Nissan builds an origami car to celebrate the fifth birthday of its Juke crossover

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

It’s been five years since Nissan launched its compact Juke SUV/crossover, and the company is celebrating with a very special fifth anniversary edition: a full-size origami model.

Oftentimes, auto manufacturers will mark the round-number birthdays of their best-sellers with a special paint color or extra badging. Nissan, though, instead enlisted English origami artist Owen Gildersleeve to make a paper Juke to commemorate the milestone.

▼ The regular/metallic juke

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Unfortunately, this special car is a one-off, so you won’t find one waiting in the inventory lot of your local Nissan dealer. But if we ever find ourselves in the market for a Juke, and if Nissan is offering “origami” as a factory option at that time, we’ll be tempted to check that box when placing our order.

Owen Gildersleeve website

Cosplaying taxis with monster drivers to offer free rides to cosplayers in Shibuya (Tokyo) this Halloween

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Halloween in Japan keeps getting bigger and better every year, with cosplayers coming out in droves to celebrate the world of costumes and make-believe. This time around, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is joining the fun with a fleet of taxis dressed up in Halloween costumes, complete with “monster drivers” behind the wheel.

The monsters and their vehicles will be helping fellow ogres and ghouls by offering free rides to people in costume in the Shibuya area on October 29 and 31. What’s more, the unusual vans promise to be so spacious, they’ll accommodate any type of outfit you’re wearing!

The event, called “Ride on Halloween by Nissan”, will feature three “costumed” vehicles: an orange Jack-o-Lantern, a purple-and-green Frankenstein (‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ for the purists), and a pale-brown, bandaged Mummy.

▼ They may be monsters, but they’re Japanese taxi-driving monsters, so they’ll all be wearing white gloves.

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The promotion is designed to showcase the spacious nature of Nissan’s NV200 taxi, which has been ferrying people around New York and London for several years and will finally be making its debut in Japan as part of the preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

▼ New York marked the debut of the NV200 taxi with a #HAILYES interactive marketing campaign in 2013.

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In Japan, they’re using Halloween to highlight the roomy interior of the new taxis, by offering the free rides to cosplayers to show how a van ride can be superior to a sedan ride, especially when you and your clothes take up a extra space. The driver of each vehicle will also take part in the dress-up!

You can catch a ride at three as-yet-unannounced designated pick-up and drop-off points in the Shibuya area, which is one of the main hubs for Halloween celebrations every year.

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The taxis will run between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on 29 and 31 October. The organisers have pointed out that free rides are limited only to those in costume and rides cannot be guaranteed, so if you really want to step inside the cosplaying vehicles, you might want to try your luck before the night of Halloween, when there’s less chance of monsters lurking about.

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The pick-up and drop-off points will be announced soon, so be sure to check out the official campaign website for updates!

Watch these Nissan GTRs rip through a touge course in 4K

Japanese automotive magazine Motorhead has released a special 4K short for its Volume 16, titled ”Japan Tuned.”

Featuring a 1,200-horsepower HKS-tuned R35 GT1000 and a R32 GT-R Group A model, the video follows racing driver NOB Taniguchi through one of the most famous togue courses — a form of racing that involves two cars chasing each other through twisty mountain roads — in Japan, Gunsai. The video incorporates augmented reality-esque touches to provide detailed information on each vehicle before Taniguchi-san floors it, taking us on an exhilarating journey filled with breathtaking sights and sounds.

If you’re interested in gaining access to bonus in-car footage, head over to Motorhead’s site to purchase its latest July issue.

Jay Leno takes a closer look at the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

Taking advantage of Le Mans’ notoriously strict regulations on the rear aerodynamics as opposed to the front of the car, Nissan has chosen to build its entry, the GT-R LM Nismo, in a front-engine, front-drive configuration decidedly opposed to the mid-engine layouts from Audi, Porsche and Toyota.

With the driven wheels up front, the bulk of the downforce thus shifts to the front as well. This unconventional decision, to say the least, caught the eye of Jay Leno, who brought it into his garage to have a closer inspection of the race car with Nissan’s chief engineer Zack Eakin, before Nissan GT Academy Season 3 winner Jann Mardenborough takes it around the track for a spin.

Watch the episode above and find the rest of Jay Leno’s Garage here.

Infiniti creates the Vision Gran Turismo concept in real life

New Mercedes-Benz pickup truck to be based on the Nissan NP300

With news of Mercedes-Benz planning to unveil a pickup truck by 2020, reports confirm that the forthcoming truck from the German automobile maker will be based on the mid-size Nissan NP300. The development and release of the pickup truck is planned to initially target South Africa, Latin America, Europe and Australia. MBUSA CEO Steve Cannon explains the new pickup truck production as part of Mercedes-Benz’s global strategy for international expansion with vehicles tailored to the demands of several foreign markets. A

Although no U.S. division has been established for the pickup truck, Mercedes-Benz’s pickup truck is reported to sport two rows of seats and contain many of the same interior components and luxury features of Mercedes-Benz cars.

Anticipate further news on the Mercedes-Benz pickup truck in the near future.

2016 Nissan GT-R Gold 45th Anniversary Edition

Nissan revives the glory of the coveted GT–R with a new edition of the vehicle for its 45th anniversary. Released as a special iteration of the already-spry Premium edition, the Gold ‘Anniversary’ edition features a powerful 550 horsepower engine underneath the hood, delivered courtesy of a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. The bold gold paint job harkens back to 2001′s Skyline GT-R M-Spec, or alternatively, the dreamboat of gearheads worldwide. As if that weren’t enough to stop onlookers in their tracks, this version of the GT-R sports new 20-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, as well as commemorative plaques at the engine and interior console.

While the inventory is still in question, Nissan has confirmed that less than 30 of these beauties will be available stateside. With a base price around $102,000 USD and the rarity already confirmed, it might be best to savor this car with the photo above.

 

Nissan’s ‘Father Of The Z’ and Rogue exec Katayama Yutaka dies at 105

Yutaka Katayama
Car and Driver:

Yutaka Katayama, the former president of what’s now Nissan Motor Co.’s U.S. branch, has died at the age of 105, the Associated Press reports. “Mr. K,” as he was known to company insiders and Datsun and Nissan fans, established the Z line of sports cars that guaranteed the racing and sales success of the company in the U.S.

Born in 1909 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, Mr. K was hired by Nissan Motor Co. in 1935. His first job was in publicity and he later worked in advertising, creating novel lifestyle-based ad campaigns in an era when, as Nissan puts it, most car ads just “loudly repeated the car’s name over and over.” Mr. K is also credited with establishing the All-Japan Motor Show in 1954, an industry-wide car show that evolved into today’s Tokyo auto show.

But it was a motorsports victory that turned Mr. K’s career down the path toward the Z-car. In 1958, two Datsun 210s won their class in the grueling Mobilgas Around Australia Trial, a 10,000-mile rally across the unimproved roads of the Outback. Mr. K was the racing team manager, and the class victory spurred Nissan to begin global exports.

In 1960, the company sent Mr. K to Los Angeles, and he began building a U.S. dealer network from scratch. “In the beginning, Datsun dealers had no status or prestige, and they were not wealthy either,” Mr. K said. “During the difficult times, we all gritted our teeth and worked together and we made it through. For me, they are not just dealers but friends. I’m speaking like I’m a big man, but I owe everything to them.”

As Edmunds so eloquently explained on the occasion of Mr. K’s 100th birthday, Katayama’s dogged determination pushed Datsun to the forefront of foreign cars in the U.S. “Katayama built Datsun (as the Nissan franchise in America then was called) into a sales powerhouse, personally canvassing every town in America and turning used-car dealers and lawnmower repair shops into Datsun franchises. He made Datsun the most important Japanese brand in America, a signature of quality and innovation instead of cheap imitation.”

When Datsun introduced the 510 in 1967, Mr. K’s dealer network was ready. And with the company’s parts bin at his disposal, Mr. K set out to create Nissan’s most iconic vehicle: the 240Z. As Katayama himself recalls:

How can we transpose the relationship between man and horse into the one between man and car? Even after I was sent to Los Angeles in 1960 to establish Nissan Motors in the U.S., this question never really left me. Eventually I came up with the concept of the Z-car. It was a sports car with a sleek body with a long nose and a short deck, designed so that it could be built utilizing some of the parts and components that were already used in our other production cars, and it was a car that anybody could drive easily and that would give the driver that incredible feeling of jubilation that comes when car and driver are as one.

In 1970, when the 510-based 240Z reached U.S. shores, it had Mr. K’s fingerprints all over it. Allow Nissan to explain Mr. K’s role in creating the company’s first true sports car:

Though many, many people were responsible for the design and engineering of the first generation 240Z, its success in North America can be attributed to Yutaka Katayama, who was president of Nissan’s U.S. operations at the time. Known affectionately as “Mr. K,” he was convinced that the company’s new sports car design would be a hit in the U.S.  There was just one problem—the vehicle’s name: the Fairlady Z.

Mr. K re-christened the car as the 240Z for the U.S. market, and his wisdom paid off: The Z car was a wild success in motorsports and sales alike, establishing Datsun, and later Nissan, as a major brand with a strong enthusiast following.

Katayama retired from Nissan in 1977, but he remained a car guy right through to the end, earning a spot in the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1998. On his 100th birthday, Mr. K was still as feisty as ever, criticizing the Nissan 370Z as “so-so,” bemoaning its weight and price. “I’d like to have a sports car like the Miata,” Mr. K said in 2009. “The Miata is taking the place of the 240Z …. The fun of driving cars is the same as riding a horse. We need a car that is like riding on horseback. We are making robots. Robots don’t like human control.”

In Nissan’s own profile of the man, he raised similar concerns about the future of sports cars:

A sports car doesn’t have to be luxurious. It should be affordable so that anyone can own one, it should be easy to maintain, and it should be something that you can enjoy without having to spend too much money. To attach a price tag of $50,000 to a sports car just seems uncomfortable to me. You can get any price you want if you increase the number and level of features and equipment. But if you don’t add any extra equipment and features and you can still experience great exhilaration when driving, then that’s the best situation as far as I am concerned.

The beloved Mr. K turned 105 years old in September, attributing his health to the three liters of water he drank every day—though he also loved a good steak. Nissan produced a three-part documentary interview with the automotive legend to commemorate the occasion. It’s equal parts history lesson, business plan, and guide for enthusiastic living.

Drive off in an official “One Piece” (anime) Nissan Serena

Drive off In an official One Piece Nissan Serena

RocketNews 24/Anime News Network:

Nissan is collaborating with One Piece to offer a limited edition Serena Highway STAR S-HYBRID. Dubbed the “Thousand Serena,” a play on the Straw Hat Pirates’ Thousand Sunny ship, it features a special One Piece car wrap and hubcaps.

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If you’re keen on getting your hands on this vehicle, though, you’ll need 3.25 million yen (about US$27,300), some lottery luck… and kids. Not only will purchase of the vehicle be determined by lottery, but only parents with children will be allowed to enter, in accordance with the Serena’s family-oriented marketing campaign. Due to a high volume of interested buyers, nine will be available.

There’s another perk, though. Whomever wins the lottery will also receive enough gas to “go around the world,” or 40,000 km worth, which at current Japanese gas prices is worth about $3,300.

For more information about the purchase lottery, which runs until March 9, check out Nissan’s campaign website.

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Infiniti Q60 Concept