The News for July 17th, 2020

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Nissan shows they’re serious again with new logo and Ariya electric crossover, FCA and PSA revealed the post-merger name of their new company, Honda reportedly adding NSX-inspired hybrid tech to the Civic Type-R, a new hydrogen transportation startup may not be a scam and will show a groundbreaking concept next month, the Ford Bronco happened, and your news for the week.

Nissan shows life again

new nissan logo

Picture this: the entire automotive industry is represented by a bunch of restaurants in a shopping center.

You have some that are exciting, modern, and meticulously maintained which constantly have full parking lots and 30+ minute waits. They’re the place to be and almost everything on the menu is exceptional. You try something new each time you go and you’re rarely let down. Brands like Volvo, Mazda, Ford, Genesis, Porsche, and a few others are like that.

Then you have restaurants that are still good in their own right but clearly aren’t the heavy hitters in the area. They’re known for a few good things but the rest is maybe a bit forgettable, but not bad. They aren’t the first places you think of but you eat there with confidence. I’d say Chevy, BMW, Volkswagen, and Toyota are like that.

Nissan is the neglected fast food chain that occupies a dilapidated 40-year-old building back in the corner. There’s potholes in the parking lot, nobody working there cares, and you only go there when you’re drunk and your standards are low. Every time you drive by you instinctively look over in its direction to see if it’s died yet, but it just keeps carrying on with its same, disappointing self.

A little further back in the corner of the lot, Mitsubishi failed its health inspection.

But Nissan has recently learned to take a hint from the awful sales and pissed off dealers as the construction barriers are being put up. After realizing selling the same pickup from 2004 in 2020 was maybe not the best idea, a massive four year overhaul of their entire lineup has been promised. They claim we’ll see 10 new models in 20 months and  we even got a little glimpse of that in a promo video. The very first car they teased in that video is this – the 2021 Nissan Ariya. It’s an electric crossover with the freshest styling we’ve seen from Nissan in years. That combined with a fresh new logo seen above are enough to show that they’re serious about this – and it’s about damn time.

2021 Nissan Ariya

Nissan Ariya

As automakers scramble to electrify as much as possible, there’s no shortage of electric crossovers that you can buy right now. What there is a shortage of is affordable (relatively) electric crossovers. I can only think of one. It’s a gap in the market that Nissan is targeting with the Ariya which will have a starting price of around $40,000 before potential incentives. Different powertrain configurations will be available and its estimated driving range is up to approximately 300 miles.

It launches with a 65 kWh and 90 kWh batteries which can power up to two motors. Front-wheel drive with a single motor up front is standard while you can opt for “e4ORCE” AWD which adds a second motor to the back axle. The Externally Excited Synchronous Motors can deliver between 215 and 389 horsepower and 221 – 443 lb.-ft. of torque to the ground. Nissan reaps the benefits of developing a platform to be electric from the get go by offering a flat floor for immense cabin space for its five passengers, but cargo volume will be affected by the dual motor setup.

nissan ariya

Like any good electric car it offers a full suite of driver assistance tech and a minimalist interior design. Unlike some other cars though, this minimalist interior isn’t barren. There’s a healthy amount of screen real estate with some essential functions bound to integrated capacitive haptic switches. The dashboard in this car is the single most interesting thing Nissan has done since they tried taking a front-wheel-drive prototype to Le Mans. And without offering many details, they say the center console is adjustable and will have a fold-out tray of some sort.

ARIYA

I hate talking about crossovers as much as you all probably hate reading about them, but this is one that’s managed to capture my attention because of the bigger implications it has. It’s the first sign of life we’ve had at Nissan in a very long time. The fact that they’re working to fix their issues is good. The fact that they’ve started with something this good is promising. Hopefully soon Nissan will be a brand that more people will come to first. How else are we going to get a new Z and GT-R?

The Ariya launches in Japan mid-2021 and will arrive in Canada and the US later that year.

[Source: Nissan]

FCA and PSA closer to merging, will use a shitty name

stellantis

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot SA move closer to making their merger final, they’ve updated us on one crucial detail: what exactly would the new name be? Simply calling it FCAPSA or some other massive acronym would be too easy and too confusing, so the two companies likely spent millions in consulting fees to a marketing agency who then decided “STELLANTIS” was a good idea.

Yes, STELLANTIS, the name which sounds like a drug to help control your cholesterol, is what the result of the FCA/PSA merger will formally be known by. They say it’s rooted in the Latin verb “stello” which means “to brighten with stars”. It’s a far more interesting name than FCA ever was, but it’s already been relentlessly made fun of by me and countless others on car Twitter. I only saw the same “ask your doctor if Stellantis is right for you” joke 50 times…. and I’m guilty of it too.

[Source: FCA + Groupse PSA via Jalopnik]

Report: Civic Type R could get NSX hybrid tech

Civic Type R Limited Edition

Now for some news that will help restore your faith in the world’s corporate leadership, the Civic Type R could gain some NSX-inspired hybrid performance in its next generation. The report from Japan’s Best Car and retrieved via Jalopnik claims a new Civic is coming in 2021 (which is not a new thing) and will quickly be followed by the all-new Type R. The same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will carry over but will have some help.

They say to expect two electric motors at each rear wheel to create a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive setup. It’s basically a FWD-biased version of the Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system that debuted in the NSX and is now found on many other Acuras. They claim 395 horsepower, which is 89 hp more than what is currently offered. Increasing the output of anything by 23% will produce some wonderful results. The questions about added weight and cost are valid and will be asked repeatedly until the thing debuts, but I have no reason to not trust Honda here. Personally I’ve been dying to see a powertrain setup like this in a true performance hatchback for a long time so I’m very excited to see what they can make of it.

[Source: Best Car via Jalopnik]

Hyperion has us cautiously optimistic with hydrogen supercar teaser

hyperion teaser

There’s some new electric startup that pops in the news practically every week. Most are quickly dismissed as vaporware but every now and then we see one that actually looks like it could be interesting or relevant in some way. That’s the case with Hyperion’s XP-1 concept which has been teased ahead of its planned debut in August. From what I can gather, it isn’t a company looking to steal money by accepting deposits for something that likely won’t ever be produced in any reasonable amount of time *cough* literally every electric car company on the planet *cough*. The XP-1 is clearly being billed as a prototype to show what Hyperion and, more importantly, what hydrogen is capable of. If that changes then I’ll call them out on it.

Hyperion | Space Technology For The Road from Hyperion on Vimeo.

Hyperion claims they exist to advance the use of hydrogen in three areas – energy, aerospace, and transportation. They’re keen to point out that many of the technologies they’re utilizing for the XP-1 are derived from their experience in aerospace and will be at a totally new level from what we’re used to seeing on the road. I couldn’t find much about the company online to know what exactly they do or how legitimate they are, but their approach to this XP-1 makes me less skeptical. They’re going to produce a concept and from there they hope to move the technology into the mainstream. If they get to that point, their energy division will help to increase access to quality hydrogen fuel at lower costs to America. That access problem is one of the biggest reasons why hydrogen-powered cars aren’t catching on. So a company that wants to prove they’re capable of fixing the root of the problem while also building cars for it has my attention. For now. Big grains of salt.

We’ll learn more next month.

[Source: The Hyperion Company]

Other coverage from the week: the Ford Bronco

2021 ford bronco 2 door 4 door

Something else fairly big happened this week. You may have heard about it. Ford revealed the extremely long-awaited Bronco family and it honestly seems like the biggest slam dunk of the year so far. The response I’ve seen has been more positive than Georgia’s coronavirus testing results. You can tell Ford put a lot of heart into this one. If you missed it, Kamil wrote up everything you need to know on it and William was one of the first to fondle it.

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

36 Comments

  1. So this week, my pickup started to make a very odd sound – kind of tiny/rattly but also grindy sound. It would make the noise at idle, but go away on acceleration and then return when getting off the gas. I could also reproduce the noise by turning the wheel, and it seemed to go away when 4 wheel drive was engaged. So home-mechanic-me self diagnosed it as a vacuum issue with the notoriously overcomplicated Ford IEW system. I had absolutely NO time to look into it, and figured it was probably going to require hoses and hubs and solenoids and who knows what else, so I had my crusty trusty mechanic look into it.

    Yeah, the clamp on a heat shield had rusted away. He refused to even charge me (although I did get him a box of beer for wasting his time with my incompetence).
    Guess that’s why I’m not an auto technician.

  2. So this week, my pickup started to make a very odd sound – kind of tiny/rattly but also grindy sound. It would make the noise at idle, but go away on acceleration and then return when getting off the gas. I could also reproduce the noise by turning the wheel, and it seemed to go away when 4 wheel drive was engaged. So home-mechanic-me self diagnosed it as a vacuum issue with the notoriously overcomplicated Ford IEW system. I had absolutely NO time to look into it, and figured it was probably going to require hoses and hubs and solenoids and who knows what else, so I had my crusty trusty mechanic look into it.

    Yeah, the clamp on a heat shield had rusted away. He refused to even charge me (although I did get him a box of beer for wasting his time with my incompetence).
    Guess that’s why I’m not an auto technician.

  3. “They say it’s rooted in the Latin verb ‘stello’ which means ‘to brighten with stars’.”

    They’re free to say whatever they want, of course, but that’s not what that verb means. It just means “to put stars in/on something” and does not carry with it an inherent reference to brightening. An English equivalent would be more along the lines of “bespangle.”

      1. It is amazing how you can tell this is quality television by just about everything in this photo. Especially the forked up alignment of the text.

      2. I haven’t watched this but is that Jewel Saite (Firefly), the Hologram Doctor from Voyager and Aquaman?

  4. I removed the Ham radios from the motorbike and took it on a three day trip up north. The radio experiment was fun, but took up all my cargo space, I think I’ll try them in the Econoline now.
    I found some awesome roads up country. One road I was riding up thinking, “I can’t believe this road is real.” Every switchback had clear a view of the oncoming, and there was no oncoming, and no bicycles. Pavement, camber, uphill side on the right, everything was there. Even the weather was perfectly balanced between the 40 degrees and foggy of the coast and the 96 degrees on the east side of the ridge.
    The next day’s ride was the opposite kind of perfect. Fully loaded on a 30 mile logging road that looked like it was Armageddon in the rainy season (and probably closed to the public) but was dry, even a bit sandy. Steep inclines with ruts from water washing through the clay. Flat corners with ruts from logging trucks but plenty of high center to ride on, occasional tree limbs in the road, or overhanging. No road signs, no GPS, no Idea if I would come out where I intended to, or at all. You feel like a minor deity after a ride like that.

    I was feeling like a dweeb for road riding my knobbish (less-than-knobby) tires so much the first day, but I made up for it the second day. If the hot tub back at base camp hadn’t pooped out I think it might have been the perfect three day, 700 mile trip.

  5. So this week, my pickup started to make a very odd sound – kind of tiny/rattly but also grindy sound. It would make the noise at idle, but go away on acceleration and then return when getting off the gas. I could also reproduce the noise by turning the wheel, and it seemed to go away when 4 wheel drive was engaged. So home-mechanic-me self diagnosed it as a vacuum issue with the notoriously overcomplicated Ford IEW system. I had absolutely NO time to look into it, and figured it was probably going to require hoses and hubs and solenoids and who knows what else, so I had my crusty trusty mechanic look into it.

    Yeah, the clamp on a heat shield had rusted away. He refused to even charge me (although I did get him a box of beer for wasting his time with my incompetence).
    Guess that’s why I’m not an auto technician.

  6. Nothing broke this week! Of course, I also didn’t drive anywhere. But, I finally pulled the trigger and bought a lift for the garage. Atlas Kwik Bay 7000. It’s supposed to arrive today in a very narrow 8a-4p delivery window. I’ve got a couple of beefy guys lined up and a pallet jack in hopes that will be enough to get it from the street up into my garage (slight incline on the drive), as the street I live on will not allow the promised full size semi to back it up to the house. Will post pics when it’s here!

  7. I read somewhere that the development of the Nissan logo was a two year process. It looks good, but…seriously? Then I see the “Stellantis”-thing, which I associate with Atlantis, not the most successful town out there. And why, why, why would you associate these cars with stars? Nothing in their common history that would make more sense and sound less like a drug, as Greg says. An ailing car business is phonetically trying to be associated with the…eh…flawless drug industry?

    Then I remembered, this is the result of a business branch fuelled by alcohol and ominous powders. The marketing and advertisement people I know like sarcasm way too much, and it shows.

    edit hæsjtæg savethemanuals, Hyundai has developed a clutchless manual gearbox. Is this neither fish nor meat, or something clever, after all?
    https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1128837_hyundai-developed-a-manual-transmission-without-a-clutch-pedal

    1. Perhaps cheaper than developing an automatic, but I’d be impressed if it turns out well as opposed to every other single clutch automated manual.

  8. Pet peeve, a capital “A” without horizontal line is a capital Lambda. StellLntis. Just like mixing somewhat similar Cyrillic letters into the spelling, random Greek letters transport the same image of ignorance and lack of cultural awareness.

    In other news, I bought a scooter helmet (found a deal in a real store) and expect the 50cc engine of the free basket case to run this weekend.

    1. The two sides don’t quite meet at the top, though, so it’s more along the lines of a virgule and a reversed virgule. Stellslashbackslashntis.

      Best wishes with the engine.

      1. Stellslashbackslashntis – That’s much better, thank you!

        On the 50cc, I’ll need your wishes indeed: I mistook the two downward hose nipples on the Dellorto as coolant connections for carb heating. Turned out it’s the overrun outlets, and they are working. I’ve dried most the internals, and damaged the gasket for the bottom chamber in the process and hence, will use some fuel-resistant newspaper or something…

  9. last weekend i received off a transporter a car i’d sold two years ago, a beautiful black 95 E320 coupe i’d bought from the original owner, and regretted selling ever since. never bought a car back, but the former coworker i sold it to told me (after i’d asked, but still) that he was thinking of getting rid of it anyway, and sold it back to me for the same price i’d sold it to him including a few choice repairs and a set of wheels.

    the first thing i did was take it for smog testing. it failed. i knew it’d be a money pit but i didn’t expect it to start so soon. dumped in a bottle of Techron, burned off most of the old gas and added some fresh 91, changed the oil, took it for the ol’ Italian tuneup, and am hoping for a pass this weekend. (i also ordered some new spark plug coils, but they haven’t arrived yet and i don’t really want to wait for them.) then i can set about fixing all of its issues. it’s gonna be a long, expensive year, but i’m so happy to have it back.

  10. Not much here, still plugging away at my friend’s wheel chair lift van. This week my Electrical Engineer friend and I continued to document the circutry to open and close the doors. I’m happy to say I think we found the problem! The main power connections on the board in the left, or second door to open were via .250 tabs soldered onto the board. Due to the tight clearances inside the mechanism someone had zip tied those two wires and the ones that go to the motor tightly together. The solder was broken from that stress and in fact the tab was so loose it could be pulled out. So we re-soldered those connections and it hasn’t not worked since then, knock on wood, fingers crossed.

  11. So out where i live in the Mennonite lands of Pennsylvania we have a very active Nissan dealership. One that never made any sense to me. I know that Nissan dealers always live near metropolitan areas and Moyer Nissan of Wernersville isn’t. Yet they do a wild business. Enough that they got away with renaming themselves a couple years ago from a name they were well known by. Out by me there are a ton of Nissans. It’s quite wild really considering Nissan’s aren’t what you would call cheap. They even sell a bunch of those butt ugly vans. I don’t even know how they are pulling that off. I’m guessing it involves a lot of drugs or smacking the buyers over the head because no one in their right mind would buy a full size Nissan van when it looks like it does.
    You would think Nissan is doing quite well out by me.
    Oh and off topic there is an ancient Ford dealership that is truly in the middle of nowhere out by me that does a decent but not great business. When you go in there you would swear that you are in a Ford dealer from the fifties. It reminds why I like living out here sometimes. They haven’t change the look of the sales department in all of that time.

  12. Surprised that Honda’s announcement this week didn’t make it into the article. Perhaps it arrived past publication on Friday. No more 6 speed Accords and no more Civic coupes. I’m sad on both fronts, but I understand it. It’s hard to justify a manual for 1-2% of sales and a coupe at 6%. They haven’t even built any manual Accords since December.

    Personally, I’ve got a new starter relay for the Ranger to put on today to hopefully cure the no start condition. I’ve also been shopping for it’s replacement, an early 2000s Tundra V8 4×4. Hoping to find one with under 200K that’s had a frame replacement by Toyota for under $5K. I love the Ranger, but the 2WD makes it a poor winter beater and I’d like something with more capability.

      1. Isn’t now a strange time to do that? The dangers of a potential recession aren’t averted, and that’s when you want to offer a small quality car for buyers who still choose new over used. I am also always surprised at how many of these populate the background street images in videos like RCG’s reviews.

        1. You would think that. But gas is stupid cheap in the U.S. right now, which tends to have a negative effect on small car sales (most people only think small cars are good at fuel economy and nothing else). And seeing as there’s little margin of profit in a small car compared to say a CUV, the manufacturers are dropping them.
          Honda isn’t the only one. The Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris, and the Hyundai Accent are all being killed off as well.

        2. You would think that. But gas is stupid cheap in the U.S. right now, which tends to have a negative effect on small car sales (most people only think small cars are good at fuel economy and nothing else). And seeing as there’s little margin of profit in a small car compared to say a CUV, the manufacturers are dropping them.
          Honda isn’t the only one. The Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris, and the Hyundai Accent are all being killed off as well.

        3. You would think that. But gas is stupid cheap in the U.S. right now, which tends to have a negative effect on small car sales (most people only think small cars are good at fuel economy and nothing else). And seeing as there’s little margin of profit in a small car compared to say a CUV, the manufacturers are dropping them.
          Honda isn’t the only one. The Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris, and the Hyundai Accent are all being killed off as well.

          1. I understand we might as well live on different planets when it comes to fuel prices (we’re seeing up to 17 NOK/litre – 7.14$/US gallon), but the business case is far from clear to me. The less choice consumers have, the better positioned should remaining competitors be. The Fit has a very strong brand name, too. And the timing could potentially be desastrous, despite low gas prices, as more fuel efficient and more city-adequate cars really should fit our times. Dunno, I’m not an executive and am probably wrong, but it’s an odd move to my mind.

          2. given how America has been doing over the last few months, you may want to adjust your consideration of our propensity for forward thinking, my friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here