QOTD: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Nissan?
The news of Nissan’s recent financial trouble brought attention right where it needs to be: on lackluster product. In our most recent reporting regarding Nissan’s sales woes, I was asked in the comments whether I had any ideas for improvement. Well that got me thinking (and worked up), and it turns out I do have ideas, and they fall into three major categories.
First up is a culling of product. Nissan makes too many things that are old/noncompetitive/boring/bad/similar. The following listing covers current models, and pares them down into a new lineup for 2023 or thereabouts:
Versa, Leaf, Sentra, Pulsar Maxima, Altima GT-R, 370Z Silvia Kicks, Rogue Sport, Murano Rogue, Rogue Limited
NV200 NV NV3500
In the compact class, Sentra is available in hatchback and sedan, front- and all-wheel drive, and standard, hybrid, and EV versions. There’s a WRX competitor (hatchback only) called Pulsar as a distinct model offering. Maxima goes away, and Altima reaches higher with a Maxima trim. All-wheel drive is available on mid- and Maxima trim Altimas. The outdated and pointless GT-R and 370Z coupes fade away, replaced by the rear-drive, lightweight Silvia. Standard Silvia power is a 2.0t and there’s a Silvia K’s with a 2.5t. The Silvia’s platform is a light one, and is shared with a new Q60. The current FM platform is too heavy, and goes away. Small and midsize CUV action is satisfied by the best-known name, Rogue. Long-wheelbase Rogues are called Rogue Limited, and there’s an optional performance trim, SR. Pathfinder is reworked on a new Altima platform, and is no longer lame (more below). All NV vans are now the 3500, and sold in cargo and passenger versions. There’s nothing wrong with the NV, but there’s no need for too many variants or the Chevrolet NV200. Frontier is new and is the global Navarra, because Nissan knows it makes sense to send a modern truck to a truck-happy market like North America. Titan goes away, as it’s an expensive American-centric product which is a waste of money and will not compete with Toyota or even Honda.
CVTs are banished in all but hybrid and EV Nissan offerings. Transmissions across the line include six- and eight-speed standard automatics, as well as a six- or eight-speed DCT for performance models. The VQ is no more, as its paint mixer sound and thirsty nature (3.5 and 4.0) have no place even in 2019. Replacement mills include the 2.0 and 3.0 engine series from Infiniti, with and without turbochargers. Nissan was strangling its volume cars in order to restrict its only good engines to Infiniti, and that was a mistake. NV3500 and Armada use a new 5.7-liter V8, or diesel engines from abroad.
The new Nissan builds quality cars which drivers (not fleet companies) actually want. Interior components are not sourced from the lowest-quality Mitsubishi supplier. Paint finish is no longer in the orange peel realm. Suspensions are tuned well (like a Nineties Nissan), rather than being excessively harsh for a faux “sporty” effect.
And there’s the basic outline to save Nissan’s hide. At the lower end, Mitsubishi carries the cheap junk for people with bad credit. On the higher end, Infiniti has cars which are not from 2008 or 2012. But those two must be saved another day. How would you save Nissan?
[Images: Nissan, Chris Tonn/TTAC]