A new Nissan compact car will start production at its Barcelona, Spain plant, disappointing French unions who have been hoping that production of this model will be assigned in one of Renault’s plants in France. In a statement last Monday, Nissan said that it will make a 130 million euros ($178 million) investment in the Barcelona plant to raise capacity to assemble 80,000 units of the car annually, with production beginning in 2014.
This investment will generate a thousand direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs. This car will compete with rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It marks Nissan’s return to the mainstream compact segment in Europe. The company had quit when it halted sales of the Almera in Europe in 2006. This model will be the first car that its Barcelona plant will roll out.
This factory is presently where the Pathfinder SUV and Navara pick-up, and NV200 commercial van are built. In addition, Nissan will spend 14 million euros in Barcelona to make 24,000 units of added annual capacity for the pick-up and 6 million euros to make transmissions for the Leaf electric car eNV200 electric van. Nissan is returning to the European compact segment to help the company achieve its aim of replacing Toyota as the region's No. 1 Asian brand by unit sales.
This compact is expected to attract more fleet buyers to the brand. The Qashqai, which is Nissan’s present compact model, is popular with private buyers. Nissan hasn’t released details about the new compact. However, company executives said that it won’t be named the Almera. Initially, Nissan planned to produce the compact at its Sunderland, England, plant. Instead, Nissan is now planning to produce a premium compact for Infiniti, beginning in 2015.
Thirty-six years after the original model redefined what it takes to become a small family car, Volkswagen released the all-new Volkswagen Golf in Berlin. On its seventh generation, the all-new VW Golf offers new levels of comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency built on the success of its predecessors (with over 29 million units sold).
Volkswagen Golf Mk VII offers more room for passengers and features advanced technologies; but what makes it even more amazing is the fact that despite these upgrades, it is lighter by up to 100 kg compared to the outgoing model – the work of new production techniques – which also helps achieve an increase in efficiency by up to 23 percent. With a stronger body structure (also note that it is also 23 kg lighter) and a range of standard and optional passive and active safety systems, the new Golf is made safer than ever before.
The new platform used on the new Volkswagen Golf called the Modularer Querbaukasten (MQB) or Modular Transverse Matrix, standardizes various component parameters on all brands and vehicle classes and allows access to new powertrains and technologies (such as safety and infotainment innovations) which were once reserved for higher-segment vehicles.
Compared to the outgoing model, the new Volkswagen Golf is 56 mm longer (4,255 mm in total) in length and 59 mm longer at the wheelbase (now at 2,637 mm). To cater to an increased interior space, the front wheels are moved forward by 43 mm and wider by 13 mm (now at 1,799 mm). It is also lowered by 28 mm or a total of 1,452 mm. All these adjustments contribute to the 10 percent improvement in its drag co-efficient – now at 0.27 Cd.