Auto Notes - July 2016
Big buy. Nissan purchased 34 percent of Mitsubishi Motors in May for a reported $2.2 billion and entered a strategic alliance similar to the one Nissan has had with Renault since 1999. The investment was said to have been a good deal for Nissan as Mitsubishi stock was worth substantially higher in April prior to Japanese regulators determining that Mitsubishi had been rigging fuel economy data on some vehicles.
Nissan, a global vehicle manufacturer with more than 60 models of Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands, has had strong sales in the U.S. and worldwide. The Nissan brand offers a wide variety of vehicles from the electric Leaf to a lineup of SUVs. The company employs almost 250,000 people worldwide and has annual sales of well more than five million units.
“This is a breakthrough transaction and a win-win for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors,” said Carlos Ghosn, chief executive and president of Nissan. “It creates a dynamic new force in the automotive industry that will cooperate intensely and generate sizeable synergies.”
Mitsubishi, which is considered a major competitor with its light truck and SUV vehicles sold around the world, including its Outlander PHEV, sold 1,048,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2015. The company employs 30,000 people with production facilities in Japan, China, the Philippines, Thailand, and Russia.
BRZ updates. Subaru of America has announced that its 2017 BRZ model has substantial enhancements that include improved performance and handling. A new performance package includes Bremco brakes and SACHS Performance shock absorbers, refined exterior design, updated interior styling, standard LED headlamps and tail lamps, plus the new Subaru Track Mode, an advanced traction control system formerly called Sport Mode.
The new BRZ engine is a 2.0-L Boxer with new valves, camshaft, cylinder heads, aluminum intake manifold, plus a redesign exhaust manifold. With models mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the BRZ now offers 205-HP and 156 lbs.-ft. of torque.
All trims in the new BRZ will have an aluminum rear spoiler in matching body paint that improves the vehicle’s downforce, allowing for improved stability and control. The Premium and Limited BRZ models will have 10-spoke, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
The Premium and Limited models of the BRZ begin arriving in dealerships in early September. Limited models with the performance package are scheduled for winter 2017 delivery.
Jaguar event. In late May, Jaguar Land Rover dealers across the country hosted special events to showcase the new Jaguar XE and the automaker’s first-ever luxury performance SUV, the F-PACE.
The F-PACE is available with a 380-HP supercharged V-6 engine, or a 2.0-L Ingenium turbocharged diesel. The latter is a new breed of engine that Jaguar said is designed for effortless performance and refinement. The computer-controlled, adaptive engine cooling only engages as required, and the new generation variable geometry turbocharger maximizes peak power for low speed torque and responsiveness.
The Jaguar-designed All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC) allows the F-PACE to handle challenging driving conditions from snow to ice, and includes an Adaptive Surface Response System.
GMC offerings. GMC has announced a new gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailering prep package and trailering camera system for select models of the 2016 Sierra. The package features a frame-mounted hitch platform and tray that accommodates a gooseneck ball hitch or fifth-wheel hitch mounting brackets.
GMC also announced the availability of the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition, a chrome-trimmed special edition. It includes 22-inch chrome wheels, unique design chrome grille, bright chrome body-side moldings, and polished exhaust tips.
Reinvented Pacifica. Many in the industry believe the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica offers the most comprehensive equipment of any minivan in the market, and the “reinvented” unit may just be that and more. Chrysler calls it the “most innovative minivan in its class” as it offers such features as eight passenger seating, hands-free sliding doors and liftgate, hybrid technology, Stow ‘n Go seating and storage, and the Uconnect Theater package among its extensive list of equipment.
The Pacifica offers a 3.6-L Pentastar V-6 engine with highway mileage of 28 MPG, or a hybrid model that achieves 80 MPGe, the best-in-class horsepower and torque.
Also the most technologically advanced minivan in its class, the all-new Pacifica provides more than 100 standard and available safety features, Active Noise Cancellation, plus the most advanced entertainment system in its class with the available Uconnect Theater. The Uconnect Theater features a dual screen entertainment system with both Blu-ray and USB video input, as well as a variety of other connectivity features.