Nissan: The World’s Largest Automaker!

Over the last couple of years, General Motors, Volkswagen, and Toyota have vied for the title of World’s Largest Automaker.

Last year, VW took the title by selling more cars globally than any other automaker and proudly wore the crown as the largest carmaker on the planet.

For the first half of this year, Nissan has quietly snuck up and overthrown the reigning king. Did anyone see this coming? Continue reading >>>

The Solution for Distracted Driving: Invented in 1836?

Sometimes a modern problem is best solved by looking into the past.

Distracted driving, for instance, is a major cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths on roads around the world. Automakers have attempted to address the problem by connecting our phones to our cars so we may continue to receive the constant stream of information from our screens to our brains while driving.

That’s not working very well, though. People are still using their phones while behind the wheel to text, browse Facebook, make phone calls, and more.

Nissan has a solution that uses a piece of technology invented in 1836, and it just might work. Continue reading >>>

The End of the Small Automaker?

nissan-mitsubishi-logos

What if there were no more small automakers?

The automotive world continues to consolidate, and large automakers either push the smaller ones out of the market or swallow them up as part of an expanding empire.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without small car companies, because they don’t have much of a presence in the United States. Suzuki left the market, Mitsubishi is a small player, and Subaru is only popular in cold climates. A few supercar manufacturers and startups exist to serve a tiny niche, but most of us are never influenced by their success or failure.

Recent news from the Toyota and Nissan camps demonstrates that carmaker consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.

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Nissan Takes Control of Mitsubishi

nissan-mitsubishi

Nissan will take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi after the latter’s fuel-economy scandal in Japan.

The scandal arose when Mitsubishi admitted it had falsified fuel-efficiency tests on at least 13 models over the last 25 years, resulting in a firestorm of negative publicity in its home market.

Mitsubishi said its investigation showed that company managers, under pressure to keep pace with fuel-economy rates reported by competitors, fabricated numbers while using procedures to calculate efficiency that did not comply with Japanese law.

The scandal has not had an impact in the United States and no cars here are affected. In fact, U.S. Mitsubishi sales have increased over the past year.

In Japan, though, the company is reeling, which has prompted Nissan to swoop in with a lifeline.

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Nissan Could Rule the EV Mass Market

Does the NIssan IDS concept preview the next Leaf?

Does the Nissan IDS concept preview the next Leaf?

Conversation tends to drift toward Tesla and its competitors when the topic of discussion turns to electric cars.

That happens because Tesla is a sexy topic. Its cars are fast, beautiful, expensive, and represent some of the most advanced technology in the auto business. Both mainstream and upstart automakers want to compete with Tesla.

Audi and Porsche are scrambling to field a competitor to the Model S, while Karma Automotive teases us with the rebirth of an early EV. But these are all cars that will require an executive salary to afford.

The real money, though, is probably found where very few are currently looking: the mass market.

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Some Used EVs Offer Better Deals Than Their Gas Counterparts

Fiat 500e used car photo

Used electric cars continue to drop in value. Willing to cut the fuel hose out of your life? It might prove less expensive to buy a used electric vehicle than its gas-powered counterpart.

The CarGurus CarValues page helped me do some research on the Instant Market Value of used electric vehicles and their gas-powered counterparts. It’s a helpful tool that helps you see the true cost of what used cars are selling for in your area in real time. (Your results may vary from mine based on geography and other fluctuations, because Instant Market Value can change as more cars get listed for sale.)

Fiat 500e

Let’s look at the Fiat 500e as an example. A 2014 model has an Instant Market Value of $13,445 for a used version with 24,000 miles on it. In this instance, a 2014 Fiat 500 in the Pop trim level will be less expensive at $11,929.

However, as the EPA’s fuel economy site points out, it will cost you $7,000 in average in fuel costs to drive the gas-powered Fiat for 5 years. The 500e has a 5-year energy cost of $2,500. It will take you only about 18 months to make up the difference. That’s probably worth it depending on how long you plan to keep the car.

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