An Update on 3 Automakers: Nissan, Ford, Toyota

by Jerick Brooks - Date: 2007-04-21 - Word Count: 717 Share This!

Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, recently said, in a speech in Washington, Nissan Motor Co. will offer a diesel version of its Maxima sedan in 2010. It will be powered by a Renault-designed engine.

While fuel prices rise, fuel economy and emissions rules would continue to toughen around the world. Ghosn explained the decision to introduce the car was partly based on this belief. He said the Maxima diesel will get an estimated 30% better fuel economy than the gasoline version.

Still to mention Nissan, according to the first-quarter 2007 model-year Global Quality Research System report by the RDA Group, the automaker together with Toyota has the same quality of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Some reports say consumers might not believe it. But that was revealed by the said market research firm based in Bloomfield Hills.

For every 1,000 vehicles, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury brands had 1,456 problems. Nissan and Toyota, on the other hand, had 1,457 and 1,453 problems, respectively.

The RDA Group's report, released in the middle part of this week, surveyed more than 30,000 new owners of 2007 model-year vehicles after three months of purchasing them from the car dealers.

The survey did not include the owners of the newest 2008 vehicles, such as the Ford Edge or the new Ford Super Duty, as the research's population size. But new vehicles like the 2007 Ford Expedition and Fusion helped float the results. Ford stopped selling the said pickup temporarily to fix a problem that caused flames to shoot out the exhaust system of some units. Ford also delayed delivery of the Edge late last year to ensure top-level quality of the product.

On a brighter side, Ford Motor Co. said this week it had reached a preliminary agreement to sell three glass plants as the automaker looks to shed its unprofitable Automotive Components Holdings group.

The company said it reached a "memorandum of understanding" with Glass Products for plants in Nashville, Tenn., Tulsa, Okla., and its Vidriocar unit in Juarez, Mexico. ACH Glass operations employ about 1,600 and supplied glass for about 2.7 million vehicles last year.

Still on a brighter side, Ford Motor Co., according to Bennie Fowler, Ford's vice president for global quality, reduced its corporate problems by 8%, better than the overall industry improvement of 2%. He further said the company's improved quality will have a very vital role in their future marketing strategies.

Toyota, on the other hand, seems to have problems on Georgia Emission tests.

Some reports say Toyota is soaring high in eco-friendliness with its Prius hybrid car. However, this seems to be ironic for Georgia emission testing equipment. Toyota Prius hybrids are now being required to go through emission testing to complete yearly registration procedures. But these fail the test.

The emissions test requires that a probe be placed in the vehicle's exhaust pipe to measure the particulates emitted while the engine is idle or at the use of OBD-II to test 1996 and newer vehicles. The problem is that the Prius doesn't exactly "idle." When the Prius is "on" and at a standstill status, the internal combustion engine (ICE) is stopped. If the ICE is not running at a constant idle speed, the emission test cannot complete and the vehicle fails.

Initially, the Toyota exhaust system fails. Consequently, the vehicle itself fails the test.

For formality sake, owners must still pay the $25 testing fee for the aborted test even though all emissions tests centers across the state of Georgia already know that the vehicle will fail the test. Heather Abrams of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division says that the Prius must take the doomed test so that the vehicle information can be put into Georgia's system. Owners must take their failed emissions certificate to a GCAF Waiver Center to get permission to receive a new tag or call in with the code number on the aborted test.

Abrams says they do not want the consumer to have to go any further than necessary to get their tag. The state only gets 95 cents from every emissions test. Georgia is currently in the process of updating its system so that 2005 model year Prius hybrids will be accommodated.

Your Toyota exhaust emits particulates which people eventually inhales. The state wants its constituents' safety. So the Environmental Protection Division encourages its people to obey the policy.

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Jerick Brooks is a BS Computer Science graduate at Columbus State University. He has passion for anything car-related especially car racing. He loves writing and currently works as an IT consultant in a company based in Atlanta.

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