Nissan’s reach, positioning and product offerings make it one of the most exciting and innovative automobile manufacturers in years.
To say that Nissan has been busy would be an understatement. They have proven themselves to be one of the most nimble and strategic carmakers in recent years, and under the stewardship of Carlos Ghosn [pronounced “goan”], their products are hitting a chord with consumers in totally unexpected ways all across the globe.
It may be that Nissan simply chooses to approach the automotive sector from a different perspective than other manufacturers. For one thing, Nissan Motor Company is part of an alliance with Renault Groupe, the renowned French automaker that was founded in 1899.
Ghosn has always insisted the alliance has worked favourably for both manufacturers, shaving research and development costs while sharing numerous other advantages such as platforms, technology, distribution networks, parts and more.
Just last week, Nissan bought a controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors, as the much smaller Japanese car manufacturer tried to ward off scandal and disrepute due to overstating fuel-efficiency reports on certain models. The investigation has since widened on the admission that such “errors” date back nearly 25 years. The CEO of Mitsubishi has since resigned.
Nissan’s new stake, however, gives it much broader access to Asian markets, something that had eluded Nissan up until now, and quite likely gives Renault a crack at the business as well. Also, Ghosn’s insistence and experience in working under an alliance framework, rather than adopting the take-over mentality associated with corporate mergers, may ease the change without damaging Mitsubishi’s strengths.
Ghosn has proven, through the mutally beneficial arrangement of Renault-Nissan, that an alliance can work without disrupting the culture of either business. Together, they sold more than 8 million cars in 2015, making them the number four automaker in the world. With the addition of Mitsubishi, they will soon compete with VW Group and Toyota as the largest in the world.
Providing the deal meets with regulators’ approval, the group will effectively become a part of the “new” big three.
Long ago, Ghosn solidified his reputation as a turn-around specialist, having worked for Michelin, the French tire manufacturer, for 18 years and dramatically improving the company’s business in Latin America and the U.S. In 1996, he was recruited by Renault, and three years later the French automaker bought a controlling interest in Nissan.
We’re excited to see how this new alliance with Mitsubishi will turn out, but if we were betting on the outcome, we’d be inclined to bet with Ghosn rather than against him. So far his ability to seek out strategic partners and generate synergy among alliance members have been a success.
New Nissan SUV for North America
With the arrival last week of the new gasoline-powered Titan XD on our lot in Cranbrook, we finally could get our heads around the rest of the Titan lineup making its way to the Kootenays. The new 5.6L Endurance V8 packs a whopping 390 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. It’s also much more fuel efficient than that motor it replaces, sharing only the displacement of 5.6 litres and nothing else.
Later this summer, we also expect see the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada. It will have the Endurance V8 and a 7-speed transmission, along with some of the most luxurious appointments and advanced safety features ever offered in a full-size SUV.
If you begin to feel that the new Armada has a whiff of the familiar, then you’d be correct if you follow Nissan more closely than most. The engine is all new, but the chassis and design very much resemble the Infiniti QX80, a derivation of the highly reputed Nissan Patrol in the rest of world.
Stay tuned for more information on the new Armada, which we’ll post as it becomes available.