £1000 plus VAT. Available to order now with first deliveries expected in mid-January.

With the largest ever choice, an increased option list and finance packages to suit all needs, Nissan is all set for a vantastic 2004.

Note

All offers are only applicable in the first quarter of 2004.

Range Explanation
Kubistar - compact van with 3m3 of load space
Primastar - medium sized van with a choice of two wheelbases and two roof heights
Interstar - large sized van available in three wheelbases and three roof heights
Cabstar - a light truck complete as either a dropside, box van, tipper or just a chassis cab
Terrano Van - a rugged 4x4 go anywhere van based on the 3dr Terrano
Pickup - comes as a 4x2 or a 4x4 plus a lifestyle version known as Navara

08/01/04

Happy New Year From Nissan

Nissan enjoyed a busy 2003 with new model introductions including the new Micra and 350Z and record sales of over 105,700 cars. To celebrate, the company is extending New Year cheer to its customers in the form of finance and insurance offers. Leading the way is the Micra with free rear parking sensors and metallic paint worth £635 on the SX, free insurance* and 0% finance on other models in the range. These offers will continue until the end of March.

Micra

To celebrate the new Micra's first birthday, customers can walk away with a number of presents from their Nissan dealer. Customers who choose the SX model will get metallic paint and rear parking sensors for free and if that's not generous enough, Nissan is throwing in a year's free insurance too. For customers who would prefer to use Nissan's personal contract plan, Preferences, the company will pay £1000 deposit contribution which means that with a customer deposit of just £499, monthly payments start from as little as £189 per month for 36 months at 9.9% APR.

For customers picking up a Micra S on Preferences, Nissan will pay a deposit contribution of £500 plus give a year's insurance for free. For those who still have a few pounds in their pocket after the festive period, the S is also available with 0% finance over 12 months. Finally, both the SE and SVE models are both available with 0% finance over 36 months.

Here's a recap:
- SX grade - free rear parking sensors and metallic paint worth £635 plus a years free insurance
- SX grade - £1000 deposit contribution with Preferences
- S grade - £500 deposit contribution with Preferences
- SE and SVE grade - 0% finance over 36 months

Almera

The Almera Pulse, Nissan's sub £10000 version of the family hatchback, is now even better value with a £1000 customer saving. All other models in the Almera range (excluding special versions) are being offered with 0% finance as follows:

- S grade - 0% finance over 12 months with 50% deposit
- SE grade - 0% finance over 24 months with 40% deposit
- SVE grade - 0% finance over 36 months with 30% deposit
- SXE grade - 0% finance over 36 months with 30% deposit

Almera Tino

All models in the Almera Tino range are offered with 0% finance as follows:

- S grade - 0% finance over 12 months with 50% deposit
- SE grade - 0% finance over 24 months with 40% deposit
- SVE grade - 0% finance over 36 months with 30% deposit

Primera

All models in the Primera range are offered with 0% finance as follows:

- S grade - 0% finance over 12 months with 50% deposit
- SE grade - 0% finance over 24 months with 40% deposit
- SVE grade - 0% finance over 36 months with 30% deposit

4x4

Nissan's generosity doesn't just extend to its car range. The most popular models in the 4x4 range are also included. All models in the award winning X-TRAIL range are offered with £1000 deposit contribution for Preferences and the Terrano range is available with £1000 deposit contribution for three-door models and £2500 for five-door models.

To recap:
- X-TRAIL - £1000 deposit contribution with Preferences on all models
- Terrano - £1000 deposit contribution with Preferences on all three-door models
- Terrano - £2500 deposit contribution with Preferences on all five-door models

Nissan feels it has been quite generous enough with these offers so before you ask, there's no free insurance or deposit contribution on the 350Z - sorry.

Note:
*Free insurance is available for customers aged between 21-80 years.
All offers are new for this quarter except free insurance on Micra S, £1000 customer saving on Almera Pulse and £1000 deposit contribution on X-TRAIL.

06/01/04

Innovative Nissan Actic Concept Creates A 'Digital Canvas' - Adaptive IT System Allows Control Of Changing Environments

Innovation springs from many places, according to the designers of the Nissan Actic concept vehicle, which makes its world debut at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit - including items as simple as the small, handheld technology devices ranging from key fobs and PDAs to MP3 players and GPS systems.

The Nissan Actic is a 'content rich' design exercise created by Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA) in La Jolla, California. The sleek, silver, bullet-shaped Actic, with its flowing body and matching trailer, makes a visionary statement about how vehicle owners will approach technology in the future. In place of traditional content-heavy vehicle control systems that become outdated immediately, Actic's handheld 'key fob'-based Information Technology (IT) system allows the user to 'grow' the interface with infinite flexibility and updateability.

"Actic's core idea was inspired and influenced by the pace and content of modern life - and a generation of people who find time to pursue multiple passions with zeal, commitment and style," said Tom Semple, president, NDA. "It's designed to reflect the interests and aspirations of its users, adapting to their personalities rather than imposing the vehicle's on them."

Actic provides nearly unlimited opportunities for its users to explore and challenge the relationship between exterior and interior environments and to introduce elements of personalisation by projecting video displays on a series of six roof-mounted flat LCD screens.

Other Actic innovations include dual sliding side doors, a 'cross trainer'-style wheel and tyre design with tread-wrapped 20-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, and a versatile, matching trailer with inflatable walls that converts to a comfortable sleeping space for three.

A Design for Lives In Transition

"Like its intended audience, Actic defies categorisation. Actic is not a crossover, a hybrid or a 'sport utility anything,'" said Semple. "It is a protective capsule enclosing a modern, technically advanced interior with a warm, hand-crafted personality."

Conceived essentially as a new form of entry-level vehicle, the Actic Concept acknowledges a growing group of users who find themselves transitioning from single life to married with small children. While these buyers' vehicle needs might now include making room for items such as child seats and baby strollers, they still enjoy socialising with friends, career-related activities and outdoor adventures.

Actic's physical presence, while bold in shape, evokes a sense of spareness and simplicity - as well as extreme efficiency. Its direct profile and subtly modulated surfacing project an aura of progressive agility, reflecting a response to the romance and reality of contemporary urban life.

Actic's athletic proportions are characterised by a long wheelbase and short overhangs, along with an extremely wide body and unusually upright greenhouse. The smooth, flowing body form is interrupted only by the grille perforations, allowing for an unbroken expanse of its gorgeous, silver, sky-reflecting surface.

With no B-pillar to interfere, Actic's wide doors provide easy access for friends or activities. The front doors move forward and the rear doors move backwards, like an elevator's, creating open access for passengers and cargo. The Actic's 'smart' door handles sense a pass of the hand and present themselves for instant operation.

A rear hatch provides additional access to the wide inner space, while the body itself 'floats' on a shock absorber-mounted, protective undersurface that cradles and helps protect the vehicle and its occupants.

A Digital Canvas For Changing Lives

The Actic interior design is based on the idea that its ultimate use and character will come from the needs and personality of its owner. "Actic does not fully come to life until the intelligent key fob is activated," said Semple. "The fob is really a small, highly portable transmitting hard drive onto which the owner has loaded a host of data, preferences, settings and configurations."

Visual information is displayed throughout the interior, whether on the driver-oriented instrumentation panels or on the more ambient overhead flat panel displays. All settings reside within the 100-gigabyte fob - not just standard audio and HVAC preferences but also e-mail and navi settings, and the content that governs and affects mood and ambience.

The sky theatre glass panelled roof design includes the overhead display screens that allow endless opportunities for Actic users to play with the relationship between exterior and interior environments with custom video displays.

"Actic lets users introduce elements of personalisation that were previously generic - for example changing night to day or a stormy outside setting to a sun-lit sky filtering through leaves," said Semple. "Nissan continues to look at the roof of vehicles as an area for innovation and creativity, like the current Maxima and Quest Skyview glass panel roof."

Seating flexibility is also critical to the Actic target users' lifestyles. The seating system and design theme take an organic, highly functional approach. Three-across modular, stretch fabric-covered seating surrounds the driver with maximum flexibility. The folding seats can be arranged into multiple configurations, with all seats except the driver's able to be staggered to accommodate passengers and cargo of varying sizes. The interior 'floats' away from the body side and headliner panels, revealing a visible gap, while the armrests float away from the aluminium door panels. LED track lighting is utilised throughout the interior.

Since Actic is a Nissan, it features a driver-oriented cockpit with analogue gauges and paddle shifters. With the middle seats folded down, the seatbacks meet to form a centre tunnel complete with a 'super centre' console.

The bright orange interior provides a striking contrast against the Liquid Silver exterior.
Actic is a response to a new customer mindset, a new way of living in the modern world dense with content. Its highly flexible, modular interior is designed to change and for change.

"We have entered an age of very personal transportation. Actic's users, by bringing their own content to the vehicle, make it their own," said Semple.

Innovative Wheels and Tyres

Like the rest of the vehicle, the 'cross-trainer' wheels and tyres are an organic design - created literally to represent 'running shoes for cars'. Developed in conjunction with Michelin, the tyre tread is physically laminated over the 19 inch aluminium-alloy rims, making the tyres part of the wheel. "Visually, the integrated tyre and wheel treatment makes the rims look larger than their 19 inch size," said Semple.

The tread itself is a waffle-pattern design resembling Michelin's most aggressive motorcycle tyres. The tyres also feature run-flat construction. Matching wheels and tyres are also utilised on the Actic trailer.

A Versatile, Matching Trailer

The Actic Concept also includes a matching trailer, which is designed to symbolise the 'on-the-road - off-the-grid' adventure seeking nature of Actic's intended users. "The trailer allows you to leave at a moment's notice or store the accessories of your life with minimal intrusion," said Semple.

The trailer, developed as part of an ongoing relationship between NDA and Airstream, includes an inflatable wall system, turning it into a comfortable space for sleeping three people.

A unique built-in trailer coupling arm is integrated into the aesthetic of the Actic design theme, allowing car and trailer to become one unit.

Personalisation Personified

"Actic is designed to move quickly through life with agility, fluidity and grace. Dense with content, multi-layered, multi-functional and accommodating, it provides the framework for the art that is your life," said Semple. "Free from the constraints of any existing vehicle categories, Actic responds and conforms to the needs, preference and aspirations of the user."

30/12/03

Go Get 'Em Colin!

The Dakar Rally starts on New Year's Day and will last for 18 days covering seven countries and almost 7000 miles. And Nissan has arguably the highest profile driver, World Rally Master and Brit, Colin McRae who'll be competing in the Dakar for the first time.

This will be Nissan's second appearance in the rally following its first time in 2003. For the 2004 entry, no fewer than 65 people will make up the Nissan Rally Raid Team which is based in Oxfordshire. This figure includes not just McRae but engineers, mechanics, logistics personnel, drivers of the assistance trucks, crews, press and PR staff and management.

Colin McRae is without doubt a legendary character in the world of rallying. He was World Rally Champion in 1995 and has finished second in the World Championship on three occasions. After an exceptional career, he has reached a turning point, and is venturing into rally-raids. McRae is supported by Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner who has done the Dakar before - luckily for Colin. He'll have driven before on everything from mud to ice but never before in the same event. During the Dakar, there'll be snow and sub-zero temperatures in Morocco's Atlas Mountains then 43 degree heat in the southern Sahara. And then there's sand. A lot of sand.

McRae isn't the only rally master that Nissan has hired for the Dakar. Four-times winner of the legendary Dakar event, Ari Vatanen will be behind the wheel of a Nissan Pickup for the second year in a row. Extremely motivated, as always, Ari cannot wait to get back to Africa, a continent of which he is incredibly fond. Having claimed four of the manufacturer's five stage wins in this year's Dakar, he would like to reach the record number of 50 stage wins during the 2004 event (he currently has 49 wins to his credit...). His compatriot Juha Repo will be in charge of the navigation. Juha recently took part in the UAE Desert Challenge in Dubaï, alongside Ari. It was his first time in the sand and the dunes, and quite visibly, he enjoyed the experience.

Along with its new team, Nissan has a new vehicle. The 2004 Pickup is based on the 2003 prototype, which reached Sharm-el-Sheikh, the end point of its first Dakar, on 19 January earlier this year, in fifth place in the final overall classification. This new generation of the Pickup is, like its predecessor, driven by the competition version of the production VQ 3.5 litre, 6 cylinder engine producing more than 260PS. The most significant changes are to the bodywork. The 2004 model has been designed with improved aerodynamics, in order to achieve a higher top speed and better visibility.

Moreover, the significant reduction in the front overhang, the improvement in the protection beneath the bodywork and a more generous clearance should allow the crew to better face the rocky routes and the dunes. The wheelbase has been shortened by 150 mm, the bodywork had been widened and the internal proportions have been enlarged for the comfort of the crew.

The six-speed sequential gearbox and the front and rear differentials remain the same, despite a slight improvement brought to the torque.

Four teams will be taking up the challenge of the Dakar in Nissan Pickups. To manage them, Gilles Martineau has recently joined the Nissan Rally Raid Team. With solid experience in motorsport, he will take on the role of Team Manager. After 12 years with Ford, where he was the Director of Motorsport Activities, Gilles Martineau is knowledgeable in both circuit competition and Rallying. He has no fewer than 10 seasons of Formula Ford to his credit, having taken control of all aspects of the category, both organisational and sporting. Manager and coordinator of the Rally Raid activities, he has extensive knowledge of both the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the Dakar.

For all the action, see www.nissan-dakar.com

18/12/03

New Primeras Go On Call With Attendo

Nissan has secured a two-year solus deal to supply 55 new Primeras to Rotherham-based Attendo Systems, part of Attendo Senior Care AB of Sweden, Europe's leading provider of communication systems and related services for older and disabled people.

The all-Nissan fleet will comprise a mix of 1.8 SVE five-door Primeras for use by Attendo's sales and management staff, and 1.8 S Primera Estates. The Estates will transport the company's nationwide team of service engineers who provide aftersales service for Attendo's own products and other warden call, door entry, dispersed alarms and associated low voltage systems. All vehicles will be supplied with silver paintwork.

Dave Richards, Attendo Systems said: "We have established a successful network of private/public sector partnerships, enabling us to work alongside Housing, Health and Social Care professionals to allow people, living independently or in an assisted living setting, to maintain control of their environment. Our service engineers are maintaining vital equipment, so it's crucial that we can rely on the vehicles they use.

"We currently have a mix of manufacturers' vehicles on our fleet, and wanted to opt for one manufacturer for a smart, uniform image. We had used the earlier model Primera, and found it to be particularly reliable, and felt that the new Primera offered us exactly the combination of specification, image, performance and value-for-money that we require, while the Primera Estate is roomy enough to easily accommodate the tools and parts our engineers need to carry. Another important factor in our decision is the fact that the new Primera is built in the UK.

"We also wanted to guarantee price stability with our fleet. Nissan has offered us a transportable discount, so even if we change the company we choose to run our vehicles, we still benefit from the agreed fleet discount."

18/12/03

A Nissan Interstar But Not As You Know It

Nissan has responded to operator calls for better specification on their larger vans by increasing the amount of features launched on its revised Interstar range.

Nissan has granted all their wishes by upgrading all models with a host of new practical standard features and introducing a range of exciting new options, which allow operators to tailor each Interstar to their own requirements.

The current entry-level Interstar 1.9dCi E already boasts remote central locking, an immobiliser, power steering and a radio cassette as standard, but the new E also gets an alarm and driver airbag. This single model is priced at £14,100 (basic).

On top of the E specification, all SE models - which now account for eight out of the nine-strong Interstar range - have been upgraded to include a new ABS system with brake assist, a CD player and electric windows and heated mirrors. One thing that hasn't changed on the SE grade is the rear parking sensors, which will also be standard on the revised model. Both the trim names and the equipment featured will be familiar to Nissan car drivers.

Taking this 'higher specification' strategy a step further, Nissan has introduced a whole host of new options for operators to choose from to add to the normal options such as metallic paint.

These are:

- Power take off £120
- Right hand sliding door £300
- Passenger airbag £220
- Climate Pack £750
- Includes air conditioning and heat reflective windshield
- Technology Pack £1600
- Includes a navigation system, pre-telephone wiring and cruise control
- Glazed Pack £200

Includes a glazed bulkhead, rear defogger and 180 degree opening glazed back doors
As a direct result of these upgrades, Interstar vans will cost slightly more, but the increase in standard specification more than makes up for this pricing change.

The launch of the revised Interstar has been chosen to rationalise the range based on what operators want to buy. Therefore, the 2.2dCi has been replaced with a new 100bhp 2.5-litre diesel and 136bhp 3.0-litre diesel will be available to order from 2004 (the 3.0 will be available from spring 2004).

The new 100bhp 2.5-litre diesel starts at £15,420 and bridges the gap between the 80bhp 1.9dCi and the 115bhp 2.5dCi engines.

The new 136bhp 3.0-litre common rail engine, which has proven so successful across the Nissan range, is being fitted to the Interstar for the first time. Costing £22,320 and £22,920 respectively for the mid and high roof 3500kg tonne versions, a six-speed gearbox is standard with the new engine.

Service intervals on some engines in the new Interstar range have been extended. The 1.9dCi needs to visit the Nissan dealer every 18,000 miles or two years and the 2.5dCi and 3.0dCi models can stay on the road a little longer, needing a service at 24,000 miles.

11/12/03

Nissan Has A New Best Friend

They say that dogs are a man's best friend but the new Nissan Micra has proven to be the chosen companion for Best Friends Group, one of the largest independent veterinary groups in Europe.

Best Friends Group has recently taken delivery of 29 Micra 1.2S, ordered through Smith's in Peterborough to replace the fleet of old shape Micras. All fully sign written, the Micras will be used by practice staff across 30 sites in the UK.

Having used Nissan as a solus provider of company vehicles for over four years, Andrew Bennett, Director Principal, Best Friends Group was confident in choosing the new Micra. He said: "Nissan is well placed to meet all of our vehicle needs and we currently have the Cabstar, Almera and X-TRAIL on our fleet in addition to the Micra. We have been impressed with the Micra's reliability and practicality and did not hesitate in renewing our fleet of 29 vehicles when the new Micra came out."

David Murfitt, Fleet Sales Director, Nissan Motors (GB) said: "Our relationship with Best Friends Group is an excellent way of demonstrating how Nissan is able to fulfil the needs of a fleet across a wide range of requirements including commercial vehicles, executive travel and small practical vehicles. Our continued commitment to the fleet side of our business is proving to be successful for us as a business and beneficial to our customers."

09/12/03

X-Trail Takes On A New Track

Sales of Nissan's X-TRAIL are climbing faster than any other compact 4x4 and in a segment that's growing quicker than any other, too. So to keep up the pace, Nissan has revised the X-TRAIL adding the most powerful diesel engine in its class, a new interior and even higher equipment levels. And it's current X-TRAIL drivers that were the driver behind most of the changes.

All the new X-TRAILs are on sale now. Prices start from £16,995 for the new SE, a slight increase over the outgoing range that is more than compensated for by additional equipment of which the new T-Spec range topper, in particular, has loads. More, in fact, than any other compact 4x4, says Nissan.

The biggest improvement is to the diesel, which leaps up to the top of its class with a power output of 136PS. That's an increase of over 19% on what was there before. Torque or pulling power goes up by 16.3% yet fuel consumption stays at 39.2 mpg and CO2 emissions at 190 g/km. The new X-TRAIL dCi is naturally rather faster than the outgoing diesel with 2.2 seconds slashed off the 0-62 mph acceleration time bringing it down to 11.5 seconds. And there's another 10 mph added to the top speed. Nissan has also taken the opportunity to improve the gearchange to make it cleaner shifting. Plus existing X-TRAIL-ers will notice a reduction in engine noise. There are changes, too, for those who prefer their car fuelled by petrol with availability of the 2.5-litre 165PS engine extended to Sport trim. In fact it's now the only petrol engine available on the Sport, being rather sportier than the 2.0-litre it replaces.

It's inside the X-TRAIL that Nissan has made the most changes, many in response to customer feedback. There's a completely new dashboard with more ergonomically designed controls. Switches for the climate control are now grouped into three circular knobs shared with the 350Z and positioned higher on the centre console. Operation of the X-TRAIL's innovative and electronic ALL-MODE 4x4 system is now by knob rather than button - apparently customers find turning a knob more satisfying… They also want more fresh air to the face so there's a new air vent mounted above the steering column.

And customers asked for longer front seat cushions so they've got those, too. Other requests that Nissan has fulfilled are for better quality materials, more storage space, more interior illumination and a higher opening tailgate. A demand for leopard print seat covers was ignored though.

In some instances, Nissan went even further to keep customers happy. Take the luggage net which they wanted fitted to their X-TRAIL. Well, it is now. And rather than just coming up with a net that keeps loose bags of shopping from going AWOL around the luggage area, Nissan created a net that can be clipped any way around the customer wants. It even turns itself into a dog guard. Without anybody asking, Nissan has changed the air-conditioned can holders so that they are now vertically mounted by the windscreen pillars and added a chillable centre console box. It's easily big enough for a packed lunch if not the dog.

One area where existing X-TRAIL-ers were quiet was exterior design. They like it and they like its good residual values. So why change things. All Nissan has done is make the car a little easier to park with a new front bumper design that shaves 55 mm off the overall length. This has also led to a new mesh grille and, as is the current trend, white side indicators and smoked effect rear lamps. The 16" alloy wheel design has also changed. But not so that you'd notice. It's the same size as before and just as easy to clean. More obvious to existing X-TRAIL-ers are the three new colours that they can now choose from. But sorry Ms Robinson of Harrow, there's still no pink.

The base model in the original X-TRAIL range, badged the S, has gone. Instead the range starts with a new SE derivative that gains side airbags as well as a CD player, an alarm, the cargo net, driver's seat lumbar adjustment, and electronic climate control instead of a sunroof. It also gets new seat upholstery as well as all the other interior improvements detailed above. There are two engines offered, a 2.0-litre 140PS petrol carried over from the outgoing S priced at £16,995 and the new six-speed dCi for £18,395. Both versions come with Nissan's innovative ALL-MODE 4x4 system which gives a choice of two-wheel drive, automatically selecting four-wheel drive and a 'LOCK' facility that fixes the torque going to front and rear axles. And all at the twist of a knob now rather than a push of a button.

But the new range doesn't stop there. Nissan has added a T-Spec version fitted with every toy in its 4x4 cupboard. There's Nissan's ESP+ system, which combines electronic stability programme and traction control, a load bearing roof system with integrated Safari Lamps, and a Europe-wide DVD with BirdView satellite navigation system. All this for £1700 more than the equivalent SVE with which the T-Spec shares its electrically adjustable and heated front seats with leather upholstery.

The most popular version of the X-TRAIL has always been the Sport. And there's no reason why it shouldn't continue to be so especially now that it gets a new interior and the 2.5-litre 165PS engine with the option of automatic transmission as well as the new dCi 136PS diesel unit. The 2004 Sport has got more equipment, too, such as leather-rimmed steering wheel with audio controls, front fog lamps, active head restraints, fully colour coded exterior, that cargo net and a centre floor mounted box with lid. And that's in addition to the enormous electric glass sunroof, 6CD autochanger, 16" alloys and roof spoiler it's always had. Prices go from £18,995 for the 2.5 (auto adds £1000) to £19,795 for the dCi.

The SVE model now has black leather instead of the previous tan which out-doorsy customers thought not too clever. The front seats gain electric adjustment, eight-way for the driver and four-way for the passenger, in addition to their two level bum warmers. And the SVE also gets the multi-function cargo net and active front-seat head restraints like all other 2004 X-TRAILs. As with the Sport, 2.5 manual (£20,895) or auto (£21,895) and dCi versions (£21,695) are available - each are £1900 more than the Sport to which the SVE also adds electrically folding door mirrors. Very handy if you have on-street parking.

Obviously the X-TRAIL won't have lost its four star NCAP safety rating. If anything, the car's score should improve as all models gain active front seat head restraints and on the entry model, side airbags. Naturally anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist are standard across the range. And here is the range, all 11 models of it:

2004 X-TRAIL range

model transmission on the road price
2.0 SE 5-spd £16,995
2.5 Sport 5-spd £18,995
2.5 Sport 4-spd auto £19,995
2.5 SVE 5-spd £20,895
2.5 SVE 4-spd auto £21,895
2.5 T-Spec 5-spd £22,595
2.5 T-Spec 4-spd auto £23,595
2.2 dCi 136 SE 6-spd £18,395
2.2 dCi 136 Sport 6-spd £19,795
2.2 dCi 136 SVE 6-spd £21,695
2.2 dCi 136 T-Spec 6-spd £23,395

04/12/03

Nissan Micra C+C To Go On Sale In 2005

Designed, Developed and Manufactured in UK with support of the UK Government
The coupe + cabriolet version of the Nissan Micra is now confirmed for production and will go on sale in Europe in 2005.

Nissan is investing £95 million (€140 million) for the new car, covering design at London-based Nissan Design Europe (NDE), development at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Bedfordshire, and production at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (NMUK) in Sunderland. The Department of Trade and Industry has also awarded NMUK a Regional Selective Assistance grant totalling £3.26 million (€4.8 million).

Mario Canavesi, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Nissan Europe said: 'This new version of the Micra will be Nissan's first European-built coupe-cabriolet, and will be a great addition to the product lineup. It will retain the best elements of the existing Micra - attractive design, driving enjoyment and utility. It will also offer the pleasure of open-top motoring combined with the security and practicality of an all-weather hard-top folding roof.'

Production will begin in autumn 2005, with initial production forecasts set at 20,000 units per year. A team of 250 people will be dedicated to its production at the Sunderland plant, including a number from the existing 4500 workforce.

The new coupe + cabriolet is being developed by NTCE in Bedfordshire, in close collaboration with Karmann, the German coachbuilder renowned for its expertise in roof systems and niche vehicles.

As far as possible, the new car will be built on the same line as the Micra at the Sunderland plant. Karmann will install an on-site sub-assembly facility for the production of the roof system and boot lid. These will be supplied to NMUK as complete modules, which will then be fitted off-line by NMUK employees working in a separate zone located within Final Assembly.

Colin Dodge, Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, and Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan Europe said: 'On behalf of Nissan, I would like to extend my thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry whose continued support for the company and the northeast region has made this project possible. It is now up to our designers, engineers, and production staff in collaboration with our suppliers to successfully bring the product to the market.'

The new car will be a redesigned version of the Micra C+C concept first shown at the Paris Motorshow in 2002. Like the show car, it will have a retractable hard top and a 2+2 seating arrangement.

Further details on the prices and specifications of the car will be released closer to the car's launch.

03/12/03

Hanz Free

All Nissan 350Zs are pre-wired from the factory with one of the most advanced telephone operating systems available. And that's not the only model in the range to have a phone kit fitted as standard. New Almeras, Almera Tinos, X-TRAILs and Primeras now come pre-wired, too. The owner simply has to purchase a 'cradle' (appropriate for Christmas) that fits their phone, plug it into the connector and full hands free capability is introduced. With the 350Z this includes voice activation.

The 350Z has controls located on the steering wheel allowing the driver to activate a voice command centre. By simply pushing one of the buttons and saying either a pre-recorded voice tag (person's name etc.) or stating the actual phone number required, the vehicle will then automatically dial the number via the phone. The radio will be muted and the call is transmitted through the car's audio system.

With legislation now in force making it illegal to hold a mobile phone whilst driving, Nissan has also introduced a pre-wired phone kit on Primera, Almera, Tino and X-TRAIL. The system on these models uses the highly praised N-FORM system, which has a large monitor, placed high up in the centre console. The number being called, or the number calling you, is displayed on the screen where it can be either accepted or cancelled by pressing one button. If it is safe to do so, the N-FORM system can also be used to scroll through the phone's address book, activate calls and read incoming SMS text messages*.

The pre-wired kit, which is standard (not an option), comprises an aerial, microphone and a control unit which are all discreetly hidden away, preventing the need for any loose wires, holes being drilled or sticky pads being stuck to the interior trim.

Phone cradles are available for the majority of mobiles currently on the market and are available to order from any Nissan Dealer. Prices start from £139 and are covered by the usual full manufacturer's warranty running alongside the vehicle's
3 years / 60,000 miles cover.

And don't worry if you get a new mobile for Christmas. Just buy a new cradle to replace the old one and your Nissan dealer will swap them over in minutes. And there is no need to rip up your fine looking Nissan interior either.

* The amount of functions that are operational depends on the phone type / make being used.

21/11/03

Lionel Blair, Almera Flare

Lionel Blair is driving a Nissan Almera with his name on it for the duration of the new production of the Rocky Horror show. Lionel's Almera is the new Flare special edition. And in case you don't get the connection, Lionel Blair is Cockney rhyming slang for flares.

This latest tour celebrates the Rocky Horror show's 30th birthday with Lionel Blair playing the part of narrator. The chocolate bar (car) is being used by Lionel to travel to various theatres around the country, including Bradford, Glasgow, Stoke-on-Trent and Milton Keynes. Once the tour has finished he'll continue to use the Lionel Blair (Flare) while promoting his new album "Blair Sings Astaire", released last month.

What puts the Lionel Blair into this Almera? Equipment, and lots of it: electronic air conditioning, a CD player, anti-lock brakes, electric Tommy Trinders ('winders'), active front headrests, side airbags, steering wheel mounted audio controls, 16" alloy Ian Beales (wheels), front fog lamps, a leather steering wheel, and a wide-bottomed body styling kit are all standard. And for less Russell Crowe (dough) than you might imagine. Prices start at £11,250.

There are six versions in production, with three or five Roger Moores (doors) and with three choices of Haddock and Bloater (motor). These include a 1.5, a 1.8 and Lionel's favourite the 112PS 2.2 dCi which, due to an average fuel consumption of 47.9 mpg, saves on the Abergavennys (pennies).

18/11/03

McRae Signs For Nissan

(Paris - 18 November 2003) The Nissan Rally Raid Team today unveiled its full team lineup for the Dakar 2004. The crews competing in the superproduction category are as follows:

Colin McRae (GB), former British and World Rally Champion, who is entering the Dakar for the first time. He will be joined by Swedish co-driver Tina Thorner, who is competing in the Dakar for the 4th time.

Ari Vatanen (FIN), four times winner of the Dakar, former World Rally Champion and Winner of the World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. He will be accompanied by co-driver and compatriot Juha Repo who competes in the Dakar for the first time.

Giniel de Villiers (RSA), winner of this year's Rally of Morocco and placed fifth overall in last year's Dakar. He will be accompanied by fellow South African Francois Jordaan, who has been navigating for Giniel for 3 years.

Yves Loubet (FRA), winner of the Rally of the Pharaohs and five times French Rally Champion. He will be driving alongside the experienced and professional Pascal Maimon, who came in 5th in last year's Dakar alongside de Villiers.

The four crews in the superproduction category will be driving the new 2004 version of the Nissan Pickup. The new vehicle has been significantly redesigned for improved aerodynamics, ergonomics and dynamic performance.

The Nissan Rally Raid Team will be managed by newly appointed team manager Gilles Martineau. Gilles has solid experience of motorsport team management, having spent 12 years with Ford, where has was the Director of Motorsport Activities.

The Dakar Rally is one of Nissan's global motorsports priorities. In 2002, the company committed to a 4-year rally raid programme, allowing it to demonstrate its 4x4 expertise and promote its brand image worldwide.

13/11/03

Nissan Micra Tops Supermini Security Test

The new Nissan Micra has made an impressive debut in the What Car? Security Supertest 2003, jumping straight to the top of the supermini class.

The Micra passed both the entry and the driveaway tests with flying colours and scored full marks for its locking system, which prevented the What Car? security testers from gaining access to the car within the two-minute timeframe, and for its immobiliser which stopped the vehicle from being driven away within a five-minute timeframe.

What Car? stated: "The locks proved more than up to the job of keeping our testers at bay, aided by the standard-fit deadlocks. The immobiliser also outwitted attempts to overcome it. In fact, our security team could find very few chinks in the Micra's armour.
"If the results in this category prove anything, it's that you don't have to spend a fortune for decent security. The best city cars and superminis rival models costing at least three times as much", added What Car?

Alongside the security features that helped the Micra secure joint first place in the supermini class of the security test, the Micra also has some added technology to complement the impressive line-up. From SE grade upwards, all models feature an Intelligent Key which comes with a small wireless transmitter in the shape of a key fob. This can be kept permanently in a pocket, briefcase or handbag.

When it is within 80 cm of the car, its presence is detected and the door or tailgate can be opened simply by pushing a button on the handle. The transmitter can be programmed in one of two modes: convenience or security. When in convenience mode, the proximity of the Intelligent Key allows any door to be opened by pushing the button on the handle, rather like a conventional central locking system. In security mode, however, only the driver's door can be opened to prevent unauthorised entry to the car via one of the other doors. If the driver is satisfied that there is no threat of hijack, pressing the button twice unlocks all the doors.

22/10/03

Nissan Jikoo Unveiled At Tokyo Motor Show

The design transcends time and space to blend Edo's traditional arts and crafts with advanced styling

Jikoo is a small, prestigious open-top two-seater that expresses the spirit of challenge and sporty tradition that have distinguished Nissan since its establishment. The design motif was inspired by the Datsun Roadster that was rolled out in 1935 soon after Nissan was founded.

In the course of creating Jikoo, Nissan participated in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's project to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Edo Shogunate and focused attention on the tangible and intangible assets represented by traditional industrial arts handed down over the years to the present. Jikoo design boldly draws upon the techniques and materials passed on continuously from the traditional artisans of Edo (Tokyo's former name).

1. Nissan's 70-year-old spirit of challenge today and toward the future

The year 2003 coincides with Nissan's 70th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of the Edo Shogunate. Inspired by Nissan's heritage, Jikoo concept car has been created around the idea of combining advanced technologies and traditional industrial arts from two different historical and temporal worlds. While inheriting the compact size yet dignified character of the original Datsun Roadster, Jikoo gives expression to Nissan's sporty heritage and embodies Japan's traditional aesthetics and artisanship.

2. Rendering of Edo's traditional arts in advanced exterior and interior styling

(1) Challenge of rediscovery and creation in an exterior form symbolic of history and time

Jikoo has been executed in a minimal body size, with a dash of modern practicality added to the original form of the Datsun Roadster that debuted in 1935. Jikoo inherits the high and long nose, short deck, two-seater layout and open-top silhouette that distinguished the original model.

Jikoo also continues the Datsun Roadster's jump seat, which was a unique feature of roadsters in those days. On Jikoo it is called the "Karakuri Seat" after the concept of an ingenious mechanism that was developed as an Edo Period technology. In addition, the space afforded by the long nose is utilised for the "Karakuri Box," a two-level storage compartment that can be opened separately from either side of the car. On the inside, the upper and lower levels of the storage compartment are finished in ebony and an Edo fine pattern, respectively.

The design of the headlamps incorporates the expression of light transmitted through Japanese paper, as seen in the illumination of a paper-covered lamp stand or a paper-covered sliding door. The latest materials and machining method have been applied to the rear combination lamps and the front grille finisher to express the delicate yet distinct impression of Edo cut glass.

A metalworking technique of traditional silversmiths called "hammered metal" has been utilised in making the fenders to create the warm look of silver, which expresses harmony with the painted surface and the dynamic balance of the form.

(2) A cockpit loaded with advanced technologies in a stylish, urbane interior hinting at a new age

Inspired by the dashboard in the original Datsun Roadster, the instrument panel is rendered in a simple fan-shaped surface construction that incorporates cylindrical instruments.

Composed of three layers arranged longitudinally, the monitor is capable of displaying lots of information efficiently in a three-dimensional, easy-to-understand format. The monitor also incorporates new methods of expression, including the use of laser pointers for the meter needles. In addition to showing information related to driving, this multi-layer display also has an entertainment navigation function. Besides showing maps of Tokyo from the Edo Period to the present, the display also presents information about historical events, culture and traditions to provide a driving experience resembling a type of virtual time machine.

The operating controls are concentrated in the switch panel of the centre cluster positioned in the pivot of the fan-shaped instrument panel. The display adopts modern interpretations of the pictographs seen in the family crests, store names and signboards of stores in the Edo Period.

An Edo technique of decorating with tortoiseshell has also been used to apply water buffalo horn to the steering wheel, resulting in a tactile sensation that feels pleasantly familiar to the hands.

The door trim finisher incorporating a thoughtful ground light is designed after the fine paper strings traditionally used for tying gifts. The trim expresses dynamic lines suggestive of flowing water and leads to the kicking plate decorated with a blue sea wave pattern. This is another example of the challenge to create a new design by making effective use of traditional methods of expression.

The floor is made of precious wood that is combined with a new material to give it slip-resistance practicality, in addition to its novel-looking appearance. In many other places as well, Jikoo interweaves traditional and new materials in an attempt to find new design discoveries. The lacquered door trim, supple lacquered leather seats and the black and vermilion tones of the interior trim adopt the chic and tasteful methods of expression seen in Kabuki costumes, called as "DA-TE" or "I-KI."

3. "Edo Navi" proposes a novel time-machine-like driving experience

The challenge of continuing traditional arts and of being creative did not stop with the styling and hardware. The "Edo Navi" navigation system, linking the Edo and modern periods, provides a virtual time travel experience, allowing occupants to go back and forth as they wish between the past and the present while travelling in Jikoo.

The driver-side monitor supports the "Tokyo Navi" navigation system that displays maps of present-day Tokyo, while the passenger-side monitor incorporates the "Edo Navi" system that shows maps of the same areas during the Edo Period. Both the old and new maps change as the car moves along, enabling occupants to experience a sensation as if they were travelling through Tokyo in ancient times, that is, through old Edo. When the car passes by a place of historical interest, the story and events associated with it are presented in screen images and a voice narration, giving occupants a true feeling of continuity between the past and the present.

JIKOO
Overall length (mm) 3,730
Overall width (mm) 1,615
Overall height (mm) 1,230
Seating capacity 2
Wheelbase (mm) 2,400
Tyres, front/rear 195/50R20

15/10/03

Highlights Of Nissan's Exhibits At The Tokyo Motor Show 2003

Tokyo - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., will present at the upcoming 2003 Tokyo Motor Show seven show cars that incorporate ideas for new models to come. The "Fuga" proposes a future direction in luxury cars, and the "Serenity" is Nissan's concept for a next-generation multipurpose saloon.

Through other exhibits, the company showcases features that enhance driving pleasure and cabin comfort. Nissan's latest Information Technology (IT) and telematics ideas are incorporated into several of the concept cars on display.
Products of Nissan's advanced environmental research are displayed through technology exhibits of its unique Compact Lithium-ion Battery and Super Motor.

Advanced safety technologies and powertrain technologies also exhibit the company's commitment to enrich people's lives.

At the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan's exhibit will be decorated with graphics that recognise the 70th anniversary of the company's founding. Nissan was established in 1933 as Japan's first integrated automobile mass-production manufacturer.
Main Features of Concept Cars

FUGA
Proposing a new direction in luxury cars that are both sporty and roomy
Fuga's styling achieves two elements of a sporty exterior and roomy interior without tolerating any compromises.

The FR-L Platform (FM Package), which is also used on the new Skyline, delivers superb driving performance.

Interior spaciousness surpasses all other sedans in this class. Fuga's tall overall height that provides ample headroom, and legroom is expanded for rear-seat occupants.
The interior's overall tone is unified in Japanese imagery and a modern design.
Human-machine interfaces (HMI) that are simpler and easier to understand and operate are located in the middle of the centre console. Control switches mounted on the steering wheel reduce the driver's workload substantially while providing multifunctionality.

SERENITY
A fusion of sport sedan and MPV - Nissan's proposal for a next-generation multipurpose saloon

With a "Japanese DNA" design theme, Serenity projects a refined tranquility characteristic of Japanese culture. For example, side windows have a distinctive shape reminiscent of a folding fan and the front mask suggests Kabuki facial make-up. The interior is inspired by Japanese elements such as ink paintings, cherry blossoms and wave-like patterns.

Ergonomically designed, stress-free seats provide comfortable interior roominess. Based on the concept of "neutral posture," the seats recline to disperse a seated occupant's body pressure so as to avoid putting any strain on the lower back.
Human-machine interfaces (HMI) and cutting-edge Information Technologies include the magical 4 HMI concept that facilitates stress-free, centralised control and the "Horizontal Meter Unit" for optimal and timely presentation of information to the driver.

REDIGO
A new-sensation open-roof car for active young people to enjoy the thrill of open-air cruising

The "centre slot-in roof," with glass roof panels that slide under motor power, creates a feeling of openness.

The uniquely shaped "twin cluster" displays driving information and entertainment information. The "e-Memo," a rewritable memory chip with a display function, offers Information Technology entertainment.

A sound system including speakers with good directionality enables all four occupants to enjoy high-quality music.

Redigo is equipped with Nissan's unique compact e-4WD system designed for maximum ease of use in everyday driving.

C-NOTE
Nissan's proposal for a new "compact car with superior quality" packs an array of comfort features into its compact body

Ample headroom, sufficient legroom and roomy seats provide class-leading interior comfort.

The comfortable interior, finished in a bright beige colour, complements the attention paid to the execution of the fine details in the dashboard and seats.
The dynamic treatment of the front and rear design contributes to the agile manoeuvrability and enhanced ease of use in everyday driving.

EFFIS
A new FCV commuter car concept that suits future urban life

The multiconfigurable arrangement of the instrument panel and seats secures comfortable seating space for three occupants plus enough room for one more person within three-metre overall length.

Nissan's unique new Super Motor is a compact, high-efficiency unit that features two output shafts, both of which can be controlled independently.

The Compact Lithium-ion Battery with its thin, space-saving design achieves a smaller size and a lighter weight that benefits a city commuter car.

Weight-reduction technologies are displayed in the extensive application of aluminium and plastic to the body and the injection-moulded front seats.

MURANO
A new-age specialty car executed in a harmonious fusion of sport sedan and SUV

The exterior was designed by a motif of "sculpture in motion". A surface construction with a new sense of unity achieved by the overall sharp lines and rich curves is achieved through the use of Nissan's FF-L (front engine, front drive, large) platform, which has also been adopted on the new Teana.

The highly functional, roomy interior offers an abundance of useful storage places.
The combination of a 3.5-litre DOHC V6 engine and the XTRONIC CVT continuously variable transmission provides smooth acceleration and excellent fuel economy. The All-Mode 4x4 system delivers 4WD capability for outstanding performance on all types of road surfaces.

Cube3 + Conran & Partners
Introducing the new "Cube world," a collaboration created between Nissan and Conran & Partners

The Cube3's fusion of design and functionality and Conran's sense of style interact to create a unique collaboration.

London-based Conran visualises the expression of Japanese beauty with the Cube's design theme of "circles joined by straight lines".

Nissan Design coordinates the colours of the exterior and interior trim using Shadow Grey and an intense DD Red.

Major Technology Exhibits

Development of CARWINGS

Nissan has been proceeding with developments focused on the next generation of CARWINGS telematics service. Through a joint feasibility study with NTT DoCoMo Inc., one application being studied is a function that will transfer CARWINGS capability to a cellphone so that CARWINGS functions can be used even after users exit their vehicles. A joint study is also being done on the implementation of wireless connectivity based on the use of Bluetooth* technology. *Bluetooth comprises a common specification that uses wireless technology to link multiple digital devices to facilitate voice and data communications.

Cutting-edge human-machine interfaces (HMI)

Nissan continually develops a human-machine interfaces that are safer, easier to see and simpler to use. Nissan's near-future HMI concepts are incorporated in the Fuga. Ideas envisioned for possible later application are reflected in the Serenity's magical 4 concept, an interface that enables various functions to be controlled via four switches mounted on the steering wheel.

Super Motor

In a traditional motor, power is derived from a rotor revolving within a fixed magnet. In Nissan's unique Super Motor, two rotors rotate both inside and around the magnet, creating a far smaller but more efficient motor. Additionally, it controls the power output of each shaft separately, making it possible to drive the right and left wheels independently. The Super Motor can be used in a variety of applications, including on fuel cell vehicles or as a generator in hybrid vehicles.

Compact Lithium-ion Battery

Nissan has been a pioneer in applying lithium-ion batteries to vehicles. As a result of long-term research, Nissan has succeeded in obtaining exceptionally high output characteristics and in developing a laminated lithium-ion cell that reduces the weight and volume by half compared with the conventional cylindrical type. The thin cell construction improves cooling efficiency dramatically and also allows excellent vehicle mountability.

In addition to these technology exhibits, Nissan will display advanced safety technologies and the X-TRAIL FCV that will be launched in the current fiscal year as a limited lease, advanced safety technologies, including pre-crash safety systems and so on.

15/10/03

Micra "AARGH!!!"

Nissan GB has created the craziest, road-legal Micra ever. It's called the R which is just what you'll be screaming when this mid-engined, mad little car rockets you to 62 mph in less than five seconds and onto a 150 mph top speed.

The Micra R started its life as a concept car at the last Geneva Motor Show. But its designer, Christopher Reitz, didn't want it to stay that way - he wanted his creation to be driven. And Nissan Motor (GB)'s managing director, Brian Carolin, in conjunction with Ray Mallock Limited (RML) has made it happen.

RML ran Nissan's super successful British Touring Car Championship campaign in the late Nineties. And motorsport (for the road) is very much what the Micra R is about. From nose to tail the R is unlike any Nissan Micra ever produced. For example, you won't find an engine under its bonnet - just a radiator and a fuel tank. And the Micra's clever rear sliding seat has been binned in favour of a 265 bhp fully race-prepared engine. It's still got the Intelligent Key system, though.

The R started life as a three-door Micra 1.4 SX. Most of the body was removed so that RML could match the dramatic styling of the Geneva concept car including its 100 mm stretched out wheel arches and Nissan Motorsport Flame Red and Blade Silver paint job. Care was then taken to adapt the aerodynamics and air intakes to suit its mid-engined layout.

The engine is located beneath an aluminium honeycomb cover with a carefully cut glass porthole to allow a glimpse of the carbon fibre cam covers. It's based on the 2.0-litre unit that powered the winning BTCC Primera with two choices of engine 'map', both of which are governed by a MoTeC M4 Electronic Control Unit.

Power is transmitted via a Hewland six-speed gearbox with sequential shift. The short racing exhaust exits centrally at the rear through a meaty looking big bore pipe. But an even more noticeable change over the standard car are the R's 18 inch,
18 spoke alloys specially machined for the project by Image Wheels. Toyo supplied its highest specification road car tyre, the Proxes T1-S with a 'footprint' that's nine inches wide. Behind those wheels lie enormous drilled disc brakes front and rear with four-pot callipers. Measuring 350 mm at the front and 330 mm at the rear, these brakes were naturally supplied by Brembo - the same company that stops Nissan's 350Z and Skyline GT-R. There's commonality with other Nissans in the R's radiator (Almera dCi 136) and suspension (also Almera).

Inside, the R is just as curvy as a standard Micra. But maybe not quite as comfy. Seated low down in Alcantara upholstered racing seats, the driver is faced with a suede rimmed Sabelt racing wheel. The standard dashboard, door panels and centre console have been flocked to give them a velvety, non-reflective finish. And behind the normal Micra instrument binnacle is a MoTeC digital data screen. There's no carpet on the floor of this Micra, instead RML thought aluminium sheeting more appropriate matching the integral roll bar. There's no air conditioning but the R retains its electric door mirrors and three cupholders even though the car can only seat two…

And what a ride they'll have. Sadly few will get the chance to drive the Micra R, just some lucky journalists and customers but Nissan will be exhibiting the R at various shows around the country starting with the Japanese Performance Show at Santa Pod. So even if this mad Micra isn't a car for the masses - the R is strictly a one-off - Nissan wants masses to see it. And Christopher Reitz, the Micra's designer, will be the first in the queue.

09/10/03

Nissan Donates Car To Motability

Nissan has donated the prize of a top-of-the-range Nissan Almera 1.8 16v SVE 5-door to help national mobility charity, Motability celebrate their Silver Jubilee.

The Almera was offered up as the star prize in a competition, which was held in conjunction with Haven and British Holidays autumn brochure. Money raised from calls to the competition hotline will help people with disabilities to become more mobile through their grant programme.

The winner of the car, Janet Meardon from Swindon, said: "When I received the letter to tell me that I had won, I couldn't believe it. My husband and I own a Nissan but were looking to replace it soon, and now we don't have to!"

David Murfitt, Fleet Sales Director of Nissan Motor (GB) Limited said: "Ultimately the proceeds from the competition could provide steering adaptations for up to 170 vehicles driven by people with disabilities and we were delighted to be given the opportunity to become involved in such a worthwhile cause."

06/10/03

Want A Best Buy - Then Buy A Nissan

The Nissan Almera, Almera Tino and Primera have been voted as Best Buys in their class according to the 2003/2004 Which? Car report from the Consumers Association, published this month.

Which? describe the Best Buys as "the finest of today's new cars. They've earned their spurs in all of the key areas that are important to car buyers - reliability, owner satisfaction, safety and security and running costs".

The Almera shares its Best Buy tag in the medium car class with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus, while the Primera shares the spoils in the large car class with the Lexus IS200/IS300 and the BMW 3 series. The Almera Tino however is one of only two cars in the survey to be named as sole Best Buy in its class. Which? states that "the Almera Tino scores well in most respects and is well liked by owners".

Which? also lists cars that are "worth considering". These cars are "almost up there with the best of them, but have one or two drawbacks". In the off-road category, the X-TRAIL was listed as a vehicle worth considering. This was the only class not to have a Best Buy vehicle as Which? believe "most people buy these as style statements rather than workhorses - we can't guarantee how good they are as mud-pluggers".

The Almera Tino and the X-TRAIL were recently voted the most reliable vehicles in their class in the recent Which? reliability survey (August 2003). The X-TRAIL has also been voted Best 4x4 Recreational Vehicle 2003 by Auto Express magazine.

01/10/03

The Z-Lines

Deliveries of the Nissan 350Z will start in the next couple of weeks with the first batch of cars due to arrive in the UK.

If that wasn't good news enough for British soon-to-be Z owners, the respected used car authority CAP Monitor has predicted that the 350Z will have residual values up among the industry's best.

And because Nissan expects there to be a lot of interest in the 350Z from non-owners, especially jealous ones, the company has added the Trackstar advanced vehicle monitoring and tracking system to the options list.

It's a case of Ready Zeady Go for the first customers in line for the Nissan 350Z. They're now being contacted to arrange a time to come into their dealer and collect their new car. For some the wait has been agonising. Take Mark Vodden. He was so excited about his car that he started a website devoted to potential Z customers wanting to chat about their cars. Since its inception, http://www.350zuk.com/ has had 97 registered users sign up for it. On his new car, Mr Vodden says: "I've waited this long but I don't know if I could wait much longer - thank goodness it'll soon be over. I can't wait to hear that engine I've read so much about."

Mr Vodden will be pleased to hear information Nissan GB has received on likely residual values for his 350Z. According to CAP Monitor, a 350Z will still be worth 52% of its original value after three years and 30,000 miles. That's actually equal to the Audi TT225 and 1% better than the new V6. Coupled with the 350Z's lower list price of £24,000, the Nissan buyer will lose £1755 less in depreciation against the TT225 over this time and mileage cycle. And they'll have a lot more driving pleasure with it if the motoring press is to be believed. Sorry Audi.

The Nissan 350Z is fitted as standard with a Thatcham category 1 approved alarm and immobiliser. But even these could be bettered by a determined thief with a lorry and crane handy. The key to any successful stolen car recovery is speed. For that you need the Nissan Trackstar security system. Developed with RAC Trackstar, it's the most advanced vehicle monitoring and tracking system available. It works with the car's own immobilisation system so that if an attempt is made to start the car with the key, or if the car is moved, pushed or lifted onto a trailer or transporter without authorisation, the Nissan Trackstar unit will immediately alert the National Control Centre. The car's owner is then alerted at one of the agreed verification contact numbers.

Now comes the really clever bit.

The exact location of the car can be pinpointed using both Global Positioning Satellites and the Global System of Mobile Communication. The National Control Centre receives details of the car's movements every 20 seconds and alerts the police accordingly. And even if the car's main battery is disconnected, Trackstar continues to report in. Once the car is recovered by the police and released, it is then recovered to its owner by the RAC.

The retail cost of fitting Nissan Trackstar to a 350Z is £599. There is an additional subscription to be paid, with a choice of annual or lifetime payment, and cover can be upgraded to include all of Europe. It even comes with a three year warranty.

09/09/03

Dunehawk: Family Adventure On Four Wheels

A 4x4 concept that puts the fun into function

At a glance
o Great off-road experience and on-road performance
o Sporting performance and image
o Second generation ALL-Mode 4x4 system
o Electronic analysis of traction modes
o Rear-view cameras
o Effortless interior versatility
o LED lighting


"Dunehawk is the family SUV of the future. It has the roominess and versatility of an MPV mixed with all the authentic 4x4 ability that you would expect from a Nissan. Dunehawk is where the world of MPV and SUV meet."

Takeshi Yamazaki, Product Chief Designer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Adventure with practicality

The Dunehawk is Nissan's solution to matching full MPV versatility with the dynamic attributes of a genuine SUV. Combining eye-catching lines with thoughtful features and genuine practicality, Dunehawk paves the way for Nissan's 4x4 future.
Nimble performance

A tough, modern and innovative seven-seater SUV, it's large enough for the entire family and more than capable off-road, yet remains a strong and nimble performer on-road.

Genuine off-road ability

Dunehawk has genuine off-road ability thanks to its rugged chassis, ground clearance and advanced, electronically controlled ALL-Mode 4x4 system. It also has an exceptionally roomy interior full of useful features, making it perfect for active families who need a versatile car to fit in with their hobbies. Whether it's a family trip away sailing, mountain biking, horse riding or simply exploring, Dunehawk would make the ideal companion: the perfect sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Ladder frame chassis

The rugged ladder frame chassis, short front and rear overhangs and dramatic 20-inch wheels allow Dunehawk to cross difficult terrain with ease. The ladder frame also provides the additional strength and rigidity which is essential for towing performance - an important requirement for family-oriented activities. But Dunehawk has far greater depth than a typical 4x4.

Taking its lead from the highly acclaimed Nissan X-TRAIL, Dunehawk is just as at home on road as it is off the beaten track. It has been designed to perform and handle as well as a conventional car and has a luxuriously comfortable interior.

Takeshi Yamazaki, creator of Dunehawk, explains: "Active families want more from their cars these days and we see this need developing into a combination of SUV performance and MPV versatility. Dunehawk takes both values one step further. It creates a new concept which adapts perfectly to the demands of families of the future."

Designed for strength

Dunehawk's bold and imposing design features smooth surfaces with iconic, angled accents. The body adopts a cylindrical design theme, with gently curving body sides that are narrower at roof and chassis level and wider at the body belt-line. This design solution helps create a feeling of strength while giving greater interior width where it's needed most - at elbow level.

The cylindrical theme is repeated at the tailgate, on the extended wheel arch blisters and on interior fittings.

Contrasts can be found in the striking side window graphic, with its heavily angled C-pillar separating the deeper door glass from the shallower rear window, and in the iconic Nissan 4x4 front grille design with its 'balanced angle strut' motif which is set off by the confident Nissan logo.

Rear view cameras

There are neither door handles nor door mirrors to disrupt the Dunehawk's surfaces. The doors are opened electrically by brushing a pad on the flanks of the Dunehawk, while rear facing cameras with pop up screens at either end of the dashboard take care of what's happening behind.

New generation N-Form

Inside, the cockpit is dominated by an angular theme with a 'T-bone' centre console which houses all the vital driving information systems, including a screen showing critical real-time traction information via sensors on all four wheels and within the ALL-Mode 4x4 system. Nissan's pioneering interactive N-Form dashboard has also been adopted and reveals how it could function in the future.

The cylindrical dashboard incorporates a compass, altimeter and inclinometer - all highly useful instruments for serious off-road work.

Overhead luggage locker

Practical elements include ample storage space with deep bins on the doors and side panels as well as an aircraft-style overhead console which runs centrally for the full length of the roof and incorporates luggage lockers.

Glazed roof

On either side of the console, the roof is glazed to help create an airy interior ambience - a styling feature reminiscent of Nissan's C-MPV Evalia concept car, shown at the Geneva show earlier this year. The console also houses ventilation outlets and a DVD screen for rear seat entertainment.

Load space for two bikes

Ingress is straightforward thanks to doors that open to a full 90 degrees, while access to the rearmost seats is eased by the middle row which slides forward out of the way. All the passenger seats fold completely flat to create an intrusion-free load bay which is long and tall enough to hold two mountain bikes upright. With the front wheels removed, the bike forks can be securely locked into special fixings found on the back of the middle row of seats, while the rear wheel is strapped into a special shoe neatly integrated into the boot floor.

MPV Versatility

For added convenience and versatility, Dunehawk has a fully flexible seating arrangement. All seven seats can be folded electrically by remote control using a push button pad, to lower, fold flat or raise the seats individually or collectively. All the seats have full three point harnesses for maximum family safety.

Quality Interior

Dunehawk's interior takes a quality approach. Cream leather panels and contoured seats contrast with covered 'active pad' mid brown leather panels to signify human contact areas such as the steering wheel while the dark brown hard wearing carpet is developed to withstand all of the wear of outdoor activities. Discreet waterfall lighting cascades from the roof, from underneath the door fittings and from under the rear storage bins to bathe the interior with a subtle ambient glow.

Integrated spot lights

All the exterior lighting is by LED, including the pair of powerful spotlights incorporated into the leading edge of each integral roof rail: the latter feature was pioneered on the original X-TRAIL show car and has now been adopted by the production version, too.

The roof rails are echoed by the side steps which also integrate LED illumination. As well as adding balance and strength to Dunehawk's profile, the side steps are above all for practicality: giving both easy ingress to the interior and facilitating the loading of luggage or equipment onto the roof.

Adventurous heart

"Dunehawk is perhaps the ultimate SUV. It's exciting to drive on-road and more than capable off-road, too. There's as much room as in an MPV for the complete family and it has an adventurous heart," said Mr Yamazaki.

04/09/03

More dCI'S On Micra

From 22 September the Micra engine team sheet is to get its 5th partner and second diesel derivative. …a high powered (82PS) version joins the ranks.

The new unit is based on the current 1.5dCi 65PS engine, on sale since May, but now has an air intercooler fitted which assists in raising the additional 17PS of power and the torque to a respectable 185Nm at 2000rpm. But at what cost I hear you cry… well the fuel economy actually improves to 62.3mpg (combined) with a CO2 figure of only 119.

This new addition, which completes the line-up for 2003, is available in 3 grades - SE, SX and SVE. The SE comes with Intelligent key, air-conditioning, rain sensing wipers and 15" wheels but should you want more, choose the SX or SVE. Then you get alloy wheels, climate control and depending on the grade, either ultrasonic rear parking sensors or a rear spoiler and tinted headlamp covers.

With a starting price of £10195 and a transfer price of £400 over the lower powered version, the cost of cruising around Chelsea in a trendy 'diesel fuelled' vehicle is less than an average football player's daily wage... or is that hourly?

1.5 dCi 82PS - SE 3dr man £10195 OTR
SE 5dr man £10695 OTR
SX or SVE 3dr man £11195 OTR
SX or SVE 5dr man £11695 OTR

29/08/03

dCi's Down

If the £14,500 Almera dCi 136PS SXE is a performance diesel with few rivals then the new £12,000 Almera dCi 136PS Pulse is one with none. Especially if you add the £1000 cashback that Nissan dealers are currently offering on it.

No other diesel offers as many horses or as much pace for the money. This Nissan engineered 2.2-litre dCi motor is mated to a six-speed gearbox and will get to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds. It returns 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle and produces a CO2 mass emissions figure of 161 g/km meaning a BIK banding of 19% for the 2003/4 tax year. If that sounds a bit boring, its maximum torque figure of 304 Nm at just 2000 rpm should wake you up. Particularly if you're behind a queue of lorries and have got some serious overtaking to do.

And it's not like Nissan has stripped the Almera down to its metal undies to achieve this price. The Pulse is a well-dressed package. It's got air conditioning, a six speaker CD radio, remote control central locking, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution. How about electric windows? It's got those, too. And the option of five-doors for an extra £750.

Nissan has spiced up its new range of Pulses with a dash of visual flavour in the shape of a rear roof spoiler, body-coloured side mouldings, deeper side sill spoilers and front fog lamps. This Pulse could even get yours racing.

13/08/03

Toys Story 2

30% of Primeras sold last month were powered by Nissan's new uprated 138 PS dCi engine. That's double the average proportion of Primeras that used to be diesel fuelled. Sensing it's onto a good thing, Nissan has thrown all its toys at the dCi upping the range to create a new top spec T-spec version. It's the most comprehensively equipped car Nissan has ever sold in the UK … since the launch of the 2.0-litre petrol T-spec, that is.

The T of T-spec stands for technology: for example the 2.2-litre 138 PS diesel engine that shifts the Primera to 62 mph in around 10 seconds and, with 314 Nm of torque available at just 2000 rpm, gives much more effortless overtaking than the equivalent petrol. The unit is Nissan's own and uses modern common rail technology, helped by a six-speed gearbox, to achieve 46.3 mpg on the combined cycle and a CO2 mass emissions figure of 164 g/km. That number translates into a 19% BIK band (including 3% diesel penalty) for the 2003/4 tax year. And the price it's applied to? £19,500 for the five-door hatchback and £20,600 for the estate. Which brings us onto the spec of the T-spec:

- 7" colour display monitor and N-FORM dashboard

- DVD satellite navigation system which covers all of Europe on one disc
- Cruise control
- 'Plug and Go' hands-free phone operation
- Electronic stability programme (ESP)
- Rear view camera
- Rain sensing wipers
- Auto dim rear view mirror
- Xenon headlamps with wash, front foglamps
- Electrically adjustable and heated front seats
- 17" alloy wheels
- Climate control air conditioning
- Thatcham category 1 approved alarm system
- CD radio with upgraded speakers and subwoofer, steering wheel mounted audio controls
- Leather upholstery
- Electric tilt/slide glass sunroof
- Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
- Electric front and rear windows
- Metallic paint

Is there a better equipped diesel for the price? Nissan thinks not. Take for instance Nissan's 'Plug and Go' system (which has nothing to do with shampoo before you ask). The driver can plug his or her mobile into a cradle situated between the front seats with no need to remove the SIM card first - cradles are available to suit most mobiles and are fitted by the dealer before the car is delivered to its new owner. When a phone call is received, the music volume is muted automatically, the person's name or number gets displayed on the dashboard colour monitor and the call can then be received using the controls on the N-FORM dashboard. Think of it as a totally integrated hands-free kit, something we should all be thinking about with upcoming new legislation on in-car mobile phone use.

The rear view camera is unique in the Primera's class. Many of us have to watch our backs these days. But the Primera can watch its own behind … and potentially your pennies, too, as even the lightest of parking dings can cause severe damage to your bottom line.

The new dCi T-spec brings with it some pan-Primeran upgrades to improve the level of perceived quality inside the car. Chrome now rings the centre mounted instruments and the darker of the Primera interior trim options has had a blackening of tone. Nissan is obliged to point these out because if it didn't, you'd never notice. Not when there are so many toys to play with instead.

11/08/03

Qual É A Musica?

The X-TRAIL is the UK's most reliable 4x4* so doesn't cause Nissan's customer care team much bother. The music on the current TV ad does, though: what is it, where can I buy it… Well, it's from the sound track of a Brazilian movie that isn't sold here. But if you call Nissan's customer caring people on 01923 899334 they'll send you a copy of the ad track. For free.

The bangin' new tune that accompanies the X-TRAIL advert currently showing on your screens now is the latest offering from Tejo, Black Alien and Speed. Whilst they are not TOTP regulars, they are big in Brazil and likely to be so over here, as soon as the track gets picked up by Fatboy or FranV ois K.

The track first featured in the Brazilian movie "O Invasor" (The Invader) - an edgy rock and roll story of adolescents growing up in Sao Paolo. With Portuguese Brazilian lyrics, interspersed with cries of 'RUDE BOY' (understood on any dance floor) - it has an unpretentious, unedited sound with Miami bass and Afrika Bambaataa influences.

The riotous carnival feel of this song perfectly reflects the X-TRAIL spirit, which above all is dedicated to unadulterated fun.

If you wanna get down ahead of the Brighton Beach and Notting Hill masses, call our Customer Care department who will be more than happy to send you a copy to load onto your iPod or stick in your CD player.

07/08/03

Nissan's Predictably Reliable

The Nissan Almera Tino is the most reliable MPV and the X-TRAIL is the most reliable 4x4 in the UK, according to the latest reliability survey from the Consumers' Association as reported in this month's issue of Which? magazine.

Only seven cars achieved a perfect 100% score with two Nissan models claiming their places as Britain's most reliable cars - the Almera Tino and the award winning X-TRAIL. The Sunderland-built Almera and Primera models (both the new and previous models) also feature in the top half of the table with above average* scores. These scores mean that in the overall reliability ratings table, Nissan moves up one class to join the group of most reliable cars since last year.

According to the Consumers' Association, "Japanese brands dominate the top of the table with few models suffering from reliability problems. These brands all have excellent overall reliability in our survey - even for the cheaper models in the range."
The survey ranks car makes for overall reliability as well as the breakdown rates for each particular model up to two years old. Cars with no breakdowns or starting problems during the previous 12 months score 100%.

The X-TRAIL has recently been voted Best 4x4 Recreational Vehicle 2003 by Auto Express magazine.

*Average score for reliability is 94%

04/08/03

Nissan Enters BUSINESSWEEK'S Top 100 Global Brands

(August 1, 2003) For the first time ever, Nissan has been ranked in the top 100 companies in the annual BusinessWeek survey of the world's most valuable brands, joining the likes of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM.

Coming in at number 89 on the list with a brand value of $2.5 billion, Nissan is described as being "on a roll" thanks to its management. The survey's authors also state that the brand's reputation has yet to catch up with the company's "crowd-pleasing new models".

The ranking is based on a detailed analysis of the extent to which sales are driven by the brand name. To calculate the brand's value, several factors are taken into account, including the brand's market leadership, its stability, and its ability to cross geographic and cultural borders.

In order to qualify for consideration, companies have to meet the following minimum criteria:

- They must have brand value greater than $1 billion
- They must be global in nature, meaning they must derive at least a third of their sales from outside their home countries and have significant distribution throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia
- They must have publicly available marketing and financial data.
- The rise in Nissan's brand ranking follows a complete turnaround in the company's fortunes resulting from extensive restructuring, and an intensive programme of new model launches. Twenty-one new vehicles have been launched worldwide in the last three years. In Europe, these have included models such as the new Primera, the new Micra and the X-TRAIL.

The survey, which was carried out by Interbrand, is published in this week's edition of BusinessWeek dated August 4th.

30/07/03

West Wilts Show 2003

Unsettled weather greeted visitors to this year's West Wilts Show in Trowbridge.

Staged over the 24th, 25th and 26th of July in the Trowbridge Town Park, the bi-annual event attracted a large number of visitors over the three days.

Occupying a focal point of the show ground was the St Martins stand which attracted many visitors over the show weekend.

St Martins General Manager Richard Pulsford said, "We had quite a good event despite the weather with the St Martins stand attracting plenty of attention from show visitors."

"This time, we doubled up on the stand space which was enormously beneficial as it allowed us to display more cars and light commercials in a more spacious and impressive way using a larger show unit from Nissan."

The next West Wilts Show is scheduled for July 2005.

23/04/03

X-Trail Shines Bright

The X-TRAIL has fast-forwarded Nissan into a new market sector: the sports utility vehicle or SUV as they call it in marketing land. Now, with the introduction of the Sport-X, the X-TRAIL will be better able to see where it's going due to twin, roof-mounted spot lamps that will light a track 200 metres ahead and 17 metres wide. And at prices starting from £18,995, it makes the 165PS X-TRAIL 2.5 a whole £1500 more accessible.

On sale from 5 May, the Sport-X is a new addition to the range based on the Sport. It's aimed at those who want a flashier SUV, literally with those spot lights - Safari Lamps in Nissan-speak - that come on when high beam is engaged and a dashboard mounted switch is prodded. They turn night into day making driving down a pitch black, country lane loads safer. And think of the illumination you'd have available for nocturnal activities … floodlights for an impromptu football match is one innocent example. More wattage is provided by front bumper mounted, fog lamps. And to ensure daytime privacy for back seat passengers, the rear windows are dark tinted.

Polished five-spoke 16" alloy wheels are pure flash. More practical but just as eye-catching is the substantial roof system first seen on the original X-TRAIL concept car. As well as providing a mounting point for the safari lamps, the roof system will carry up to 100 kg of kit when the accessory crossbars are attached to the standard aluminium rails. Despite the roof system, the Sport-X retains the X-TRAIL's enormous electric glass sunroof that takes on a new application as a night-time observation hatch when used with the safari lamps. Four different paint colours are offered: Alabaster White, Zinc, Kuro Black and seat-matching Aruba Blue.

Seat-matching…? Oh yes. Although the Sport-X has the same utility themed interior as the standard X-TRAIL Sport, Nissan has made a few flashy modifications. The brightest of these are vivid blue Matrix upholstery inserts on the seats. The steering wheel rim and handbrake are trimmed in blue stitched leather and the upper part of the doors is covered in the same hard wearing cloth used for rucksacks. The Sport-X also gains steering wheel mounted audio controls and a big, lidded centre box.

A 2.2Di Sport-X is priced at £19,495 - just £500 more than the un-X-ed version. With a CO2 mass emissions figure of 190 g/km, the X-TRAIL 2.2Di slots into the 23% company car BIK banding and will return 39.2 mpg on the combined cycle - no wonder that this engine currently accounts for more than half of X-TRAIL sales. Destined to increase in popularity, though, is the 165PS 2.5-litre petrol engine that was previously only offered in £20,495 SVE form. The 2.5 Sport-X, at £18,995, is £1000 more than the 2.0 Sport. So that's £500 for the equipment and £500 for the extra 0.5 litres of engine. The 2.5 accelerates to 62 mph in under 10 seconds, whereas the 2.0 takes 11.3 to get there, and it also has another 38 Nm of torque plus the ability to tow up to 2 tonnes of braked trailer against the 2.0's 1.5 tonne towing limit. That means with a 2.5, you'll get an extra horse in your horse-box.

Like every X-TRAIL, the Sport-X has an electronic - so faster reacting - four-wheel drive system. Known as ALL MODE 4x4, it offers a choice of three press-a-button settings. The first is front-wheel drive only for in-town pootling. The keener driver will select mode two, AUTO, for maximum security (and fun) on-road as well as traction for the 10% of time the car goes off-. Mode three is LOCK which predictably locks the drive front and rear for more serious cross country safaris. On such excursions, the chilled can holders will prove a literally refreshing idea as will the electronic set-and-forget climate control. And if the scenery gets a bit samey, a 6CD autochanger will provide entertainment. Unusually, it's mounted on the dashboard so you don't even need to stop the car and get out to change the music, reassuring if the locals are a bit hostile. Muddy boots can be thrown in the boot without having to be washed first because the load floor is covered in ribbed, tough plastic rather than carpet - when you get home, it can be lifted out for a hose down. Which is just what Land Rover is going to need after it's read the Sport-X fitted-as-standard equipment list.

28/04/03

First Not Thirst For Micra Diesel In The UK

Nissan's chic new Micra now adopts the latest in under bonnet fashion with the option of a common rail, direct injection 1.5 litre dCi diesel engine - the first time Nissan has offered UK Micra fans an alternative to petrol. It's available off-the-peg in a variety of equipment and door combos and all at High Street prices that start from £8795 for a three-door S.

Ultimately there'll be two diesel fuelled Micras. The 65PS version is on sale now with an inter-cooled version producing a healthy 82PS following in October - more details of this one will follow later.

The unit comes from the dCi catalogue of Nissan's alliance partner Renault, first seen in the Clio range. In Nissan trim it produces 65PS and 160 Nm of torque @ 2000 rpm that provides excellent low to mid range oomph characteristics, meaning an easier drive with fewer gear changes. Link this together with 61.4 mpg (combined figure), a 2E insurance group plus 18,000 mile service schedules and you can see the Micra dCi is an important ingredient in Nissan's 2003 plan for diesel domination.

The Micra dCi is the fourth new diesel Nissan has launched in as many months. Overall, the diesel market has grown 6% in the last year alone with almost one in four cars sold in the UK being a diesel. And the small car diesel segment is expected to grow 8% over the next two years led, Nissan hopes, by the new Micra dCi.

The 65 PS diesel unit is available in the best selling S and SE grades. The SE has the most up-to-date and innovative specification of any small car, including an Intelligent Key, hidden storage compartments, the smallest turning circle of any small car, rain sensing wipers, air conditioning and a friendly lighting system that keeps the headlamps on for up to two minutes after you've walked away from the car. It will also wish you happy birthday. Via the trip computer, that is - singing is one of the few talents the Micra doesn't possess.

15/05/03

Nissan Honoured

Nissan has taken home not just one but two awards from the 2003 Fleet World and Commercial Fleet World Honours. The new Micra has received the Design of the Year award and the Primastar, together with its siblings Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro, has won the 'Best Small Van' category.

The awards were presented at a special ceremony held at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, on Wednesday 14 May by Fleet World publisher, Ross Durkin. His verdict on the Micra's design win was conclusive: "The new Micra represents a return to the Japanese DNA for Nissans with no attempt to copy European styling, and it works very well. It is a car that will attract attention wherever it goes - for all the right reasons. It absolutely bristles with ideas to make maximum use of minimum room.

"The new Micra has managed to make a lot of rival products look old overnight by bringing high-tech gadgetry to a mass market car, at a very affordable price. It is a good example of the Japanese doing what they are best at … packaging a tremendous little car with all sorts of technical innovations."

On the Primastar, Ross Durkin commented: "Nissan's Primastar has caught operators' imagination and made waves in the medium vehicle business. From its overt styling, to its fine ride and handling, to its modern common rail diesel engines, this model has delivered and as a result won universal acclaim."

Nissan's Fleet Sales director, Dave Murfitt, accepted the award for the Micra while LCV Fleet Sales manager, Nick Andrews, picked up the Primastar's. Speaking for both products and men, Dave said: "We're thrilled that Nissan has won not just one but two awards. We've been progressively transforming our products' image with a combination of bold styling and easy-to-use technology, building on our reputation for offering quality, value and reliability. These awards from Fleet World show that the fleet industry is noticing."

Nissan isn't just enjoying success on the awards front. Sales are doing well, too. 14,000 new Micras have been sold since launch - more than the company planned for - while sales of its light commercial vehicles are up 50% year-on-year.

05/06/03

New Micra Drives Ahead With Mobility Roadshows

Nissan is helping elderly and disabled people to get out and about more by running a series of Micra roadshows until the end of August, in association with the Forum of Mobility Centres.

The previous model Micra was popular with disabled and elderly drivers, but the new model, which is wider and taller, has a longer wheelbase and is equipped with front and side airbags as standard, is already generating a great deal of interest.

To build on this level of interest Nissan has teamed up with the Forum of Mobility Centres, a charitable organisation whose members help disabled and elderly people stay mobile as drivers, passengers or wheelchair users, to run weekly Micra roadshows at 12 of its centres around the country.

The new Micra will spend a week at each location and has been fitted with hand controls and dual control brakes to enable people who are unable to use foot pedals to accelerate and brake, as well as elderly people, to test-drive the car safely.

Mobility Centre advisors will be on hand to advise drivers on the best solution to their mobility needs and the most appropriate adaptations and wheelchair storage solutions for the Micra.

'The previous Micra was very popular with disabled and elderly people as its wide-opening doors made access to the car easy, and its light steering and controls made it a very pleasant car to drive,' explained Colin Fowler, the Forum's Business Development Manager.

'The Mobility Centres are very pleased to be able to give members of the public the chance to put an adapted new Micra through its paces for the first time and grateful for Nissan's on-going support over the last few years,' he added.

Nissan is also exhibiting a range of cars at Mobility Choice's annual Mobility Roadshow at Donington in June, where thousands of people come to see Europe's largest display of mobility products and accessories.

12/06/03

The Nissan Pickup Wins the 2003 Morocco Rally

Nissan has won the 2003 Morocco Rally. Piloted by Gineiel de Villiers, with co-driver Tina Thorner, this was the first overall win for the Nissan Pickup in the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallys, and also the first overall victory for Nissan since 1993.

Smiling on the podium, Giniel de Villiers was finally able to show his joy: "First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone in the team for their work. It was really perfect. The car has not had any problems, and I know that everyone worked really hard to help us achieve this result. The rally was very difficult, and definitely not a picnic. It was important to stay concentrated at all times. The special stages in the dunes were very tricky, as were the narrow roads in the mountains. This morning, I could not help thinking about what happened to Peterhansel during the last three events, but I put that out of my mind, to stay focussed. Before the start, my main aim was to be at the finish, and if possible on the podium. But I don't believe in predictions in rally raids. Anything can happen at any moment. I had a very good feeling with the car throughout the rally. The first stage win gave me a certain confidence. Since the Dakar, I have wanted to win a stage, now I have done that, and I've even won the whole event …"

Tina Thorner's eyes were also shining. There was plenty of emotion for Giniel's co-driver, claiming her first win: "When we started this morning, I tried to remain as focussed as possible. I tried to treat this stage as if it was a 'normal' day. The special stage was quite tricky, but we were extra careful. The rally has gone remarkably well with Giniel. He drove perfectly. I could feel he was very much at ease, motivated and very concentrated. I am very happy with this win, my first… .. I don't think I have really quite realised what has happened yet. I hope there will be more …They always say that the first win is the most difficult … well, we've done it! "

In the T1 category, Marc Blazquez, with three stage wins, also appeared satisfied with his result: "I thoroughly enjoyed this rally, but I also learnt a lot, especially in the dunes. The car was entered in the T1 category, so it was almost a production vehicle, and it was not always easy to adapt. The team did a good job, and I know that we can progress in this category. My aim was to finish. The Patrol crossed the line in third place in the T1 class … it's perfect. This is only my second rally raid, but I must admit that I really like it. I still have to work and learn, but I am really very happy … and I can't wait to get started again…"

Thierry Delli Zotti shared the Patrol with Marc and gave his opinion of his pupil: "Marc did a good job, he listens to the advice he is given, he learns quickly but he is also very fast. Moreover, he is a charming boy. I really enjoyed driving with him. I am very pleased about Giniel's win - it is a great boost for the whole team, and is an apt reward for all the hard work…"

This opinion is also shared by Alec Poole, the Nissan Rally Raid Team Manager: "We are very happy today, happy for Giniel, of course, but most of all, happy to have proved that the Nissan Pickup is competitive. Since the launch of the programme, just over six months ago, all the team has been fully committed to this project. This win in Morocco is a fine reward for all the hard work. But we know that there is a long way to go before reaching our goal: to be able to win the Dakar… We are learning important lessons on each rally raid, and this first position confirms that we are on the right track."

With the Team Dessoude Nissan Pickup, Yves Loubet and Jacky Dubois claimed a fine 4th place in the overall classification. The Corsican driver had a final scare this morning: "During the special stage, there was suddenly a tremendous noise... I looked at Jacky, very worried, but it turned out that it was only the rear mudguard which had come off and which was rubbing along the ground. I really wanted to finish the rally … but all's well that ends well…"

Paul Belmondo and Alain Guéhennec, with their Nissan Pathfinder, came very close to winning the T1 category today, with victory remaining possible until the very last moment. With Jean Pierre Strugo having problems during today's final stage, they gained over 10 minutes, which, unfortunately, was not enough to change the classification. Paul finished 2nd in the class and 10th overall: "The main aim was to finish the rally. We came really close to a win in T1, which is a shame… I hope to be in Dubai, must most importantly to be in the next Dakar … with a Nissan, of course…"

Plenty of emotion in Marrakech, for the Nissan Rally Raid Team… the next event will be the Spanish Baja, from 17 to 20 July.

18/06/03

Micra Milestone Reached In Record Time

Nissan's Sunderland plant will break one of its own production records today by building its 100,000th new Micra in just over six months.

On average, nearly 4,000 Micras have rolled off the line every week since Tony Blair and Nissan President, Carlos Ghosn, launched production of the new model last November.

The achievement is the result of production volume being increased to keep pace with excellent customer demand for the new car right across Europe. Sales forecasts have already been revised upwards twice since the car went on sale in January this year.

Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd (NMUK), Colin Dodge said: "In the first full year of production of the previous Micra, we built around 150,000 cars. Although market demand can change, if current sales forecasts for the new model remain constant we will be producing around 200,000 this year.

"The fact that we are building so many is a testament to the popularity of the new car. That we can fulfil these orders, and to such a high standard, is a reflection of the skill of our North East workforce."

The 100,000th car, a right hand drive 1.0 litre E-grade in Green, will come off the line at 21.52 on Wednesday 18 June 2003.

18/06/03

Calor Says LPG Primera Is A Gas

Nissan has secured a contract with Calor Gas Limited to supply Primera LPGs to the company's 200 strong fleet.

Nissan introduced the LPG Primera models in March to meet the demand from drivers and companies that want to take advantage of the cost and environmental benefits of gas power.

The conversion is available on the four, five door and estate versions of the 1.8 SE Primera and most importantly carries a full three-year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty.

Ian Davis, Group Purchasing Manager, Calor Gas Limited, said: "The feedback from drivers has been very positive. They think the Primera is a good, comfortable, quiet drive. They are impressed with the different dashboard arrangement and find the rear-parking camera a very useful addition. The Primera has good build quality and the switch from petrol to gas is so smooth it is not even noticeable.

"Not only was Nissan very professional and flexible but they also considered our LPG requirements and developed a competitive solution to meet these which further illustrates their excellent customer service."

"Calor Gas is an example of the increasing number of fleets switching to LPG because of its financial and environmental benefits," said Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director.

"The LPG combines all the benefits of the standard Primera with the addition of a full warrantied LPG conversion. We are confident that Calor and their drivers will be happy with their decision and hope to build our relationship with them in the future," he added.

The deal is part of Calor's four badge restricted deal along with Volvo, Vauxhall and VW.

25/06/03

Z Gear

Nissan is taking its new 350Z sportscar to the Goodwood Festival of Speed from 11 to 13 July. Visitors to the Nissan 350Z area will not only be able to see one of the most in-demand cars of the year but also compare it to its 240Z predecessor and watch it in action on the Supercar Run. They'll also be able to buy one of the first examples of the 350Z that Nissan GB has imported. And take it home … in a bag.

These 350Zs are 1:43 scale models priced at £15 each and for now it's the only type of 350Z Nissan has in stock. It's part of the new Z Collection of merchandise that is as beautifully styled as the car with all items incorporating the 350Z's triple dot styling motif. Nissan is making the range available for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And then taking it off the market till deliveries of the car start in October.

As well as a model 350Z - European specification, note - the range also includes a leather wallet and CD holder, a cigarette lighter, cufflinks and for Goodwood only, a black cap with the silver 'Z' logo. Further up the price scale, the Z Collection extends to a four piece wine kit in a 'Z'-branded wooden case, a seven function golf tool and unusually a glass and metal chess set. You know you need one.

But the most distinctive item in the Collection is the 350Z watch designed by the same team who penned the car. The three dials on the watch face are modelled on the 350Z's instrument binnacle and the dial cover is inspired by the car's door handle.
Those of the three 350Zs that Nissan will be displaying at Goodwood will be getting little peace, such will be the demand for a taste of the car's driving position. Likely to get similar attention, especially given the classic car oriented Goodwood audience, is a 1971 240Z that Nissan GB has had literally remanufactured to coincide with the launch of the 350Z. The car was painstakingly constructed by craftsmen at the Z Farm in the North East, one of the world's best known 240Z specialists. It's the classic that started the Z phenomenon and still looks fantastic today.

Nissan is also using the Goodwood Festival of Speed as an opportunity to meet some of the hundreds of customers who have placed a deposit on a 350Z. They've been invited to the Festival with a partner or friend for what will likely be their first chance to touch and sit in the dream car that they have been waiting so patiently for. And if they simply can't wait to drive a 350Z, remote control 1:10 scale 350Zs will be on sale at the Nissan stand to steer around the patio at home.

For more information on the 280PS, rear-wheel drive, two seating Nissan 350Z, click on www.nissan-350z.co.uk.

26/06/03

Suits You, Sir

Nissan's 'one-stop-shop' tailors non-standard vehicles

Nissan has launched a 'one-stop-shop' to make it easy for fleets to order non-standard versions of its range of cars, 4x4s and vans.

Fleets can now specify all the equipment - ranging from beacons to hand-wash units - they want fitted to any Nissan vehicle to ensure it precisely meets their special needs. All work is carried out by Nissan's approved specialists, and the vehicles are delivered fully equipped and ready to get down to work.

Police forces, construction companies, local authorities, security companies and government departments such as the Environment Agency all have vehicles specially tailored in this way, and over 500 Nissan cars, 4x4s and LCVs already go through this 'one-stop-shop' facility each year.

Customers don't lose time having the work done after delivery and the facility also ensures that the work is done to consistently high standards, using parts and equipment which are totally compatible with Nissan vehicles and Nissan quality.
The vehicles are delivered directly to Nissan's chosen conversion partner, where equipment such as beacons, bulkheads, communications radios, hand-wash units, rear window security guards, roof racks, special off-road tyres, storage systems, strobe light bars, tow bars etc can all be fitted.

To provide a total service, Nissan can also livery vehicles to meet the customer's requirements. They are then completed at a central PDI centre and delivered to the customer.

Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director said: "Many of our fleet customers are already making use of this service, and find that it gives them a vehicle perfectly equipped to do the job, and saves them time and guarantees quality. As our range of commercial vehicles continues to expand, this facility will become increasingly important, as we will secure an even broader customer base requiring special vehicles."

30/06/03

Micra Shows Its Skirts

Micra owners can now add a little attitude to their Nissan with a sportily styled body-kit. Available from Nissan dealerships, the kit is comprised of side skirts, front and rear lower lip spoilers, fender flares (wheel arch extensions to you and me) and headlamp covers known as eyebrows.

Available for both three and five door versions, the kit has been styled in partnership with Nissan's own design studio in Paddington London. The look remains in keeping with the Micra's curvaceous appearance.

For £795, which includes parts, painting, installation and VAT, the body-kit gives the Micra an even more individual look that's bound to attract an envious eye from the fashion conscious. An additional black rear spoiler, fitted to the top of the tailgate, can be purchased to further enhance the appearance - similar to the one fitted, as standard, to the SX. This version and the SVE also come with 15" alloy wheels that set off the body kit to best effect though the wheels fitted to lower ranking Micras look just fine, too.
The kit comes complete with 'peace of mind' assurance to run alongside the new car warranty of 3 years or 60,000 miles proving that dressing up in sporty gear can be worry free.

08/07/03

Nissan Number One In Europe For Seventh Year

Nissan in Sunderland has been ranked the most productive car plant in Europe for the seventh year running by the World Markets Research Centre (WMRC), which publishes its 2003 European Automotive Productivity Index today.

The annual survey showed the Wearside plant produced 99 cars per employee in 2002*. This represents a 4% increase on 2001 when 95 cars per employee were produced.

The WMRC survey assesses the productivity of more than 40 passenger car plants, and Sunderland has remained top of its European league table since 1996 when it achieved a total of 73 cars per employee.

Managing Director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Colin Dodge, said: "I'd like to pay tribute to the skill and dedication of our workforce and the experience of the management team in maintaining Nissan's excellent productivity record.

"Last year was a challenging one for our plant with the launch of the new Micra and Primera as well as modifications to the Almera and the introduction of a whole new diesel range. The success of all these activities endorses the way Nissan builds cars not just in Sunderland, but world wide."

In the US, Nissan has topped the productivity table for the last eight years, and the Japanese plants consistently rank amongst the most productive in the world.

Colin added: "The manufacturing philosophy at Sunderland is the same as that adopted at Nissan's car plants across the globe. The 'Nissan Production Way' aims to be quality driven and waste-free and consistently delivers results.

"High productivity is the by-product of good manufacturing practice and how successfully you run the whole business, Nissan remains one of the best in the world at doing this. However, the skill and adaptability of our workforce remains the biggest factor in our success."

11/07/03

Nis Whizz

Goodwood, (11 July 2003) - Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd announced today it will be making NISMO high-performance accessory parts available for its 350Z. The range, which is previewed on a Japanese market Fairlady Z at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will be available from Nissan's UK dealer network from the start of 350Z deliveries in October.

NISMO is a new name to Nissan UK's accessories range. And for the 350Z only. But it's not so new to anyone who plays 'GRAN TURISMO' or drives a Nissan Skyline GT-R. Nissan Motorsports was established in Japan in 1984 to provide manufacturer backed performance parts for Nissan cars. And the 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed is the natural event at which to launch the range in the UK - not least because there will be many customers there who have ordered a 350Z.

The most dramatic item in the range is the 350Z Aero Kit that was developed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital, producer of 'GRAN TURISMO'. The images created by the game's development team were translated into production reality by NISMO after being aerodynamically tested. So as well as looking the business, the Aero Kit increases the forces on the front and rear of the car - there's more grip at the front and added traction at the rear.

The standard front bumper is replaced by a deeper one that incorporates a low lip spoiler that can be painted a different colour to the main body - if the owner chooses.
And an additional louvre in the bumper grille gives the 350Z an even wider and more menacing look. Side skirts rectify irregular air stream around the tyres at high speeds. Their function is linked to that of the rear under-skirt and along with the front lip spoiler, make the 350Z look literally sucked to the road. But all of this wouldn't be complete without the high mounted rear spoiler or wing that sits on top of the tailgate below the rear window. An exact price for the NISMO Aero Kit hasn't been confirmed but it's going to be around £1500 - plus the inevitable fitting and painting - though the bits are likely to be available separately.

As if the standard 350Z doesn't sound intoxicating enough (if you're a car nut, that is), the NISMO sports exhaust gives it an even more spine tingling exhaust note. 10.7 cm wide, twin oval tailpipes are the only external sign of an exhaust system developed for even sharper engine response in fast driving and a further improvement in dynamic performance while ensuring ample torque at mid-to-low engine revs. The cost is likely to be around £1000. Assuming it gets through our noise and emissions regulations. Rules can be so dull.

All these parts come from NISMO's S-tune range which is designed for performance improvements on road driving. Another item that will be available is a racing radiator cap that raises the cooling system pressure leading to a higher vaporising point of the coolant, in turn improving cooling performance. In other words, the engine is less likely to overheat should the customer decide to take his or her 350Z onto the track.

Other 350Z accessories, not from NISMO, have also been launched. They include Nissan's Birdview 3D satellite navigation system, priced at £1500, which is built into the storage compartment above the CD-radio controls. There will also be an interior styling kit available at the car's launch though no prices yet. Nissan's Rear Park system will be offered for the 350Z for £310. And the fastidious owner might like to change the orange front indicator reflectors for white ones. They're only 40 quid.

Prices for the 280PS 350Z start at £24,000. It'll accelerate to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 155 mph. But only two people can climb aboard for the ride. Standard equipment includes xenon headlights, front/side/curtain airbags, a 6 CD autochanger, 18 inch alloy wheels and Brembo brakes. The £2500 GT Pack adds leather upholstered, electrically adjustable and heated seats, a BOSE stereo system and cruise. RAYS alloys that are 4 kg lighter than the standard wheel, add another £1000.

Last week Nissan GB revealed that it has managed to secure an additional 390 350Zs for UK customers in 2003 over and above the original 450 allocation that sold out within an hour of the order banks being opened. So some of the 1000 or so customers who have already ordered a 350Z will get their car sooner than they thought. But it's not as if any of them will be specifying the NISMO Aero Kit to stand out from the crowd. The 350Z may be causing a noise but it won't be around in large volumes.

07/08/03

Nissan's Predictably Reliable

The Nissan Almera Tino is the most reliable MPV and the X-TRAIL is the most reliable 4x4 in the UK, according to the latest reliability survey from the Consumers' Association as reported in this month's issue of Which? magazine.

Only seven cars achieved a perfect 100% score with two Nissan models claiming their places as Britain's most reliable cars - the Almera Tino and the award winning X-TRAIL. The Sunderland-built Almera and Primera models (both the new and previous models) also feature in the top half of the table with above average* scores. These scores mean that in the overall reliability ratings table, Nissan moves up one class to join the group of most reliable cars since last year.

According to the Consumers' Association, "Japanese brands dominate the top of the table with few models suffering from reliability problems. These brands all have excellent overall reliability in our survey - even for the cheaper models in the range."
The survey ranks car makes for overall reliability as well as the breakdown rates for each particular model up to two years old. Cars with no breakdowns or starting problems during the previous 12 months score 100%.

The X-TRAIL has recently been voted Best 4x4 Recreational Vehicle 2003 by Auto Express magazine.

*Average score for reliability is 94%

04/08/03

Nissan Enters BUSINESSWEEK'S Top 100 Global Brands

(August 1, 2003) For the first time ever, Nissan has been ranked in the top 100 companies in the annual BusinessWeek survey of the world's most valuable brands, joining the likes of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and IBM.

Coming in at number 89 on the list with a brand value of $2.5 billion, Nissan is described as being "on a roll" thanks to its management. The survey's authors also state that the brand's reputation has yet to catch up with the company's "crowd-pleasing new models".

The ranking is based on a detailed analysis of the extent to which sales are driven by the brand name. To calculate the brand's value, several factors are taken into account, including the brand's market leadership, its stability, and its ability to cross geographic and cultural borders.

In order to qualify for consideration, companies have to meet the following minimum criteria:

- They must have brand value greater than $1 billion
- They must be global in nature, meaning they must derive at least a third of their sales from outside their home countries and have significant distribution throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia
- They must have publicly available marketing and financial data.
- The rise in Nissan's brand ranking follows a complete turnaround in the company's fortunes resulting from extensive restructuring, and an intensive programme of new model launches. Twenty-one new vehicles have been launched worldwide in the last three years. In Europe, these have included models such as the new Primera, the new Micra and the X-TRAIL.
- The survey, which was carried out by Interbrand, is published in this week's edition of BusinessWeek dated August 4th.

28/07/03

Summer Scorchers From Nissan

With sales up 7% over the same period last year, Nissan is getting its customers into the holiday mood with offers of cashback, worth up to £2000, and free insurance on selected models in the passenger car range.

Customers can save £2000 off the price of a Primera if purchased through Preferences, Nissan's personal contract purchase scheme. The £2000 is offered as a deposit contribution from Nissan and customers can either choose to lower their monthly payments by paying a higher deposit, upgrade to a higher specification model or simply use the lowest possible deposit. A Primera 1.8 S will cost £307 per month (plus final payment) with a deposit of £2000 (paid by Nissan) or £209 per month with a deposit of £5055, of which the customer will pay £3055.

X-TRAIL customers are also being offered a deposit contribution worth £1000. If 'cash in your hand' sounds more appealing, then why not go for an Almera Pulse or Flare or a Tino S, all of which are offered with £1000 cashback.

Finally, the new Micra range (excluding the E) is offered with one year's free insurance for customers aged between 21-80 years. With the money that customers can save, why not give their car a more individual look with a range of accessories such as the recently launched body kit, which features side skirts, front and rear lower lip spoilers, fender flares (wheel arch extensions to you and me) and headlamp covers known as eyebrows.

Summary of offers

- £2000 deposit contribution on Primera range if purchased through Preferences
- £1000 deposit contribution on X-TRAIL range if purchased through Preferences
- £1000 cashback on Almera Flare and Pulse
- £1000 cashback on Tino S
- Free insurance on Micra (excluding E)
- Peace of mind warranty
- All Nissan vehicles are covered by Nissan's three-year or 60,000-mile mechanical warranty, three-year paint warranty and six-year perforation corrosion protection. Twelve months roadside assistance - operated in conjunction with the RAC - is also included.

28/07/03

Nissan Production, Sales and Export Results for June 2003 and First Half of CY 2003

Tokyo -- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced production, sales and export figures for June and the first half of calendar year 2003.

Nissan's global production in the first half of CY2003 posted year-on-year increase of 6.8% to 1,435,661. The four categories of domestic production, overseas production, domestic sales and exports from Japan all surpassed the first-half levels of the previous year.

Production (June)

Nissan's global production in June totalled 248,429 units, up 11.3% over the same month a year ago.

Domestic production for the month came to 122,340 units, a gain of 13% over June 2002. The increase was driven by continued high production levels for the new Teana sedan that launched in the domestic market in February, the Cube, the Fairlady Z (350Z in North America) for the Japanese and North American markets, and the Infiniti FX45/FX35 premium crossover SUVs, the Murano crossover SUV and the Infiniti G35 (Skyline in Japan), all of which are marketed in North America. Another contributor to the increased output was the X-TRAIL, which completed a minor model change in the Japanese market in June. X-TRAIL production increased for both the domestic market and overseas markets, notably Europe.

Nissan's overseas production in June came to 126,089 units, up 9.7% over June 2002.
Output in the United States rose 19.6% over the same month last year to total 41,953 units, due largely to the production launch of the new Quest and the start of full-scale Maxima production. In Mexico, production came to 26,026 units, off 13.9% from June 2002 owing primarily to lower sales of the Platina sedan. Production in the United Kingdom totalled 30,587, advancing 12% over the same month a year earlier due to robust sales of the new Micra. In Spain, production rose 34.2% over June 2002 to reach 10,977 units, thanks to brisk sales of the new Primastar commercial vehicle.
In other regions, production in China jumped 48.5% over the same month last year to total 6,256 units, due principally to the production launch of the new Paladin SUV in May.

Production (First half of CY 2003)

Nissan's global production in the first half of CY 2003 posted year-on-year growth of 6.8% over the same period last year to total 1,435,661 units.

Domestic production in the first six months of CY 2003 came to 734,934 units, up 10.6% over the same period of 2002. Contributing to that growth were the Teana and the Cube for the domestic market, the Fairlady Z (350Z in North America) sold in Japan and North America, and the Murano, the Infiniti FX45/FX35 and the Infiniti G35, all of which are marketed in North America.

Nissan's overseas production in the first half of CY 2003 rose 3.1% over the first half of the previous calendar year to total 700,727 units.

In the United States, despite the switchover to local production of the Maxima this year and an increase in output of the Altima, production in the first half of CY 2003 was down 3.2% from last year to 213,870 units, due mainly to lower production volumes for the Frontier and Xterra. Production in Spain advanced 44.2% over the same period last year to total 59,772 units, owing to robust demand for the new Primastar commercial vehicle. Production in the United Kingdom also recorded growth of 1.9% over the first half of CY 2002, rising to 168,474 units due to strong sales of the new Micra. In other regions, production in China rose 84.3% over the same period last year to reach 34,614 units.

Sales (June)

Domestic registrations in June totaled 64,004 units, up 1.7% over the same month last year. Newly introduced models continued their strong sales performance, including the Fairlady Z, the Cube and the Teana, which were rolled out in the previous fiscal year, and the X-TRAIL, which received a facelift in June. Nissan's share of the domestic registered vehicle market in June stood at 18.7%, a 0.2-point drop from the same month last year.

Nissan's domestic sales, including minicars, came to 66,318 units in June, off 3.4% from a year ago. Including the minicar segment, Nissan's domestic market share in June was 13.3%, a 0.4-point decline from June 2002.

In the United States, Nissan's June sales rose 12.2% over the same month last year to total 68,799 units. The Infiniti Division recorded sales of 9,204 units, a gain of 32% over June 2002, thanks to increased sales of the G35 and the FX45/FX35. The Nissan Division sold 59,595 units, a 9.6% gain over June of last year, was driven by higher sales of new models such as the Maxima, the Murano and the 350Z. In Canada, sales were down 0.6% from a year ago to 5,997 units, and sales in Mexico were off 3.1% from last year to total 17,022 units.

In Europe, sales rose 21.3% over June 2002 to reach 50,832 units. That growth was fuelled by the increases recorded by the new Micra and by the X-TRAIL.

Sales (First half of CY 2003)
Nissan's domestic registrations in the first half of CY 2003 came to 412,174 units, up 7.5% over the same period last year. Several models continued to record high sales levels, including the Teana, the Cube, the Fairlady Z and the Skyline, including coupe model which was launched in January. Nissan's share of the domestic registered vehicle market in the first half of CY 2003 advanced 0.7 point over the same period last year, rising to 19.7%. Including minicars, Nissan's domestic sales climbed 7.8% over the first half of CY 2002 to total 429,259 units. For the first half of CY 2003, Nissan's domestic market share stood at 14.2%, up 0.9 point compared with the first half of 2002.

In the United States, Nissan sold 376,601 vehicles in the first half of CY 2003, up 0.3% over the same period a year ago. The Infiniti G35, the Murano and the Infiniti FX45/FX35 were among the new models that continued their strong sales showing. Sales in Europe rose 6.5% over the first half of last year to total 267,512 units, driven by robust sales of the new Micra and by brisk demand for the X-TRAIL.

Exports from Japan (June)

Nissan's exports in June rose to 60,189 units, a gain of 11.3% over the same month a year earlier.

Shipments to North America were down 5.4% from last year, to 20,699 units, owing to the switchover to local production of the Maxima in the United States, though robust exports were seen for the Murano, the Infiniti FX45/FX35, the Infiniti G35 and other models. Shipments to Europe rose 50.6% to total 10,958 units, driven by strong demand for the X-TRAIL. Export to China increased 61.9% from last year, to 5,104 units.

Exports from Japan (First half of CY 2003)

Nissan's exports in the first half of CY 2003 came to 337,552 units, an increase of 12.1% over the same period in 2002. Strong shipments were seen for the Murano, the Infiniti FX45/FX35, the Infiniti G35 and the 350Z to North America and total export to North America was up 14.9% over the same period to 144,258 units. Export of the X-TRAIL to Europe, the Middle East and Asia also showed an increase. In other regions, export to China increased 25.2% over the same period to come to 15,255 units.

24/07/03

Nissan Dunehawk Paves The Way For SUV Future In Europe

Nissan at Frankfurt means new models, new concepts and new ideas.

At a glance
- Dunehawk concept lays the foundations of Nissan's SUV future
- Nissan 350Z powers into Europe's sports car market
- More performance; more economy: more advanced diesels. 60kW Micra diesel completes range
- Fuel cell vehicle (FCV) underlines Nissan's leadership in alternative fuel development.

Nissan will underline its leading role in Europe's growing 4x4 market at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Among the star attractions will be a bold concept car, called Dunehawk, which hints at a future SUV direction for Nissan.

Dunehawk is a vision of how a Nissan 4x4 of tomorrow could look. With a bold and intelligent design, advanced technology and innovative combination of SUV and MPV, the Dunehawk is a mid-sized 4x4 aimed at meeting the emerging needs of the active family of tomorrow. Equipped with a second generation of Nissan's ALL MODE 4x4 system - first seen on the X-TRAIL, the Dunehawk combines genuine off-roading ability with no compromise in on-road performance.

The Frankfurt Motor Show will also mark the official start of European sales for the mighty Nissan 350Z, a totally focused two seater sports car which incorporates chassis technology developed on the race track.

The potent 3.5-litre V6 engine develops 206 kW (280 PS) and is mounted behind the front axle to provide the optimum static front to rear weight distribution. Drive is to the rear wheels. It gives the 350Z a top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) while the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes less than 6 seconds.

Fundamental to the growth of the Nissan brand in Europe, the return of the Z-car - the 350Z is the fifth generation of the iconic sports car in just over three decades - has already sold well over one thousand units across Europe since its debut at the Geneva motor show this year.

Central to the continued rise in Nissan's European sales is the expansion of the firm's diesel range. Being shown at Frankfurt before sales start in October, is a new 60 kW
(82 PS) version of the Micra 1.5 dCi, which follows the introduction of the 48 kW variant of the same engine earlier this year. The launch of the 60 kW 1.5 dCi Micra completes a phase of diesel engine introductions giving Nissan a competitive diesel engine option in every sector of the market - from Micra to the mighty Patrol GR. The diesel range now consists of no fewer than four different displacements: 1.5-, 2.2-, 2.5-, and 3.0-litre, with eight different outputs.

For the first time in Europe Nissan is also showcasing its future technologies. A fuel cell powered X-TRAIL prototype will be displayed, fresh from the completion of its road test programme. Being 100% environmentally friendly with zero emissions, Fuel Cell technology is widely tipped to be key to the future of personal transport. Nissan's pioneering vehicle will form the basis of an FCV which will go into test production this year.

The Nissan press conference at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show will take place on the Nissan stand (A 01, located in hall 3.1) at 13.00 hrs, 9 September 2003.

23/07/03

Yet Another Award For The Nissan X-Trail

For the second year running, the Nissan X-TRAIL has been voted the "best recreational vehicle" by top selling weekly motoring magazine, Auto Express, leaving the Land Rover Freelander and Honda CR-V as runners up - again!

The prestigious awards were held on 19 June at the Landmark Hotel in London, but we've had to "keep quiet" until now. Nissan's marketing director, Simon Thomas, was there on the night to collect the award from Auto Express columnist Mike Brewer.

David Johns, Editor of Auto Express, said: "The X-TRAIL blends a trend-setting exterior with twinkle-toed handling and swift performance. Add in the innovative interior and the diesel's six-speed manual gearbox, and the X-TRAIL makes a strong case for retaining its crown in 2003."

The X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines: 140PS 2.0-litre and 165PS 2.5-litre petrol, and a 114PS 2.2-litre common-rail diesel. There are also three trim levels, S, Sport and SVE, plus a special edition Sport-X. On-the-road prices start at £16,755.

04/04/03

Nissan Heads For Tunisia

After distinguishing itself on the Dakar routes, the Nissan Rally Raid Team will continue its Cross-Country Rally apprenticeship by taking part in the 22nd edition of the Rally of Tunisia.

An event of 2,175 km, where sand reigns supreme. A terrain on which Giniel de Villiers will be keen to confirm his excellent Dakar performance. After opting to miss the Italian Baja, the Team is returning to Africa and the desert. Under Alec Poole's management, Nissan will enter one car in the Tunisian event.

The duo of Giniel de Villiers and Tina Thorner has been chosen to take part in the event. Giniel knows the Pickup extremely well, and as well as the South African Off Road Championship, in which he will be taking part in a number of events, he will continue to develop the version used in the last Dakar by participating in selected rounds of the World Cup.

Tina Thorner, who was Ari Vatanen's co-driver on the Dakar, will be in charge of the navigation. Still in a learning phase, this change of co-driver is in line with a wish to 'test' various driver combinations.
This 22nd edition of the Tunisian Rally will not be a pleasure cruise, either on the navigation or the driving front. The schedule includes the famous El Borma loop, and a special stage around Nekrif, with numerous changes of terrain. The competition will also be extremely fierce; as well as the Mitsubishi cars, there will be a number of outsiders. For those who survive, the event finishes on April 13th at Djerba…

The Nissan Rally Raid Team will continue to develop the Pickup this season by entering four or five events before the next Dakar. The Dakar is a typical event, and to take part, and especially to win, it is primordial to have a multipurpose vehicle. This is why Nissan has chosen a number of events featuring varied, diverse terrains. This young team has to drive to learn. Tunisia is the first phase in this development programme.

23 Nissan vehicles are entered into the Rally of Tunisa. As well as the official Pickup, the private teams are out in force. They include Team Dessoude, which has most notably Yves Loubet in a Pathfinder, or Italian team Tecnosport with Edi Orioli in a Patrol. As for Pierre Lartigue and Dominique Housieaux, they will be at the wheel of a Pickup Navara.

02/04/03

Titivated Tino

Nissan's compact MPV, the Almera Tino, is being changed from the inside out with new diesel engines, one being the most powerful available in this type of car, and added technology including electronic climate control across the range. A rear parking camera and DVD satellite navigation are also now available on the Almera Tino - but not on any rival. The range has been simplified, the equipment tallies boosted yet prices still start from under £13,000.

Family friendly transport is the aim of the compact MPV and the Almera Tino is designed to appeal to adults and children alike. And particularly the driver in the Almera Tino's case which is why a revised engine line-up is central to this round of revisions. Compact MPVs and diesel engines go together like Harry and Potter … or Common and Rail which is what the revised Almera Tino offers, in a choice of two power outputs. The engines are a development of Nissan's 2.2-litre turbodiesel, now carrying the dCi moniker to signify their newly common railed status and with either 112 or 136PS. The latter is the most powerful diesel engine currently offered in a compact MPV. So powered, the Almera Tino will accelerate to 62 mph in
10.5 seconds yet still returns 42.8 mpg on the combined cycle. Predictably, the 112PS version does even better returning 44.1 mpg.

There used to be two petrol engines offered in the Almera Tino. Now there's just one and it's a 1.8-litre unit as before but with more power (115PS up from 114) and torque (163 Nm up from 158) for better performance, fuel economy and even CO2 emissions - the BIK banding for this version falls to just 18%. The 2.0-litre CVT has gone, a victim of economics, to be replaced by a four speed automatic boxed 1.8-litre that's not only much more affordable but also a lot less punishing on a company car driver's pay packet - CO2 emissions drop from 223 g/km to 199.

Nissan has also been making advancements in dashboard design with a driver control layout first seen on last year's new Primera which aims to reduce the ever increasing number of switches. It's called N-FORM and has since been incorporated into the Almera's design. Now it's the Almera Tino's turn.

A colour screen is used to display climate control, CD radio and trip computer information which are operated by 16 large and easy-to-understand switches mounted below. Top-of-the-range models have DVD satellite navigation fitted as standard and this is operated through the same layout - the only change is that the display screen grows to 7 inches. That same screen doubles as the rear parking camera display, as it does in the Primera. The rest of the Almera Tino's interior has also had something of a makeover with a much smarter look so it's suited for any family occasion. Or member.

Where there used to be six differently designated Almera Tino trim levels, now Nissan offers a simpler range of just three: S, SE and SVE. The price jumps required to step around the range have also been rounded off. Most affordable is the 1.8 S priced at £12,995; automatic transmission or the 2.2 dCi 112 engine would both add £1000 to this. Prices rise by £95 over the outgoing versions but as well as all the mechanical and design upgrades described above, the S also gets more equipment. Electronic climate control, a trip computer and a CD player to be precise. Not a bad stash for £95.

Safety has always ranked high on the Almera Tino's benefits list - the last time N-CAP tested crash tested compact MPVs, it came top with four stars. Versatility has also been designed in with three individual rear seats that move or lift out into
24 different positions and enough storage areas for even the most spoilt child (or parent). The SE version adds more of both.

Side airbags and active front headrests join the safety list while seat back tables and a storage drawer under the front passenger seat add more versatility. Rather more enticing, though, are the SE's rear parking camera, plusher seat fabric, rear electric windows, an electric tilt/slide sunroof and 15" alloy wheels. All this for an extra £1000 over the S. And for an extra £350 over the price of the 2.2 dCi 112 SE, the more powerful 136PS dCi engine is available.

But for the ultimate in compact MPV luxury, consider the Almera Tino SVE. Available in 1.8-litre manual or automatic and both versions of the 2.2 dCi, it's priced at £2000 more than the equivalent SE. In return, Nissan adds DVD satellite navigation, 16" alloy wheels, leather rimmed steering wheel, front fog lamps, Electronic Stability Programme and leather/Alcantara seat trim which, being wipe-cleanable, is more family friendly than you might think.

All these revisions and not a mention yet of exterior styling changes. That's because you'd have to be very intimately acquainted with the Almera Tino to spot them. The S and SVE wheel designs are new, the badges are Nissan's latest style, the colour range has been borrowed from the revised Almera, and the headlamp lenses have gone one-piece projector. And that's it. After all, as far as these changes are concerned, it's what's inside that counts… Note, optional (sick) buckets that fit into the rear floor storage compartments are a dealer fit accessory.

26/03/03

Nissan Launches New LPG Primera With Full Manufacturer Warranty

Nissan has launched a range of LPG Primera models to meet the demand from drivers and companies alike that want to take advantage of the cost and environmental benefits of gas power.

The conversion is available on the four, five door and estate versions of the 1.8 SE Primera and most importantly carries a full three-year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty.

With a litre of LPG costing around 39 pence compared to around 79 pence per litre of unleaded petrol, the Primera driver could reduce his/her annual fuel costs by nearly half. This could reduce still further if you have access to bunkered fuel, which can cost less than 30 pence per litre.

Nissan has qualified for a 70% grant towards the cost of the conversion through Powershift, which leaves the 1.8 Primera SE costing just £1047.83 over and above the price of a standard 1.8 petrol model. Most importantly for drivers who make regular trips in and out of the new London congestion charging zone, the LPG Primera is exempt from the £5 daily congestion charge. Prices for the LPG converted models are:
Nissan LPG Primera 4/5 door SE £16,747
Nissan LPG Primera estate SE £17,747
(costs are inclusive of Powershift grant)

For tax conscious company car drivers the Primera's 155g/km CO2 emission level means the car will only incur tax at 15% of the list price, the lowest taxable level. A 22% tax-payer will pay just £548.19 in tax per annum for the five door LPG Primera and £581.96 for the estate. A 40% tax-payer will pay £996.72 and £1056.72 respectively for five door and estate models.

The LPG is housed in a 59-litre tank, which sits in the bottom of the boot space in place of the spare wheel. That leaves the boot space intact and allows the rear seats to be split and folded in the normal manner. With an Extra Urban fuel consumption figure of 37.1mpg, the Primera is capable of covering over 480 miles on gas alone. In addition, a 62-litre petrol fuel tank is fitted to the car giving the Primera an impressive range between visits to the fuel station.

Drivers have the option of putting the spare wheel in the boot or opting for an instant tyre repair aerosol, which enables you to inflate the tyre and drive to the nearest tyre centre or dealer for assistance.

The conversion fitted to the Primera is the proven Pharon sequential LPG system. This provides a precision controlled fuel injection ensuring seamless integration with the Primera's existing engine management system.

MSD Special Vehicle Engineering will undertake all LPG conversions on a special production line in Bletchley. MSD has been working on LPG conversions for the past three years and also has a pedigree as one of the UK's leading rally car preparation companies.

'More and more fleets are looking at LPG because of its financial and environmental benefits,' said Dave Murfitt, Nissan's Fleet Sales Director.

'The LPG combines all the benefits of the standard Primera with the addition of a full warrantied LPG conversion. We will evaluate the take-up on this model and then look at expanding our range of LPG models further in the future,' he added.

PRIMERA LPG SPECIFICATION
Fuel Economy
Urban mpg 22.2
Extra Urban mpg 37.1
Combined mpg 29.8
CO2 Emissions g/km 155
Maximum Speed mph 112
Kerb Weight kg plus 66
(above standard vehicle)
Editors Note:
The total cost of the LPG conversion £2344 inc. VAT
The 70% grant is payable on the conversion cost excluding VAT

20/03/03

Micra Accessitude

The Nissan Micra's own language of blending words to describe its character has now been added to with ACCESSITUDE - accessories to match your attitude.

A full range of items for Micra owners has been developed by Nissan, ranging from headlamp covers to potato peelers and from DVD players to frisbees. All provide a unique style combined with functional attributes.

Kids' time in the car is made simple with an ISOFIX child seat for ease of fit, safety and comfort. Connect up the DVD multimedia player between the front seats, place the popcorn in the cupholder and hours of screaming children can be replaced with the sound of Scooby Doo, Shrek or even Pokemon.

There's a choice of three types of satellite navigation system. The much acclaimed 'Birdview™' system which has a pop out and up screen provides the clearest view of the direction ahead. You can also choose from two types of arrow and voice based systems. Interior look and feel can also be enhanced with a range of silver or beige trims that fit around the instrument binnacle and air vents for a bit of down town Tokyo glamour.

Exteriors of both vehicle and human can now show off their individuality with some stylish clothing. Headlamp covers (for the car of course), alloy wheels and a full spoiler kit (available from July), not forgetting the mats and flaps, provide the vehicle makeover. Your body can be treated to a range of clothing which includes a sleeveless body warmer (known as a gilet…) that allows your arms to dangle free permitting unrestricted arm movement for trying out the Micra frisbee or perfecting your Micra kite flying skills.

The accessories don't stop there. They can brighten up every room in your household too. Cappuccino and espresso cups, slanted glasses, salt and pepper pots, a garlic press, bottle openers and can openers for the kitchen are all styled with Japanese influenced lines. Alarm clocks, a radio and candle holders could be for the bedroom or lounge. And, if you have a particularly long driveway - the Micra has a friendly lighting system which leaves its headlamp on for 2 minutes - you could finish your journey with a Micra badged torch.

So, a complete range of goodies and all produced to the same high standard as your car.

12/03/03


Almera In SXE Shock

Nissan is topping its recently revised Almera range with a new performance diesel version named SXE with 136PS of grunt, a six-speed gearbox, electronic stability programme and DVD satellite navigation system. It's priced at £14,500 with three-doors or £15,250 with five.

Nissan's new dCi engine gives the company an even more comprehensive diesel line-up. Sitting alongside the current 110PS 2.2 Di engine, still offered in the Almera SE and SVE, the new 136 dCi develops full power at 4000 rpm and 304 Nm of torque at just 2000 rpm. With a 0-62 time of 9.2 seconds, this engine will make the Almera SXE the fastest car in the current Nissan range - until the 350Z, of course - as well as being the quickest diesel in its class … if you don't count the £3085 more expensive Golf GT TDI 150, that is.

Despite this power, the Almera dCi SXE is as economical as you'd expect of a diesel. The 2.2 dCi 136, which is mated with the 6-speed manual gearbox from the Primera, returns 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle and produces a CO2 mass emissions figure of 161g/km. Company car drivers will be pleased to hear that the BIK banding remains at 18% (including 3% diesel penalty), rising to a mere 19% for the 2003/4 tax year. And if you get free fuel for private use, the benefit charge for this will soon be linked to your car's CO2 figure - more reason to drive diesel, preferably an Almera SXE of course.

The new range topping SXE not only features a powerful new dCi engine, it's also available with a 1.8-litre 116PS petrol unit. Both come with all the standard equipment of the Almera SE including driver's, passenger and side airbags, active front headrests, anti-lock brakes, a trip computer, electric windows and climate control… plus some special SXE gear. Headlining the list is a 7" colour centre display monitor with DVD satellite navigation system which will direct you all the way from Sunderland, where the Almera's built, to Seville, where it isn't. And the SXE's standard electronic stability programme should ensure you get there more safely - it works via an enhanced ABS system and traction control to increase stability by automatically controlling brake pressure and engine output. Finally, the SXE gets added show to match its go from 16" alloy wheels, a leather trimmed steering wheel, graphite seat trim, body-coloured side sills, a rear roof spoiler and a dash of chrome to finish off the exhaust pipe.

Four versions of the SXE are available: three and five door, both with the option of 1.8-litre petrol or 2.2 dCi 136 engine. Prices start from £13,250 for the 1.8 three-door, rising to £14,000 for the five-door; the three-door 136 dCi is £14,500 and the five-door is £15,250.

Here's a recap of what you get on the SXE:
Driver's, passenger and side airbags
Active front headrests
Anti-lock brakes with brake assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
Option of 2.2 dCi 136 diesel engine with 6-speed manual gearbox
Electronic stability programme (ESP)
7" full colour centre display monitor with DVD satellite navigation
Trip computer
Electronic climate control air conditioning
Body coloured side guard mouldings and side sill spoilers
Rear roof spoiler
16" 12-spoke alloy wheels and wider tyres
Front fog lamps
Chrome exhaust finisher
CD player
Almera SVE gets standard sat nav, too

Not to be left out, the just-demoted from top of range SVE also gets DVD satellite navigation. Unless you know otherwise, there's only one other car in the Almera's class to offer Europe-wide DVD sat nav as standard … and that's the Almera SXE. Using a similar 3D Birdview™ system to the one found in the Primera, information on 10 European countries are held on one disc, thanks to the increased capacity of DVD technology. And to clearly show all navigation information, the N-FORM display screen has been enlarged to a 7" full colour version. Prices of the SVE models will increase by £900, which is a bargain considering that some rivals are asking up to £2500 for a colour sat nav system.

There are eight versions of the SVE available, including 1.5, 1.8 manual or automatic and the 2.2 Di diesel engine, all of which share the same standard equipment. Prices start from £12,250 for the 1.5-litre three-door rising to £14,650 for the 2.2 Di five-door.

All Almera SVEs come with the following:
Driver's, passenger and side airbags
Active front headrests
Anti-lock brakes with brake assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
7" full colour centre display monitor with DVD satellite navigation
Trip computer
Rear parking sensors
Rear electric windows - four and five-door only
Electronic climate control air conditioning
Electric body coloured door mirrors
16" 12-spoke alloy wheels and wider tyres
Electric tilt/slide sunroof
Leather steering wheel
Front fog lamps

06/03/03

New Micra Wins 2003 European Automotive Design Award At Geneva Motorshow

The new Nissan Micra was honoured with the 2003 European Automotive Design Award from Designers (Europe), a division of Fontignies Consulting.

Dominique Fontignies, Chief Consultant from Designers (Europe) presented the award in the 'production car' category to Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Head of Design at Nissan during a ceremony held at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Designers (Europe) awards, which have been in existence since 1996, are unique in that the selection process involves only automotive and design industry professionals and students. In total, over 600 people from 30 countries took part in the voting.

Dominique Fontignies from Designers (Europe) said: "The new Micra was a popular choice among those people who voted. Nissan has developed a strong individual character for the new Micra. Its exterior design is both fresh and attractive, with many elements that are both elegant and original. Inside, the Micra succeeds in mixing functionality with innovation, and makes good use of original materials and textiles. "
The new Micra, which was designed in Nissan's Japanese and European design studios, is produced at the company's award-winning manufacturing plant in Sunderland, UK. Sales of the new model began in January, backed by a high-profile advertising campaign.

The new Micra went on sale in the UK on 15 January (23 January in Europe). So far, more then 40,000 orders have been placed.

05/03/03

Nissan Picks Up The Tough Jobs For Balfour Beatty

Nissan has secured a contract to supply its rugged 4x4 Pickups and X-TRAILS to Balfour Beatty, the international engineering, construction and services group.
Balfour Beatty has added 15 2.5-litre, 133PS turbo diesel 4x4 Pickups in a mix of Single, King and Double Cab bodies and two 2.2-litre turbo diesel X-TRAILS to its fleet so far, and more are due to be ordered in 2003.

The Nissans were equipped with hand-wash units via the manufacturer's one-stop-shop for special vehicles and have gone into service at Balfour Beatty construction and rail sites around the UK, where they are subjected to gruelling working conditions over very rough terrain.

As a consequence of the demanding lives their vehicles lead, reliability and speed of parts delivery was a major factor in Balfour Beatty's decision to choose Nissan.
Mike Brown, Commercial Manager for Balfour Beatty Fleet Services, explained: "Our site vehicles work under arduous conditions and we expect a high degree of reliability from them - we can't afford long periods of downtime if something goes wrong.

"We have previously had a number of other manufacturers' 4x4 pickups on site but were particularly impressed with the Nissan's towing ability, reliability record and torque. Phil Henrick, Nissan's National Accounts Manager, promised us an exceptionally quick turnaround on parts, so we decided to switch and, to date, Phil's confidence in Nissan's product and parts service has proved to be upstanding."
The hardy Pickups are well-equipped to withstand the rigours of site life and tackle the toughest of jobs. Their potent turbo diesel engine gives class-leading power and performance and a maximum towing capacity of 2800kg.

The selectable four-wheel drive system gives the option of high ratio two-wheel drive for everyday road driving, and high or low ratio four-wheel drive to provide optimum traction and towing ability on all surfaces. Standard automatic free running hubs mean that the driver can lock the front wheel hubs for off road driving without leaving the vehicle - a useful feature on a busy, messy site.

The capacious X-TRAILs transport personnel on and off-site in comfort, with their off-road capabilities allowing them to negotiate muddy, uneven terrain with ease.
"The vehicles have been very well-received by those who use them - they are strong workhorses and are doing an excellent job on site and I look forward to exceptional residual values," concluded Mike Brown.

17/03/03

Stop Press - A Zell-Out


Nissan GB's 2003 allocation of 350Z has been znapped up in less than an hour.

The company had warned that if you wanted a 350Z in the near future, you should get down to a Nissan dealer as close to the 3.50pm, March 17th start-of-ordering time as possible. Especially as only 450 would be available for delivery from 1 October through to the end of the year. And, yes, Nissan reckoned they'd go pretty damned quick as you'd expect of a hotly styled, rear wheel drive, 280PS two-seater sports car priced from a bargain £24,000. But not this quick.

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, log onto www.nissan-350Z.co.uk. You'll see this car is worth the waiting list. And while you're doing that, be sure that Nissan GB is doing its zest to get as many 350Zs out of the Japanese factory for next year as possible.