AD #2482 – Nissan NP300 Fails Crash Test, Cost of Making an Electric Powertrain, BMW Improves Manufacturing with VR

November 20th, 2018 at 11:42am

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Runtime: 8:01

0:30 Nissan NP300 Pickup Earns Zero Stars
1:21 Wheels Falling Off at Maserati
2:20 Cost of an Electric Powertrain
3:39 All-New Toyota RAV4
4:52 BMW Improves Manufacturing with VR
6:04 Why Nissan’s Sticking with Passenger Cars

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45 Comments to “AD #2482 – Nissan NP300 Fails Crash Test, Cost of Making an Electric Powertrain, BMW Improves Manufacturing with VR”

  1. Ron Paris Says:

    Nissan is producing and selling “hardbody” NP300 pickups in markets like Africa where cost is critical and alternatives to driving worn out, unreliable older vehicles are limited. Of course these models do not meet the latest-greatest safety specs of wealthy industrialized nations. If they did, they would be priced out of the market! NCAP (and Autoline Daily!) are viewing this situation from ethnocentric perspective of a westerner and not that of a third world African farmer who would be more than happy to shell out the equivalent of US $10k to replace his wheezy old 60s-era pickup. Publicizing the deficiencies of the Nissan is one thing. Getting the government to deny the farmer the right to spend his hard-earned money as he wishes is entirely another!

  2. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Relating to today’s story about the cost of electric motors, I found this U-Tube which is pretty interesting on the assembly of Audi’s electric motor (its approx. 18 minutes but it is also pretty incredible). I guess the cost of those electric motors is after amortization of hardware to produce them.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m surprised that the EV transmission would be that expensive, relative to the motor and electronics, since an EV transmission is only a couple stages of gear reduction. Maybe the CV joints, etc, are included in that $500.

  4. WineGeek Says:

    I think it is a poor way for a car manufacturer to produce vehicles that they know are “unsafe at any speed” to sell in less developed markets. The basic design and engineering are already available so there is no development costs to amortize in these markets. They could easily incorporate the basic life saving structure for only a few hundred dollars not the thousands that are required for the advanced safety systems in the “western world” that are newly developed and cost a substantial sum that has to be amortized. I don’t see any ethnocentric bias here at all only a greed factor on the part of the manufacturer that deny the basic life saving designs that have been developed and paid for in these western countries and are available for free to Nissan factories in Africa or anywhere else in the world and probably require less than $100 worth of additional steel reinforcement.

    Probably that African farmer would be willing and capable of spending $100 or $200 additional to have the possibility of surviving a front end crash at 40 MPH rather than having their legs destroyed and losing the ability to farm at all.

  5. Brett Cammack Says:

    Head on, the white Rav4 looks like an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet.

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    I suppose if cost is the driving force over safety then vehicles like the Mahindra Roxor or any one of the many side by side ATV vehicles would maybe a better choice than a pickup. It would be interesting to hear the African farmers view point on this.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2. That’s impressive. They don’t use many employees, unless the robots need a lot of maintenance, which is unlikely.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The crash test of that pickup looks pretty bad, but a half-width 40 mph crash into an immovable barrier is pretty severe. These trucks may be replacing 1970s Datsun, Mitsubishi, and Toyota trucks which would be even less safe, by a wide margin.

  9. Lambo2015 Says:

    #5 Yea maybe Toyota should make a Star Wars version like GM did with the Transformer Camaro.
    Since all the CUVs look so much alike anyway they are going to need to do something to stand out. I really expect to start seeing some radical designs in the next few years as makers will try and break away from the look-alike SUV and CUVs.

  10. ChuckGrenci Says:

    On truck crash in 3rd world countries; I wonder how many revisions away these poor performing vehicles are from the present (safety meeting editions). At some point it would be more price effective to produce the newest version (instead of two). But on the other hand, and what Kit mentioned in #8, about the severity of the testing performed, these are low occurrence crashes especially when you consider the service they are going to be required to do, in and around the farm.

  11. Lex Says:

    All this conversation of affordability of vehicles like pickup trucks in Africa begs the following questions: What does the sales figures for the African Continent look like? What are the total number and types of vehicles sold annually? This includes brands and whether they are new or pre-owned. This might be a great set of questions as a starting point for a Around-the-World” look at the Global Automotive Sales and Marketing segment for AAH.

  12. Larry D. Says:

    1, 11 The African market is quite insignificant compared to the world (esp new, but also used) auto sales. Out of 100,000,000 (approx) new cars sold in the world a year, maybe 1-2 mill are sold in Africa, and most of these in the few countries that are not totally destitute. China by itself buys 10 TIMES the new cars that all of Africa buys every year, and even the two populations are NOT that different!

    The miserable pickup again reminds me of Ghosn’s nickname (Le Cost Cutter).

    As long as the poor farmers who buy this pickup are clearly told of its limitations (which I seriously doubt), I don’t mind.

    EVs should have much much simpler power plants than comparable gas or diesel models. Simpler to build and much cheaper to service and repair, with the only exception being battery whole or PARTIAL replacement. (see Tesla and its “bricks” of individual batteries put together, each brick containing 50 laptop batteries, I believe). Unfortunately, most buyers are myopic and ignorant and when they go shop for a new car they focus on First Cost ONLY and not on the total LIFECYCLE cost of the POS they buy.

    The new RAV4 looks much better than its predecessor. My neighbor to my right always had Rav4s, the first gen was ugly, the second much better, the last one it has now looks (up front) like the front end of a small landing craft. Maybe it helps if you ever take it off road, but it looks bad.

    And, last AND least, Maserati. (aka Lemon). I have several colleagues and friends who bought new Quattroportes and one who bought a cheapo (5-series rival) Ghibli. I am sure they all stank reliability wise, but I know for sure about the 2 Quattroportes, one was returned to the dealer and exchanged with another new one, under the MI Lemon Laws. The other also was terrible but at least spent more days on the road than in the shop.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In South Africa, the biggest new car market on the continent, the Hilux is the top selling pickup. The NP300 is #5.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    11 I googled it and got 2017 passenger car sales for ALL of AFRICA and they are really DISMAL, less than even 1 million, at 862.91 thousand. In fact they are not even growing, as one would guess that they are growing very fast. FAR from it, they actually PLUMMETED from 4 years ago, when they were 1.25 million. See the graph.

  15. Larry D. Says:

    14 con’t by comparison, China bought over 24 million new cars and the US 17.125 mill. There are a few others (Japan, India, Brazil and Russia) that complete the top 7 markets, with the last one Russia only buying 1.5 mill a year or so.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 Your friend with the Ghibli should have gotten a Chrysler 300, about the same car, but more reliable, for a lot less money.

  17. Kevin Anderson Says:

    … so with Nissan and Renault stock dropping, is there an opportunity for FCA or Ford to buy them or merge with them? Nissan, at least, has strong sales where FCA and Ford are weak (cars and EVs), so maybe a merger would be worth it.

  18. Larry D. Says:

    16 Of all the Maserati owning friends the one with the Ghibli and his wife is one of my oldest and best friends, a navy officer whose father and grandfather (both of whom I met!) were also in the Navy, from Arlington VA. His main explanation for buying it was that the engine is ’3/4ths of a Ferrari engine’.

    Over the years Pete and his wife have owned a 70s 2 door Buick Skylark, an MG or MGB ( the coupe/hatch), a Jetta Diesel and later a Smart for the wife, (she appreciates the ease of parking in Georgetown), and a 1989 7 series (735) which he still owns, probably (he still owned it in 2014 when I stayed with them for a couple days)

    I would never have compared the Ghibli with the 300. How are they “about the same car”? They are as different as night and day. At least if he bought the 300s twin the Charger it might pretend to be sporty.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    18 Oh and I forgot the enormous (1965?) Chrysler Imperial Pete got from his grandmother, I remember when I and my parents visited them in Arlington, which was our first visit to Wash DC back in 82, and Pete took us on an excellent grand tour of DC by night, with very knowledgeable comments about all the buildings and memorials we saw. He kept the Imperial parked on the street and some drunk or texting idiot totaled it a few years ago.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 I’ve read that the Ghibli uses the same old E-Class platform as the 300, Charger and Challenger. Yeah, the cars are much different in appearance and “character,” and I’m not positive at the platform sharing.

    Your friend Pete has had quite an interesting variety of cars.

  21. Kate Mcleod Says:

    Interesting that no one mentions the morality of producing a car that is unsafe anywhere. If you know that you are putting something on the market that does not have decent safety standards then you are consciously putting lives at risk. Period.

    Bad week for Nissan.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    20 Pricewise, the Ghibli competes w the E class (esp the AMG versions), the 5 series (which is the closest rival in overall handling and performance) and the more upscale A6′s.

    Pete has had few cars over the years, they believe spending $ on cars is $ down the drain (as compared to buying real estate and home improvement), only the Ghibli was bought new (a retirement present to himself perhaps). He is also better at fixing them himself than I am.

    At the same time, his wife told me about 10 years ago that they were happy because they got admitted to some golf club where Supreme Court Justices and other bigwigs play, and the fees were astronomical, 30 k or so, not sure if it was an initial fee or the annual one.

    THrough his father and grandpa he had a ton of Navy connections in DC, and was able to take advantage of them both early (Navy paid him to get a BA in Physics from Harvard) and later. We also worked together, his thesis fed into mine (he is 3 years older than me) and we even co-authored a few papers. He retired at 38 from the Navy, and after couple years in the Boston area, he became a top scientist and exec at 6 bill SAIC company.

    Now the platform thing: ROlls, until recently, under BMW, made all its models except the Phantom on the 7 series platform. I think there is sufficient product differentiation there so nobody would claim that even a RR Ghost, much less a Wraith or a Dawn, can be substituted for a 7 series.

  23. Lambo2015 Says:

    #21 VW had no problem making and selling the Beetle in Mexico until 2003 even though it was stopped from being sold in the US in 1979. May have been more about emissions than crash worthiness but I would bet a Bug would also get zero stars.

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    Africa has a few highways, Like being in the US in 1930s. Is it morally wrong to be selling a sub-standard (to US crash requirements) truck to the public in underdeveloped countries? I dont know how many crash fatalities do they have?
    Its probably not more wrong than to be selling them cigarettes.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 The Mexican Beetles got fuel injection and catalytic converters in the early ’90s, so probably met Mexican emission regs of the time. I doubt if they would even come close to meeting U.S. or European safety standards.

  26. ClassicBob Says:

    Amazing that Nissan is producing vehicles that completely fail the most basic crash tests. It makes me wonder how their new “Datsun” badged vehicles perform in the developing world.

    Suspect Renault-Nissan CEO Mr.”Le Cost Cutter” to have had some input in creating such dismal safety results.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 Crash fatalities/100,000 vehicles are very high in Africa. There seems to be no data on fatalities/vehicle distance.

  28. RickW Says:

    If the economy in the US is doing SO good, as previously reported, why are luxury car sales dropping off? (again, as you reported today in your Maserati report)

    It’s conflicting information. Millionaires get big tax breaks under this administration.

    And, as you you ALWAYS mention, sales of big trucks are a leading indicator of the economy and that class 8 trucks have been on a roll.

    SO what is it.?????????? Sometimes I get frustrated by a report of things are great one day and the next things aren’t so good..
    At least space out the reports so we have time to forget what you just reported.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The stock market is crashing, and about half of my investments are in mutual funds, so I’d be uninclined to buy a car right now, that I don’t need.

  30. Bob Wilson Says:

    Perhaps Tesla sales impacted Maserati?

  31. W L Simpson Says:

    hauling around a half ton batt pack is stupid!

  32. Bob Wilson Says:

    #31 – ‘Stupid’ FAST:

    2.3 sec 0-60, Quarter mile 10.5 – 2017 Tesla Model S P100D

  33. Bob Wilson Says:

    Is the electric machine costs based on the Borg warner, electrical machine, HVH 250?

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 From googling HVH 250, I learned that what’s left of Delco-Remy is now part of BorgWarner, and makes those motors. I remember when DR made millions of starters and generators a year in Anderson, Indiana, and employed 20,000 or more people.

  35. Larry D. Says:

    21 Oh get off your high horse and your moralities. Not only is this done by everybody everywhere else, but even in the USA, there are plenty of cars that are, still, after 60 years, almost ‘unsafe at any speed’.

    Many crash tests are done with a car hitting an immovable barrier. In such a test, a terribly vulnerable car like the (still slim after 30 years) diminutive Mazda Miata will fare almost as well as an S class. But what if it is a REAL LIFE crash, with the mazda having a serious collision with the S class? You would go to the funeral to the Mazda driver and passenger soon.

    I cannot believe a toy like the Miata is street legal in the US, but then again you drive it at your own peril.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    23-27 good points. Crashes per 100,000 miles are high, but the absolute no of crashes not so, for they do few miles.

    28 what on earth are you talking about?

    What “luxury cars” sales are tanking? Did you INCLUDE the Stellar sales of the Tesla S in this ‘new math”?

    What “US Economy is not that good?” It is STELLAR, the ENVY OF THE WORLD. Do you have clue one about any Econ Stats?

    29 Yes the stock market has had several bad days in the last few weeks, that have yesterday reached a point that they erased all of 2018 gains. Note, 2018, NOT ANY of the STELLAR 2017 gains, which, based on my own mutual funds, I thought were about 30%, but I just checked the market averages for calendar 2017, and they were

    Dow, up 25% in 2017, Nasdaq, up 28%, and S&P, up 19%. So even if you did nothing, paid no ‘financial adviser’, and invested in a cheap index fund that follows the market, if your 401k had 10 million at the beginning of 2017, at the end of the year you were AT LEAST $2 million richer. AND despite the recent drop in 2018, you STILL have that cool $2 million gain.

    The market drop is focused on the way overvalued tech stocks like Apple, Amazon, and those Frauds Facebook and Twitter and Google. Tesla has not fallen much, for the business shows would have mentioned it too.

    There was a similar drop due to tech stocks in 2016, and after a few months the markets recovered.

    Markets worry about uncertainty. Currently there are all the trade issues and tariffs etc. If there are agreements reached with China and the EC and Japan, the markets will resume their incredible, stellar climb.

    When I started working the Dow was 800. Even with the last few weeks of drops, it is still above 24,000. Don’t bet against the markets.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35 A Miata is a lot safer than a motorcycle, and motorcycles are street legal pretty much everywhere. Yep, you take your chances riding motorcycles, but I do that, though I lower the risk more than a lot of riders by always wearing a helmet, not riding while drunk, and rarely even riding at night.

    I suspect a lot of the vehicles in Africa, maybe a majority of them, are older ones brought in from other parts of the world. It’s certainly that way on most of the Caribbean islands.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 Yep, overall my mutual funds are up about 9%/year for the last 15 years, even with the “flat” 2018.

  39. Lambo2015 Says:

    #37 Maybe Africa is where all the diesel VW’s went.
    I think only a fool would buy a Miata, Smart car or motorcycle and think they are driving a safe vehicle. Certainly they know in making those purchases they understand they are sacrificing some safety for pleasure or desire. All motorcycle riders knows the dangers but still makes the choice to ride because its something they enjoy. You never hear a rider say they bought a bike because they feel so safe on one. Maybe the African farmer will still chose to buy an unsafe truck if its $500 cheaper.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the diesel VWs went to Africa, there will be some creative people finding ways to keep then running when they get old. They may get retrofitted with mechanical injection systems from 70s and 80s VW diesels.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Toyota Hilux will probably remain safely at the top of the pickup sales charts in much of the world for years to come.

  42. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Those African trucks are not unsafe, they are less safe. And if you want to conjecture; if the insurance institute decides (it’s happened before and many times) to change the test(s), and say, perhaps increase the barrier test to 50 mph, well, now many if not all are now considered unsafe. You pay your money and you take your chances whether car, truck, bigger truck, scooter, motorcycle, etc., etc.

  43. BobD Says:

    On the Nissan crash performance. If that video where to go viral, most viewers would not think, “Glad I don’t live in Africa” rather they would say, “I’ll never buy a Nissan” not even knowing the details that this is not a typical Nissan. So while the bean counters may say we can save a few hundred dollars per vehicle to sell a few pickups in a niche market, is it worth the damage done to the brand?

    Also curious if air bags are required in this African market, or Nissan just left them in as a moral decision.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 It looks like air bags are not required in South Africa, which probably has stricter standards than many African countries.

  45. akshay patil Says:

    I thought it is a poor way for a car manufacturer to produce vehicles that they know are “unsafe at any speed” to sell in less developed markets. The basic design and engineering are already available so there are no development costs to amortize in these markets.