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Nissan - Are they in trouble?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    is a black guy, and he bought a 300 Touring edition last year, going partly on my recommendation to go and look at one. The first thing he said was that it looked like a Bentley. I can see it a bit, I guess, but I also see a whole hodgepodge of heritage Chrysler ranging from the old Ghia/Exner showcars of the 50's to the high beltline and chopped look of the '63-64's to the pretentious, upright grille that graced the front-end of just about every big Chrysler from 1974-1989. It even bears a resemblance to the grille my old '79 Newport had.

    But yeah, it bears a faint resemblance to a Bentley. So would a '79 Newport, if you had enough to drink! :P
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    " I think rapper 50 cent said the Chrysler 300 looks like a Bently"

    Yeah...but did he say it with a smile on his face? ;)

    Most certainly, certain makes and models appeal more to different demographics. Anyone should know that.

    Nissan is making stylish vehicles with broad appeal. As a poster above noted. Nissans first priority was getting sales numbers back and getting back into the black. Now that they have appeared to do that...they are addressing the quality issues more closely.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "I liked the early 90's Sentra, which ran from something like 1991-95. It almost looked too expensive for its class, and IIRC it was often called the "poor man's BMW". Then it was redesigned around 1996, and I don't think it's changed much since then."

    Yeah the early to mid 90's sentra did look a Bimmer from the front a little bit. Nissan has always used styles of German for a infuence of their(Nissan's) styling but not clear-cut rip-offs of German Cars though. The mid to late 90;'s Sentra had a mid-cycle refresh for 99 with the headlights I think mostly. I think the 00 Sentra had a short model year because a newly styled 01 Sentra came out in early 00 which brought us the current Sentra. The SE-R models(sport models) for the Sentra were introduced for the 02 model year. The SE-R models I think have standard rear decklid spoiler, standard tinted headlights and a different engine than the Sentra base models. A mid cycle refresh occured for the 04 model year with the split grille which I don't like it all and refreshed talights. I think its still too bland for Nissan's core audience even though its more distinctive looking on the exterior than the mid to late 90's Sentra. I like the way the 02-03 SE-R's look with the tindted headlights. Th back end is conservative looking I know. I also liked the mid-late 90's 200SX which was basically a Sentra sport model at the time with different back end styling than the base model Sentra's at the time. Yeah it was conservative looking but I liked the way it looked. What year did they stop making the 200Sx I wonder?

    "I think the Corolla really outclassed the Sentra when it was redesigned for 1988. Now that might have been one of the first economy cars that just looked too expensive for its class."

    Late 80's Corolla Sport with the pop-out headlights I remember them from when I was little. I liked the way that car looked too at the time.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    was offered from '77-88, according to http://www.datsuns.com/200sx/ Wasn't 1989 the first year for the 240SX?
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "I liked the early 90's Sentra, which ran from something like 1991-95. It almost looked too expensive for its class, and IIRC it was often called the "poor man's BMW". Then it was redesigned around 1996, and I don't think it's changed much since then. "

    I have one. It's not a well-engineered car. It's a base model, but equivalent Tercels and Civics of the day (the ones without power steering) drive a lot better. My Sentra has a lot of power for its segment though - the engine is the one good thing about the car. I guess my experience is different from some of you guys'; I've never thought of Nissans as being up there on quality. They're powerful, durable, and rough to me (and newer Sentras keep that reputation going).

    But I still don't think it's fair to compare them to Toyota on quality and service. That's too high a target for a company that's just crawled out of a hole. And they got in that hole while making the best-quality cars that they ever did... so what's the point of quality then?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Couple of things: the problematic Nissans of the early 2000s were developed in the late '90s when Nissan had one foot in the grave and it shows.

    The Sentra arose when the platform switched to FWD for 1983: B11 1983-86, B12 1987-90, B13 1991-94, B14 1995-99, and B15 2000-now. The B11 had trailing arms, the B12 got a true IRS, the B13 got the GA16DE, the B14 devolved to a torsion beam rear end and put on 200 pounds, and the B15 got the QR18DE and another 100 pounds.

    The B13 SE-R was the "poor man's BMW" thanks to the 7500-rpm-redline SR20DE and tighter suspension tuning, and is still better than anything sold in that size today (until Hyundai puts the Accent SR into production). For the B14, Nissan split the coupes off as "200SX", offering the regular GA16DE and an SE-R with a mildly neutered SR20DE. The SR20DE soldiered on in the B15 SE-R for 2000 and 2001 before being replaced by the SE-R Spec V and the QR25DE from the new Altima.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The old RWD 200SX went through three generations (S11, S110, and S12) in the US before it became the (S13) 240SX in 1989. Nissan reused the 200SX tag for the B14 Sentra coupes. The JDM S13 (Silvia coupe and 180SX hatchback) debuted in 1988 and was popular enough to be built alongside its 1995 S14 successor until 1998. And to make things even more complicated, the kouki (third) JDM S13 hatchbacks were also labeled 200SX, a few years after the SR20DET replaced the CA18DET in 1991.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    [Nissan] got in that hole while making the best-quality cars that they ever did... so what's the point of quality then?

    Great point. I think it's been shown that there is more than one way to earn a profit. Recent BMWs haven't been the most reliable vehicles on the road. Yet, people still buy 'em, and BMW still rakes in the cash.

    Obviously, there's more to the game than just quality. For that reason, I don't see the downturn in Nissan's reliability to be all that troublesome. At the moment, they have plenty of other strong attributes to keep moving the metal.

    The tricky part is this... BMW has cache and a limited number of competitors. They compete in a relatively narrow market. I think BMW can continue with so-so quality and get away with it. Nissan doesn't have that luxury. There's just too much competition in the mainstream. You have to offer products which are truly well-rounded.

    so, IMO, this thread is about 5 years too early. We won't see the impact of wavering quality until there's a significant backlash. That'll take a while to develop.
  • fljoslinfljoslin Posts: 237
    I think it was Snoop Dog who said the 300 looked like a Bentley. He called up the chairman of Chrysler and asked for one before they were available.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Chrysler 300 appeals to all demographics, but of course it is a popular car in the hood, usually seen with dubs and what not, but I see older White guys driving them too, in droves. That has been the key to its success, mass appeal.

    I don't think Nissan is in trouble per say because some of us (me included) don't like the styling of some of their vehicles. They just have a few chinks in their armor compared to Honda or Toyota.

    Nissan still doesn't seem to have much sense of style when it comes to interior design. Better materials have shown up in newer Infinitis like the M, but the design is still wierd with all the large buttons shoved in your face all the time. The G35 has never had an interior on par with Lexuses or Acuras, even after the G got its facelift it still doesn't compare, esepcially to the new Lexus IS.

    The Maxima and Murano still have cheapo interiors that escape media criticism because they're made by Nissan. If thew were GM products everyone would be up in arms (as usual) about it. I mean they placement of the gauges (like they've been laid on a tabletop) couldn't be any cheaper looking, and the hard plastics are terrible.

    This is true that proposed Sentra didn't pass muster in clinics and a re-design was ordered. Would love to see what the proposed car looked like!

    About the Chrysler 300, both Snoop and 50 put the car over with young folks. 50 had one with Lamborghini style flip up doors on a episode of MTV Cribs long before the car hit the streets and that is what started the whole thing.

    Overall I don't think Nissan is in trouble, but Varmit does make a good point about the poor quality of some of their cars catching up with them down the road. I've often wondered if this stuff would show up in those 3 and 5 year surveys.

    The problems seems to be traced back to the new plant in Canton MS, except for the Maxima...don't really understand that one because its made in Japan.

    M
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    during that so-called period of rugged durability, I actually had a low opinion of Nissan. I saw the tranny in my Mom & stepdad's '91 Stanza start to get weak around 90,000 miles, and then saw the tranny of their '99 Altima totally crap around 35,000. I also knew a few people with Stanzas and earlier Altimas with the 2.4 that would break or slip their timing chain and end up practically destroying the engine. I also heard of a few Maximas doing it, too. I had a bad enough perception of Nissan that, even though I really liked the '02 Altima when it first came out, I was leery about its long-term reliability. And often your own personal experience and perceptions will outweigh anything that CR or some buff rag would ever say.

    However, once their Altima got a new tranny, it's been fine ever since, and my Mom and stepdad are still commuting to work, around 100 miles round trip per day, and now has over 190,000 miles on it. They were thinking of getting a new car a month or so ago, and had it narrowed down to a Camry or Accord. In my Mom's opinion, "they messed up the Altima and made it sporty" :confuse: Well geeze Mom, it's a good thing that more people don't think like you, or Nissan would be screwed!

    In the end, I helped talk her out of a new car. Not that there's anything wrong with an Accord or Camry, but their Altima is still running fine but practically worthless. It isn't going to be worth much less in a year or two than it is now, and as long as it continues to serve them well, what's the harm? Plus, Mom's planning on retiring in about 3 years, and she didn't want to get back into a car payment this close to it.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "This is true that proposed Sentra didn't pass muster in clinics and a re-design was ordered. Would love to see what the proposed car looked like!"

    Yeah I heard Ghosn saw the proposed exterior design for the upcoming Sentra and turned it down. He made the stylists go back to the drawing board. I heard back a few years ago he did the same with the current Sentra when it was in its design process. I work with a person that has an 02 Sentra SE-R. It has great interior quality for a compact car. I can sit in the backseat comfortably too.

    "The Maxima and Murano still have cheapo interiors that escape media criticism because they're made by Nissan."

    No, Consumer Reports even said something negative about the interior cheap plastics in the Murano and Maxima.

    "If thew were GM products everyone would be up in arms (as usual) about it. I mean they placement of the gauges (like they've been laid on a tabletop) couldn't be any cheaper looking, and the hard plastics are terrible."

    First off I agree with you as a matter of fact when I sat in the current Pathfinder at an autoshow a year ago the interior plastics reminded me of old school GM. I did sit in the Murano and the plastics for the speedometer are terrible. As far as GM is concerned the cheap interior plastics in the CTs and thats one of the best selling GM cars in awhile. GM can also get away with cheap interior plastics too at times. The 97-03 Grand Prix had cheap interior plastics and it sold good. At the same time I'm not excusing Nissan's mediorce interior quality but GM can get away with the same thing at times too. I do expect quality interiors from a company like Nissan not GM like interiors.

    "The G35 has never had an interior on par with Lexuses or Acuras, even after the G got its facelift it still doesn't compare, esepcially to the new Lexus IS."

    I sat in the G and my impression was the interior was not good enough for a 30K car. Yes consumer reports I think pointed out the buttons for controls are poorly marked on the interior.

    "The problems seems to be traced back to the new plant in Canton MS, except for the Maxima...don't really understand that one because its made in Japan."

    No I think the 04+ Maxima's are built in Tennesee on the Altima platform.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    when I looked at the '02 Altima, I also looked at an Impala that day. Judged critically and unemotionally, one was just as bad as the other when it came to fit and finish, the overly-plasticky look, body panel gaps, coarseness of the engine, etc. However, the Altima was just packaged better. If you take a poorly assembled car and make it look cool and sporty, you can still get away with it sometimes. And the Altima sure seemed a lot more exciting than the Impala! Another factor was color. The Altima was a really nice green with a beige interior, whereas the Impala's interior was gray. Gray tends to exaggerate the cheapness of an interior, whereas beige tends to subdue it.

    So it's more than just build quality and materials. I mean, for god's sake, Nissan uses black masking tape as a trim part on a $30,000 Maxima! It doesn't get much cheaper than that! Unless you go back to the 70's when they often used cardboard for interior parts. :P
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    But on the move

    Nissan leaving LA - http://blogs.edmunds.com/.ee8d9b8

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "But I still don't think it's fair to compare them to Toyota on quality and service. That's too high a target for a company that's just crawled out of a hole."

    I agree they need time to get back on their feet from a quality prespective but they need to do it quickly.

    "And they got in that hole while making the best-quality cars that they ever did... so what's the point of quality then?"

    Yeah the quality was there but the exterior styling wasn;t. I mean they try to be as bland as Toyota in the exterior styling department in the late 90's. Trying to be like Toyota got them into a hole. Building a quality car didn;t them into that hole.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    often have a bad rep when it comes to service? I know Honda and Toyota pretty much have the quality down, but I've heard that sales and service can be a nightmare. From what little experience I've had with the dealer my uncle bought his '03 Corolla from (they actually LOST the car once!) it's not a very lofty goal to achieve.

    Of course, that's more of a dealer thing than a Honda/Toyota thing, and the experience can vary from dealer to dealer. Or even every couple of months at the same dealer, as they go through their employee turnovers.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Couple of things: the problematic Nissans of the early 2000s were developed in the late '90s when Nissan had one foot in the grave and it shows. "

    Speaking of early 00's Nissan's what were they thinking with the 2000 Maxima facelift? It doesn;t look bland but than again it didn't look as good as the 97-99 Maxima. The 2000 XTerra was the start of Nissan getting back on its feet. The 01 Sentra wasn't bad looking but the car needs more style. The upcoming Sentra faces tough competition with the Mazda 3 and revamped Honda Civic.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    that bothered me so much, but the rear. It looked like a Neon from Hell! The front was a bit overdone, though. Seems like they tweaked it just a little though, so each year it looked a bit better. And then along came the buck-toothed '04 to undo all that. :confuse:
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "Ghosn did what he had to do...sacrifice on quality to improve sales/profits. I believe Nissan had better quality vehicles in the 80's and early 90's. Now, the formula amoung many automakers is very superfical. Put, a nice powerful powertrain in a vehilce, wrap it in an attractive exterior styling...and hope most buyers don't notice the shortcomings and quality issues."

    Its one thing for vehicle to have quality issues in its first year of bodystyle/redesign but its another for the same vehicle to have the same quality/reliability problems in model year 3 than it does in model year 1. Nissan just never fixed their quality/reliability problems with the Armada, Quest, and Titan that existed in the first of bodystyle and the same problems are still going on in their second year of bosystyle. Honda, Toyota, and Mazda always go back and tried to fix year bugs in their cars. Honda has had problems with rattling in the current Accord and the Civic did have suspension issues in its first couple years of bodystyle(01-05) in the last generation Civic but Honda's problems are still not as bad as Nissan's quality problems in their Mississippi plant. I know the Titan, Quest, and Armada are in model year 2 but all them black circles in Cr give us enough info that Nissan's quality is just not good in some of their products. The 350Z where is that built in Japan or in the US?
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    that bothered me so much, but the rear. It looked like a Neon from Hell! The front was a bit overdone, though. Seems like they tweaked it just a little though, so each year it looked a bit better. And then along came the buck-toothed '04 to undo all that."

    My problem with the 2000 Maxima facelift was the back just didn;t match the front. Its seemed like the stylists of the 2000 Maxima just started with the front end of the 95-99 model and refreshed a little bit when in reality they should have just started with a fresh sheet of paper for the 2000 Maxima facelift. Andre, the redesigned 2000 Neon and 2000 Maxima came out around the sametime I think. They two cars did have similatiries in the back end styling. They differed where the Neon's back end was more slanted and the Max's front end was more square. The 2000 Maxima looked like the 98 Altima's big brother from the rear. The 04 Maxima I know some people that like it. I think its overdone style wise. My mom likes the way the 04 Maxima is stytled.
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