Nissan reduces orders for some new cars, delays Murano CrossCabriolet’s debut

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 18, 2011

As the auto industry reels from disruptions in parts supply due to the March 21 earthquake, Nissan North America will limit orders for several new cars and delay the convertible’s debut, according to two sources. In addition, there’s a limit on orders in some colors due to pigment shortages.

In an April 15 conference call with retailers, Nissan said that these pigments are mainly red, blue and gray. Nissan is undertaking these limits to stabilize production operations after the Japan disaster.

Rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have also made similar actions. Sources said that Nissan informed dealers about its plan to change the factory production mix to shift more of its limited resources to its best-selling vehicles.

The people said that instead of April, the Murano CrossCabriolet could be delayed up to June. This model isn’t meant to be produced in high volume. Nissan is hoping that the innovative design of the convertible crossover will be highlighted in its promotion.

Nissan has been focusing on this message in its nationwide advertising campaign. Nissan dealers were also told that their ability to revise orders that have been submitted to the factory will be restricted. In addition, orders for about 10,000 employee and corporate vehicles have been frozen.

Considered as the first ever all-wheel drive crossover convertible in the world, it does not come as a surprise that the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is able to break new grounds not just in the convertible class but even in the crossover SUV segment. Sporting a design that has never before been seen along with a unique boutique style, it is something no one has seen on the road. It manages to combine what people enjoy in an open air convertible with what they love in a crossover. The Murano CrossCabriolet is officially scheduled to be unveiled to the public during the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show with sales at authorized Nissan dealers across the U.S. slated to begin sometime in early 2011. When people are asked what they think about a crossover, the answer is always that it is a vehicle that has the utility of a SUV and combined with the driving sophistication offered by a sedan.

This statement was shared by vice president and general manager of Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc., Al Castignetti. Castignetti added that with the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, a surprise third element is added to that combination which is that it offers more excitement to everyday activities especially with the ability for open air driving. Even with the standard all-wheel drive, the engineered convertible top, and even the room enough for four with cargo, this is a vehicle that is not limited to cruising areas like Malibu or South Beach, he continued.

Instead, it is also a vehicle, he further said, that one can use to eat out, run errands, or for a long ski weekend. This innovation started with a simple question no one has raised before. That is, the inquiry was made to determine how to overcome any of the functional limitations present in a convertible. According to Castignetti, while people love the experience offered by a convertible, no one wants to accept the reality of having cramped to no back seat, compromised trunk space, and the lack of flexibility for everyday living.

With the Murano CrossCabriolet, he added, versatility has been reinvented and people are thus urged to rethink what they believe a convertible should be. The new Murano CrossCabriolet manages to answer all these issues by the use of innovative engineering combined with an elegant design. One of the main concerns in designing the convertible top was on how to make sure that the traditional Murano silhouette was still present with the top up. They also have to keep the sophisticated and luxurious look with the top down.

However, in order to transform the body of the Murano from being a Crossover to becoming a CrossCabriolet, it was not only about removing the top as there was also a need to change it from being a 4-door vehicle to a 2-door version. As such, new front doors were made which are longer by 7.9 inches when compared to the ones on the Murano. Meanwhile the B-pillars have been removed while starting from the A-pillar all through the rear, the structure was reinforced.

Though the convertible top is made of cloth, a rear glass skylight has been added in order to have an interior that had a wide-open environment despite having the top down. Included as standard are the Dual Pop-up Roll Bars. Even with all the changes, the coefficient of drag remains near to that of the hardtop version of the Murano. The Murano CrossCabriolet has a Cd of 0.39 while the Murano has a Cd of 0.37. One of the significant features in the design of the CrossCabriolet is that the convertible top has a rather compact size when it is stowed.

While most standard convertible stowage design offers considerable space, the CrossCabriolet manages to expand both the cargo and the interior. The top mechanism is operated by hydraulics and even has an automatic power latch/unlatch system. These switches are placed on the door handle of the driver and on the center console. Once the top is down, the stowed size is in fact similar to the standard 2-seater roadster.

With the top down, the trunk has a total capacity of 7.6 cubic feet, just enough space to store two carry-on suitcases or even two sets of golf clubs. Once the top is closed, this capacity increases to 12.3 cubic feet. In addition to the distinct convertible top appearance, the exterior of the Murano CrossCabriolet also has front fog lights, and the High Intensity Discharge bi-xenon projector headlights that come with the automatic on/off function. There is of course the Nissan 370Z-inspired LED taillights with this model too.

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