According to a study conducted by the suburban Detroit RDA Group market-research firm, the quality of Nissan Motors Co., Inc. is equal to the Ford Motor Co. and the Toyota Motors Corp. Ford and Toyota have already etched a trusted reputation in the global automotive industry for several decades now.
The study conducted for Ford revealed that the Honda Motor Co. turned out the best overall results. Still, ‘It’s a big improvement for us,’ said Ford global quality Vice President Bennie Fowler. In the said study, RDA asked 31,000 new-vehicle owners to write down any problems they encountered in the first 90 days of ownership of their 2007-model cars and trucks from all major automakers.
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brand vehicles had 1,456 problems per 1,000 vehicles, as compared with 1,457 for Nissan and 1,453 for Toyota, RDA said. Honda was found to be the best in new-car quality, with 1,313 ‘things gone wrong’ per 1,000 vehicles, RDA noted. Ford’s quality improved 8 percent, compared with the overall industry’s two percent improvement.
The Ford Fusion beat the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord with 1,066 problems per 1,000 vehicles in the midsize-car segment. On the other hand, Mercury Milan scored 910 and that is the lowest score for any Ford product, RDA revealed.
The Nissan turn signal is flashing positive vibes. Lately, the Japanese automaker has been busy testing new strategies and coming up with fascinating innovations. At present, Nissan is testing a pedestrian-detecting system which is designed to warn drivers if someone is about to walk into the road.
The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is equipped with mobile phone technology and GPS (global positioning satellites) to send data to the car on the pedestrian’s location. Nissan is currently concentrating on researching which type of data is most useful to prevent road accidents, including the direction of travel of the pedestrian relative to the vehicle, and corresponding speeds and distances. It is also studying whether to visual alerts or audible warnings. The most appropriate alerts are expected to be integrated to the car.
Nissan has also announced its partnership with the NEC Corporation to make latest-generation lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are believed to be more efficient and environment-friendly than some of the present power sources. They will be used to enable a new series of electric cars and hybrids.
The Japanese automaker is also planning to unveil a production fuel cell car and an electric vehicle early in the next decade. Nissan also intimated its plan to make its petrol and diesel engines ever-cleaner. These vehicles are expected to arrive by 2012. “This is too difficult; a very, very high level,” said the Nissan head of technology Mitsuhiko Yamashita. “We will ultimately have to meet this, but 2012 is too aggressive. The timing is too tight,” Yamashita noted.