Nissan Banks on New Transmission to Compete in Hybrid Auto Market

By Dave Porter

Reno, NV - Nissan Motor Co. President Carlos Ghosn thinks that consumers shouldn't have to pay high prices for hybrid vehicles only to not get any value back in lowering their costs once they buy one. Instead, Goshn's banking on CTVs, which stands for "Continuously variable transmissions." Ghosn thinks being green shouldn't be a compromise. CVT proponents, such as Ghosn, cite improved fuel efficiency, better acceleration and increased control over emissions as key benefits.

Nissan is so secure that new-car buyers will see the CVT as a way to go green that it's planning on increasing the number of its vehicles fitted with CVTs. "We are confident that consumers will embrace CVTs as a widely available, affordable solution to high fuel costs and the demand for greater fuel efficiency," says Ghosn.

"By fiscal year 2007, we plan to sell around one million CVT-fitted models worldwide. In North America, all of our front-engine/front-wheel-drive vehicles - except Quest and some Versa models - will come with CVTs, including 100 percent of Sentras, Maximas, Altimas and Muranos sold with automatic transmissions. We estimate that selling one million CVTs would have the same effect in terms of reducing CO2 emissions as selling 200,000 hybrid electric vehicles."

You see, Nissan currently doesn't have a hybrid vehicle to sell. In fact, Ghosn has been reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. Nissan will launch a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the new Altima this fall -- admittedly begrudgingly. Also keep in mind that Nissan isn't exclusive in the CVT game. Audi, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Saturn and Toyota all offer models with this new type of transmission. Nissan just seems to be the carmaker at the moment that's pimping them as green machines.