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Car and Driver: The Auto Industry is Ripe for Disruption, Or: The Perils of the “Pretty-Good Car”

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The Auto Industry is Ripe for Disruption, Or: The Perils of the "Pretty-Good Car"

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Recently I was chatting with George Peterson, president of the veteran market-research and consulting firm AutoPacific, about Nissan’s strange year. It had a flirtation with sports-prototype racing, debuting the front-drive hybrid GT-R LM NISMO in a lavish Super Bowl ad but running just a single race before axing the whole program. Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has pushed hard to grow U.S. market share from 8.5 percent to 10 percent by the end of 2017, but, as the trade paper Automotive News reported, dealers have complained that the goal is unrealistic and the company’s stair-step incentive ­program pushes stores into selling cars at a loss. And Ghosn had to work hard to preserve the Renault-Nissan partnership after the French government moved to take more control of Renault, in which it already had a 15-percent stake. No doubt, the proud Japanese are wary of taking orders from Paris as the partnership increasingly looks like a one-blade propeller, with Nissan and its profitable U.S. sales dwarfing the meager earnings from Renault’s many low-margin markets. READ MORE ››

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