AD #1202 – Nissan’s $5B Expansion, Toyota Halves EV Price, Infiniti’s Next Q

August 27th, 2013 at 11:32am

Runtime: 6:07

Nissan pours $5 billion into expanding its manufacturing footprint in North and South America. Toyota becomes the next automaker to slash its EV price — this time right in half. Infiniti has a preview of the next Q concept, set to debut in Frankfurt. All that and more, plus Sean McElroy has a look at the latest technology from ZF.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily.

We start off today tracking the progress that Nissan is making in North and South America. The company is pouring $5 billion into expanding its manufacturing footprint in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, and will have the capacity to make more than 2 million vehicles by early next year. This includes the four-cylinder engines it will manufacture for Infiniti and Mercedes in the U.S. Nissan is also hiring an additional 10,000 employees as part of this expansion.

One of the ways that Nissan can justify its manufacturing expansion in the Americas is that it will be exporting a good number of those vehicles to other global markets. For example, it already shipped 900 right-hand steer Pathfinders made in the Smyrna, Tennessee to Australia and New Zealand and now exports to 61 other markets around the world. In fact, 14 percent of Nissan’s U.S. production now goes to exports.

We’ve been watching automakers cut the prices on their electric cars to try and stimulate sales, and now Toyota is the latest to follow suit. The electric RAV4 started with a $599-a-month lease, but Toyota just slashed that to $299 a month. Sales are woefully behind where Toyota thought they would be, but you’d think they would cut the price even more since you can now get leases on the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt for less than $200 a month. The electric RAV4, which was engineered by Tesla, is pretty much only sold in California.

Chinese automaker Geely says it will start selling vehicles jointly developed with Volvo in the U.S. by 2016. As you know, Geely bought Volvo from Ford a few years back and now the company hopes Volvo’s safety reputation will help it compete in the U.S.

And in other Volvo news, the company released a short video that teases the Concept C Coupe before it debuts in Frankfurt. It doesn’t appear to show much, but halfway through the video, four images are shown quickly that reveal a few close-ups of the car. And what a good looking car.

And speaking of Frankfurt, Infiniti released this image of the Q30 concept that will debut at the show. The company says it showcases the brand’s design language wrapped around a compact vehicle and that it incorporates the body stylings of a coupe, hatch and a crossover.

And Peugeot will have a new hatchback based on the 308 at the show called the 308 R Concept. It’s powered by a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a six-speed manual which cranks out 270 horsepower. It also features several carbon fiber body parts. Peugeot says this concept showcases the company’s desire to take the brand more upscale.

(Sean McElroy’s feature on ZF is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Don’t forget that our guest on Autoline After Hours this week is Jeff Luke, the chief engineer of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. It will be a great opportunity to learn how they went about developing this truck. But that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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62 Comments to “AD #1202 – Nissan’s $5B Expansion, Toyota Halves EV Price, Infiniti’s Next Q”

  1. Willi Says:

    Infinity yes … almost infinite

    PeuGo … how do you say that?

  2. HtG Says:

    Off topic

    CK, were you talking energy infrastructure over at Joe’s place? Care to hint a bit?

  3. Rich Candy Says:

    Re: RAV4 Price Cut. Read the news release twice
    and could not understand a massive price cut
    to stimulate sales combined with a restriction
    on selling the vehicle only in California. I’m
    in the market for an EV as a second car, but
    all the ones that interest me are CA-only. What
    am I missing here?

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    Infiniti/Nissan /Mercedes – So here’s the official inside scoop …… Nissan makes the engines …. Mercedes makes the platforms … to be badged as Infiniti’s ( the baby Q’s ) and Mercedes ( CLA GLA etc ).

    So be it . No CLA for SG . I’ll be damned if I’ll pay Mercedes prices to have a Nissan engine … good as they may be … under the hood


    Geely/Volvo … Too little …. despite Geely now claiming more development and production will be returning to Sweden , way too late .. equals Dead in the Water . Sales on the wane … interest falling faster than most folks bottom line … Volvo is about to become an anachronism as well as most likely yet another automotive icon to fall by the wayside


    HtG- 2 – Huh ? ……… I’m sooo confused … Joe’s Place ? ” Joe’s Garage ” perhaps ? …… Huh ? Where’s that ‘ Uncle Duke ‘ when I need em ?

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    #3 EV price cuts are due to the fact that nobody wants one . Well most nobody . The CA only thing being a result of CA’s mandates that EV’s become a higher percentage of the automotive population ..forcing the manufactures to offer EV’s there ….. despite the fact that … again … nobody wants them

    Why seeing as you’re expressing an interest in them does no one in reality want an EV ? Basically and fundamentally because …. they do not work … cost more to buy and own … and save you and the environment …. absolutely nothing

  6. HtG Says:

    4 Joe S.: it’s OK, perhaps I am mistaken

    CLA is cute, but really, that ain’t no Merc

    cf. ersatz v. echt

  7. Phoenix Mark Says:

    On EV, California has a zero emission requirement. As they all EB’s (as far a I know) loss money the manufacturers want the biggest bang for thier buck, so to speak.

  8. Phoenix Mark Says:

    EV’s not EB’s

  9. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Hey CK, do you here the news that the US Department of Energy is looking to give away er… loan more money?

  10. C-Tech Says:

    Nissan exports 14 of their N.A. production, makes me wonder how much in exports do the other automakers export from N.A., particularly the U.S.?

    It appears Toyota just wants to dump these eRAV4′s so they can start over or kill this vehicle completely.

    Geely better hope Volvo is still relevant in the U.S. by 2016 or it won’t matter what cars they bring in from China.

  11. GM Veteran Says:

    Really? Zed F? So, how do you pronounce the name of the black and white striped horse? Zedebra? Canadians are the only people I know that pronounce the letter Z as Zed. And none of them can explain why. ZF is a German company and my good friend that was born, raised and educated in Germany before moving here says the letter Z is pronounced Zee. Hmmmm . . .

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    6 – OK … now I’m thoroughly flummoxed , confused and completely in the dark …

    … but yer right …. that CLA sure as ____ aint no Mercedes in my book … or my checkbook … if you catch my meaning ;-)

  13. Phoenix Mark Says:

    From what little they showed the Volvo coupe looks pretty good to me.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    9 – And errr … considering who’s sitting in the Cat Bird’s seat ( ObamaClaus ) … this comes as a surprise … why ???

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    11 – Brits and Antipodes do the same with Z’s … and you’re right … Austrians , Germans , German-Swiss, the Benelux countries etc all say Zee … not that silly British Empire Z’ed thing

  16. HtG Says:

    12 smart gal

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    EV’s will “work” for 90% of most people’s driving, but most people want even a second or third car to be able to “go everywhere”. Then, you have this little thing of no place to plug them in, for those who would be most likely to want them, city dwellers in apartments. There would be more interest in EV’s if there were infrastructure to support them, but that costs money. It’s the same with CNG vehicles. There might be an interest in those, if there were places to fuel them.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Q-30,talk about a high beltline.I wonder how long it will be before the oem’s do away with side windows altogether.The stupidest look for vehicles I have seen in decades…jmho. yet another reason I love pickups….at least the oem’s haven’t given those the chopped look.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should call the CLA a Datsun and sell it for the right price, and they’d sell a lot of them. It looks good in the photos, but it’s not a Benz.

  20. ColoradoKid Says:

    19 – Amen …. +1 .. and …. the GLA IMO as well !!!!!


    HtG – Joe’s Place !!!! … THAT Joe’s Place !!! More fool me :( No …there’s a whole raft of damaged and missing infrastructure that IMO as well as others is standing firmly in the way of the NJ F1 race . Looks like I was spot on about Bernie trying to intimidate those NJ folks though .. seeing as he just did a complete 180 on himself ! Hee Hee ;-)

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    18 – +1 …. and errr…. you’ll never guess in a million years what I’m having a considered look at right now …. not a P/U mind you …. but darn close …. my Aspen notes may contain a clue …

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    Last Man Standing

    So with the Mercedes-Nissan-Infiniti facts coming to the fore … at present that leaves just BMW as the last of the non – badge engineered major automakers ( BMW brand only ) ..

    Except …. with the entrance of the forthcoming FWD BMW’s well …. ‘ Is that a Toyota under your hood or are you just glad to seem me ? ‘

    Its all over folks . In another 5-10 years at this rate you won’t have a clue what you’ve just purchased despite the moniker on the snout and the brand name on the dealers door .

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just say NO to both Geely (Volvo) and any Nissan pretending to be a Merc. I wonder how much of a premium they’ll be asking just because of the Merc name? This reminds me of the 190E, and how one MB service adviser I met once told me that he always steered people away from buying that thing! And that one WAS built by Daimler. I have been noticing a LOT of new Altimas around, a lot more than Accords.

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    Gas Prices

    They’re on the rise .. again

    As the Syrian rhetoric from DC increases by the moment …. so do the price of oil and gas .

    This ….. gentlemen …. could get very very ugly .. for a very long time … indeed .

    Hint ? Can you say Cold War revisited ?

    Pedro – Please tell me Fernandez Jr is over 21 … please !

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Zee and Zed….

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, here is your next car??–2014-Toyota-Corolla&utm_campaign=awdailydrive

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK 28 actually, Kit no thanks, the more crap they put in there the less I like. Just the other day I was thinking about a compact,4 door, 4 cyl, manual windows/locks, direct link throttle, simple radio and HVAC system, gear shifter on the column and NO freaking CENTER CONSOLE, no tire monitor, no driver’s aids whatsover. I can just keep on dreaming I guess!

  28. HtG Says:

    27 Im living your dream, Pedro. except the bits about the column shifter and console.

    Pebble Beach is waiting.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    Toyota once again messed up the Corolla as they did before the 2003 model by offering an archaic auto transmission for the entry level model, forcing you to step up in order to get the “best transmission” even thought the reviewer prefers the 4 speed to the new CVT (OUCH)! Ideally the best choice would be the 6 speed stick for those who don’t have the bumper to bumper traffic we have in so many places, I’d much prefer a 1997 DX with the iron block 1.8 and 4 speed auto!

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    can anyone think of another new car that still offers a 4 speed automatic? I can’t think of one. Corolla repeating history being the only one NOT keeping up with the Joneses as far as transmissions are concerned.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The trouble is, if you want the 4-speed automatic, you can’t get cruise control. If you want the manual and cruise control, you have to get the pricy “S” version.

    I can’t think of any other 4-speed automatics, except other Toyotas, including Yaris and 4 cylinder Tacoma. Scion xD, and maybe a few others.

    I suspect I’d like the CVT ok; at least I like the way the “E-CVT” works in my Prius, but I’d trust that old 4-speed a lot farther to go 300K miles. It will be interesting to see what mpg CR gets with the different versions of the new Corolla. They got pretty good mileage with the old one, with the 4-speed auto.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think the basic versions of the outgoing Silverado pickup have 4-speed autoboxes, but the new ones will have 6 speeds.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    This new Corolla has a much longer wheelbase than my 86 Camry, amazing how cars keep getting bigger and heavier. BTW I saw the interior shots at another website and it looks 100 times more upscale than the current one and than most of the competition.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It will sell well to the intended market. Most people, except for magazine writers, like CVT’s just fine, as long as they don’t break. I know a couple people with CVT-equipped Nissans, and they like them just fine. I suspect the people who buy the base Corolla won’t mind the 4-speed either, as long as the mpg is decent. I suspect a lot of after market cruise controls will go in those. Maybe not offering cruise in the base car is a perk for the dealers, who will make shop money installing them.

    I still don’t understand why they don’t sell the hatch here. I’m pretty sure even Canada will get it, and cars sold there are basically the same as those sold in the U.S.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    2014 Corolla

    Well ….. can’t say I’m in the least bit impressed . Seems like everything they should of left alone ( size etc ) they changed and everything they should of changed ( ride handling etc ) they left alone . Toyota’s Bean Counters no doubt getting their signals crossed …. as Bean Counters so often do .

    As far as the aftermarket cruise controls Kit speaks of … do todays cars with all their computerized over complexity even allow you to do an add on like that anymore ???

    Ahhhhhh …. tick another possibility off the list for SG today ( thats 2 today alone .. and we haven’t even begun test driving the things ) Not that after our recent experiences with Toyota another Corolla was much on the list to begin with mind you

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There have been some aftermarket cruise controls for cars with throttle-by-wire, but I don’t know who sells them. C-tech, do you know if they are still available?

    I suspect the biggest market for them on the new Corolla, would be people who really want that 4-speed automatic, and want cruise.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The nicer interior should appeal to Corolla prospects, but most Corolla buyers probably don’t particularly want a biggger car.

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – #33

    Todays cars have become like women’s shoe and dress sizes . Last years size Ten is now todays Size Five … last years Five becoming a One and so on .

    Its getting to the point where terms like mid size , compact , subcompact etc have become completely and utterly meaningless .

    I mean just look at the footprint of the CLA ( supposedly Mercedes Benz’s ‘ Baby ‘ Benz ) and compare it to my ( or even the current ) GLK . Now how in the H-E Double Toothpicks with those numbers does the CLA qualify as a ‘ Baby ‘ Benz ?

    Madness . Utter and complete … madness … all in the name of … well …. what ever their current excuse … be it safety etc might be

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had hoped that Toyota would be the one to hold the line on making cars longer. bigger, heavier starting with this all-new Corolla, but they missed the opportunity to set an example for others to follow, it may in fact push some traditional Corolla buyers away from it, to another brand or maybe even the smaller, more thrifty Yaris. At this point if I were to buy a new Toyota, it’d be the Yaris 4 door hatchback.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    there is a gadget that electronically speeds up the throttle opening, bypassing the factory setting for those who want faster, jackrabbit starts, so perhaps some kind of aftermarket cruise control could be on the horizon.

  41. HtG Says:

    Off Topic

    All I can say is, August is the worst month.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why HtG??? is it the heat? is it the fact that summer is ending? that new cars are not coming just yet?

  43. HtG Says:


  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As a kid, I liked August because it was the month of my birthday. Now, I’m less fond of being reminded of my birthday.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There are aftermarket cruise controls from, among other places,

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    $260 for my Crapola plus installation?? I’ll use my right foot, it’s already paid for, thanks!

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    The VW Micro Bus is dead .. snif :(

    So let yer freak flags fly and join me in a hearty … Long Live the Micro Bus … too bad those bean counters at VW don’t have the sense to manufacture the Micro Bus concept they came up with a while ago

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wouldn’t think there would be much market for aftermarket cruise any more. It must be mainly for cars like the new Corolla, that don’t have factory cruise in lower trim levels. I’ve installed cruise control in some of my cars, back when you couldn’t order it with a manual transmission. The most recent one I installed was in an ’83 Chevette. It was an all day job, given the speed pickup, power wiring, servo, brake and clutch switch, turn signal lever switch, etc.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    A moment of silence for the father of the minivan.

  50. HtG Says:

    47 Sad, as I recall your history with it, CK.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    What happened to the days of A la cart options? I remember ordering cruise control in my base model Skylark cause I knew I was gonna do a lot of highway driving. My 86 Camry LE came with it without having power window/locks.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I learned from that article that those Brazilian Type 2′s have had water cooled engines since 1982. I thought they were all air cooled.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM still had a la cart options in 1986. My ’86 Celebrity wagon had crank windows, manual transmission, a/c, cruise, bucket seats, and some things I’ve forgotten as free-standing options.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Meant 51, not 52.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Now you take them from the dealer lot or find one at another dealer, but most people want instant gratification, so they want to take it home the same day, no one wants to wait as much as a day.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, most people don’t want to wait. When I got my MINI, though, I would have been willing to wait for an ordered car, but the dealer gave a much better price on one in stock than they would have on an ordered car.

  57. cwolf Says:

    However long the Corrola has been around, the new one is no different other than the size and interior. Same engine, same std trans and, still, rear drum brakes! Ya gotta be nuts not to search for a used model. Drum brakes…geesh! I do like the fact that the engine remains naturaly asperated. What’s the price increase for the new one?

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf they can’t put too much into it, cause then the price will go way up and they will lose customers, it is a difficult balance between pricing and making it nice. I think the interior is really where they have made some major improvements.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t see anything wrong with drum rear brakes on a low performance front driver. They only do about 1/4 of the work on hard stops, so they will do the job without fade in any normal use. Also, drum brakes last longer than disc brakes.

    Yeah, drum brakes aren’t cool, and using them makes a car company open to criticism, whether the car is a Corolla, Civic, or Sonic.

  60. ColoradoKid Says:

    A La Cart options on cars ;

    Yeah they kind of went the way of the DoDo bird now haven’t they ?

    Even with MINI ( I ordered mine ) the A La Cart has way too many of the more desirable options bundled into this package or that …. leaving you with the option of either passing …. or taking on more stuff that you want or need or have any desire to pay for


    HtG – Micro Buses .. Yeah I traveled thru 40 of the lower 48 as well as Canada from Nova Scotia to BC and parts of Mexico as a kid in the ol mans Micro Bus Westphalia’s …. and then did it again in my own as a touring ( early days ) musician .

    Gotta say this … OT as it is … between just having watched ” The Company You Keep ” on PPV , currently also reading the book … and now the final death knell of the Micro Bus …. I’m feelin mighty nostalgic right about now ….

    Sheesh … I’m Only in my late 50′s and already ;

    ” What a Long Strange Trip Its Been “

  61. HtG Says:

    59 the drums on my Civic are just fine. Trail braking is easy; modulate pressure, feel, and accurately turn the car. Even though drums will fade sooner than discs, it’s the rare street car that won’t fade into a puddle if you push it on a track.

  62. ColoradoKid Says:

    Drum Brakes

    Gonna have ta go with HtG and Kit on this one . For smaller ( is anything smaller these days ? ) Economy Cars they’re more than adequate … especially in light of all the traffic etc .

    Maybe … and I repeat .. maybe I’d be a little concerned taking a drum braked car up the Colorado Rocky Mts … as the descents here in CO would more than likely cause a fair amount of fade on a warmer day … but other than that ….. Drums are just fine on the right vehicle