Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Making sure to be dressed appropriately I showed up in "business casual" attire as advised by the Nissan PR rep who had invited me to the Juke's North American introduction. I did need to rush into a local discount shoestore on the way from my hotel to 1 Rockefeller Plaza as I had forgotten my black socks at home. Throwing my white socks in a garbage barrel as I hustled down the NYC streets trying to dodge the raindrops I tried to think of what questions I might have for the designers and engineers.
Unfortunately I'd never get to ask these...
Cutting costs Nissan has, of late, planned these new model introductions outside of the traditional auto show scene. While having an open bar from 6-9 at the Morrell Wine Bar was nice, the location became very crowded very quickly and while I could place faces as being ones I knew from the Nissan org chart, the atmosphere was not conducive to inquiring as to the thinking behind the models design or where Nissan seems to be headed with a growing Euro influence.
John Davis from "Auto Week" on Speed Channel was there, though like most, he was more interested in consuming the free food and drink and taking up the room usually afforded two people in the small bar. The Nissan execs and PR staff and designers that were there were quite nice, I just wish the event was more about the vehicle and less about who can pick a good red wine and comment upon the salmon tartar.
The reception to the vehicle itself? The most common comment I heard was that it looked far better in person that it does in pictures. And I would agree, though I liked the pictures I had seen as well.
The Juke is quite small and short. At 6'2" the center of my chest is significantly higher than the roofline and the backseat is a bit cramped. The folding rear seats create an abundance of cargo room--sufficient for any normal weekend away or large trip to the grocery store or Wally World. The front seats however are normal in all size respects and provide plenty of room for a regular adult.
Without the designers or engineers to inquire with, many questions remain unanswered. There were no skid plates on this version, though skids have been named as an option for the Juke and there is a weird, floaty, wing looking thing on the dash over the steering wheel (see pic below). Whether its just a fancy way to reduce glare or something entirely different is unknown. Additionally, with the vehicle they were showing here still the right hand drive version I would have liked to inquire as to any potential differences between the U.S. version and any of the foreign versions, particularly regarding the engine options and its production location.
As a way to get the word out to some of the "corporate" automotive world that Nissan has a new model coming out and to generate some friendly, safe, vanilla news stories, an event like this is good. The guys with the large waistbands show up and are sure to get the news of your car in the NY Times or Motor Trend. For the thinner, more enthusiast oriented members of the automotive world, something like this just leaves us hungry...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Left at 5:20 this morning and made my flight by a whopping 10 seconds. Then a 1 hour 15 minute delay in Baltimore, followed by a 1/2 hour shuttle bus ride to my hotel which is just off of Columbus Circle (pictured above). For a whopping $100 the hotel is pretty solid. Centrally located, clean and safe (though small) rooms. I would recommend the Savoy Hotel to anyone looking to stay in downtown NYC and isn't hung up on image and names...
Its raining here and flooding all along the East Coast so I don't know how much sight seeing I will get in and may just take a nap. Regardless, I'll be back later with my report in the intro of the Juke from the Nissan event going on at 1 Rockefeller Plaza from 6-9 tonight...
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Again dominating the Japanese racing series. The Lexus SC 430s and Hondas just can't keep up...look for a big amount of weight to be added to the GT-R to even the playing field...Maybe they should do that in NAPCAR....Nissan's Press Release below...
SUZUKA, Japan, March 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The HIS Advan Kondo GT-R team withJoao Paolo de Oliveira and Hironobu Yasuda behind the wheel avoided all the spins and collisions created by heavy rainstorms at the beginning of the race to claim victory at the opening round of the Super GT series yesterday. This marks the second year in a row where the HIS Advan Kondo GT-R team has posted an opening round win in the Super GT series.
After a long off-season wait, some 31,000 race fans were on hand for the opening round of the Super GT season despite dark clouds overhead and occasional heavy rain. Spinning cars and contact were common at the beginning of the race in the heavy rain but Oliveira avoided all the carnage in his #24 GT-R and moved from 10th to 4th position by lap 2 in a car that had taken all night to rebuild after a crash in qualifying the previous day. After a brief Safety Car session Oliveira engaged in a fierce battle with the #6 and #1 SC430s as the difficult conditions continued with more rain falling. As the bulk of the cars made their pit stops Oliveira took over the lead and was able to extend it until he pitted several laps later to switch drivers. The team decided to keep the same tires so a quick pit stop saw Yasuda take over driving and he never let anyone get close until he took the checker flag at the end of 52 laps.
Despite qualifying higher up the grid the other Nissan GT-Rs in the race ran into troubles. The #23 Motul Autech GT-R ofSatoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer spun off the track in the first turn in the heaviest rain and required an early pit stop but finished 8th to accrue valuable championship points. The #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli also spun off the track at the first turn and was able to return to the race but retired on the 10th lap with mechanical issues.
#24 GT-R driver Joao Paolo de Oliveira's comments:
"After crashing and breaking the car yesterday, I was really eager to somehow make a recovery. In addition, because we chose to run on hard compound tires, it was difficult to generate heat in the early stages, which really restricted us. Being able to come away from here with a win is excellent. I'd like to extend a special thanks to the mechanics for working all night to fix the car."
#24 GT-R driver Hironobu Yasuda's comments:
"Because the tires worked so well in the morning's free practice session, team director Kondo determined that we would be able to run without changing tires in the race. It worked perfectly. In the first half, it was difficult to gain position, but I have to tip my hat to J.P. (de Oliveira) for taking care of the tires throughout his stint. As for my laps in the car, of course the tires, the chassis and engine all worked well. To win the opening round makes me incredibly happy."
The next round of the Super GT series takes place Apr. 3 – 4 at the Okayama International Circuit.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online atwww.NissanUSA.com and www.infinitiusa.com.
The executive made the first mention of Dirt 3 during an interview featured in the latest issue of Edge, E213, which hits UK newsagents on March 16 and should be in subscribers' hands now.
Speaking about Codemasters’ studio culture and its position as the last of the big British publishers, he said: “Really, it’s all about letting the teams just innovate. There’s some great stuff coming from Birmingham that’s going into Dirt 3, and obviously you’ve seen Bodycount.
“I guess in today’s world, every day you’re dealing with people from all over the world. So it’s a British company and the last bastion of British publishing, and there is some pride in that, but it doesn’t take control of your life. It’s about the culture we’ve created and making the best games you can. Dirt 2: brilliant game but it’s all American accents, so maybe we’re a little over the top with those. Maybe we should fly the flag a bit more.”
Addressing the company’s strategy for its racing franchises, Cheshire said that innovation is the key to success.
“There’s an overwhelming arcing vision to all of our racing titles, and Grid is incredibly strong, but we’re lucky enough to be in a position where we’ve got racing games in different areas. Dirt was a complete reboot – we threw away what was going on and redid it completely – and then we rebooted Grid because it wasn’t top gun, and then we rebooted Dirt 2. I’m not saying we’re throwing all the codebase away, but we’re throwing the thoughts away and coming out with something fresh and new. Because if you don’t innovate, you’re dead.”