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Nissan vehicles to use common visible parts
Hans Greimel
Automotive News
January 31, 2015

DETROIT -- Nissan Motor Corp.'s modular platform saves money by using common components. But owners rarely notice; most of the shared parts are unseen under the hood.

Now Nissan is rolling the dice on a new plan to use common visible design features as well.

Items such as steering wheels, side mirrors and door handles increasingly will be standardized across the lineup, Nissan global design chief Shiro Nakamura told Automotive News.

The trick will be elevating trim on entry-level vehicles to that of pricier segments, he said.

Like most manufacturers, Nissan traditionally equips lower-tier vehicles with lower-cost steering wheels, mirrors, handles, audio systems and climate controls.
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Interesting, and to be quite candid, something that I would have thought would have been done/would be at least partially harmonized across the spectrum by now.

I know that other car makers have done this to some limited degree on many of their products. It seemed as though every Chrysler-badged product has had the same steering wheel; the same for Dodge. Going way back, it looked as though Saab was on the way to do this with the re-refreshed version of the 9-5 and the then-current 9-3.

Point is, if the quality and materials are there, does it hurt to have a "division" specific steering wheel? Does it hurt to have a "brand-specific" set of side-mirrors, door handles, grab handles, etc?

Obviously the most visual item would be the steering wheel since you'd be looking at it directly every time you're in the car. They'd have to do this carefully; I don't think this could be done for specialty/sport products like the Corvette or Camaro.

However, I could see something where there have "two-sets" of steering wheels for a division -- one four-spoke steering wheel for a more "traditional" sedan/truck/crossover and then a three-spoke steering wheel for sportier applications (outside the Corvette and Camaro anyway). If this was done on a brand-by-brand or division-by-division basis, then you could end up with one or two really nice steering wheels per brand that would be use across the portfolio.
 

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The only way they can successfully do this is to use the higher end pieces in the lower end cars. My guess is that other than fan sites like GMI, no one will notice. Will this sharing be with Infiniti as well?

Interesting parallel is that so far Cadillac is using the same dash/center stack design for all it's cars. The question is, is that part of Cadillac's ill's or not? I tend to think not, but that's just an opinion of someone with a lower end Cadillac. What do the folks with CTS's and Escalades think of sharing their dash with my humble ATS?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
GM has done this since the 70s, maybe earlier.
I don't know if GM has done this consistently. I know that GM has used the same steering wheel across a product/platform line, but not necessarily within the same brand. For example, I can remember the former GM minivans getting refreshed a number of years ago. They all had the same steering wheel in the Relay, Montana, Uplander, and Terraza (which I think came from the then-current Gran Prix). Same was true of the original Malibu and G6 -- platform mates that shared the same (very ugly) steering wheel. Eventually, the revised Malibu, Aura, and G6 all shared the same three-spoke steering wheel as well (I'm assuming because they were platformmates).

However, I don't think I've ever seen GM dedicate a single-type/appearing steering wheel to an entire division. AFAIK, for GM to do this would be new phenomenon.
 

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Porsche used to do this. The entry-level Porsche 924S on one side of the lot would have the exact same side-view mirrors that the enormously more expensive 928 S4 and 911 Turbo models on the other side of the lot were wearing. As a lifelong student of business I still cannot figure out how or why we haven't seen a lot more of this kind of thinking from the domestic automakers. Done right, sharing side-view mirrors and door-handles can even make lesser models feel more premium rather than making premium models feel low-rent.
 

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It may work in a brand of car,but taking a steering wheel from a Chevy Spark and putting it in the upcoming Cadillac CT6 or greater car with no change except the badging?; I don't see that strategy working to well.

Would taking the steering wheel out of the Nissan Versa and putting it into the GTR work?.

I'm not to big on what the Renault/Nissan merger have produced so far and this strategy sounds like I'll be even less interested in their future offerings.
 

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If GM can put a Cobalt steering wheel in the Corvette...or was it the Corvette steering wheel in the Cobalt?
 

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FCA is already doing this as well. I looked at/sat in the Maseratis at NAIAS and noticed much of the switchgear appeared straight out of a Dodge Caravan.
 

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It may work in a brand of car,but taking a steering wheel from a Chevy Spark and putting it in the upcoming Cadillac CT6 or greater car with no change except the badging?; I don't see that strategy working to well.

Would taking the steering wheel out of the Nissan Versa and putting it into the GTR work?.

I'm not to big on what the Renault/Nissan merger have produced so far and this strategy sounds like I'll be even less interested in their future offerings.
I get it, but try thinking about this concept in reverse. What if I could get a new Sentra model (imagine one that deserves that name rather than the hack job that wears it now) with the same steering wheel that the Nissan GTR comes with. Not a Sentra-level steering wheel shoved into a 100k GTR, but a steering wheel genuinely worthy of the GTR offered in SE-R and Sport versions of a new Sentra. Trickling down is actually a great idea when executed correctly, it's trickling up that can be more problematic.
 

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I get it, but try thinking about this concept in reverse. What if I could get a new Sentra model (imagine one that deserves that name rather than the hack job that wears it now) with the same steering wheel that the Nissan GTR comes with. Not a Sentra-level steering wheel shoved into a 100k GTR, but a steering wheel genuinely worthy of the GTR offered in SE-R and Sport versions of a new Sentra. Trickling down is actually a great idea when executed correctly, it's trickling up that can be more problematic.
Exactly what I was thinking. Use the nicer stuff at the lower end, but don't go the other direction unless you want a big fat black eye by the public.
 

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...Interesting parallel is that so far Cadillac is using the same dash/center stack design for all it's cars...
...I know that GM has used the same steering wheel across a product/platform line, but not necessarily within the same brand ... Same was true of the original Malibu and G6 -- platform mates that shared the same (very ugly) steering wheel. Eventually, the revised Malibu, Aura, and G6 all shared the same three-spoke steering wheel as well (I'm assuming because they were platformmates).
However, I don't think I've ever seen GM dedicate a single-type/appearing steering wheel to an entire division. AFAIK, for GM to do this would be new phenomenon.
FCA is already doing this as well. I looked at/sat in the Maseratis at NAIAS and noticed much of the switchgear appeared straight out of a Dodge Caravan.
just-imho
it depends on how small-or-concise a Brand's lineup is:
I ranted for this for Mercury before it was hiatus'ed but would never suggest it for the Ford Brand
& not sure it's appropriate for a brand with "True Lux" aspirations**
+
ABHOR the idea of cross-Brand contamination just cuz models share(d) platforms


** actually, having different designs for different Themes ( cough*[BL]*cough ) sounds wonderful

with every model that offers that theme using the same parts (as much as feasible)
 

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This is nothing new. Manufacturers have already been doing this for decades including Nissan. The main reason is cutting developmental costs for things that are functional that really do not have much effect on the vehicle styling. Why make 20 different steering columns just to say they are different? Things like switches, door handles, entertainment systems, pedal assemblies, automatic shifters, etc. Some vehicles might need a little personal character having different steering wheels than higher volume GM models such as Cadillacs, Corvettes and Camaros but who really cares if the Cruise has the same steering wheel as Malibu or not? And who remembers the old Vega GT having the same sport steering wheel as the Camaro, Chevelle SS and the Corvette? Even the painted dual sport mirrors were the same. Nothing new here move on...
 

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Nobody was worse at this then Chrysler in the 80's they would only change the manufacture's name on a car. you had Chrysler Neon, Dodge Neon and Plymouth Neon. then you had the Dodge colt, Plymouth Colt and one year even had the Mitsubishi Colt. no other changes except Manufactures name.
 

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I am OK with it as presented in the article IE expensive car parts used on cheep cars.
where it all goes wrong. The NV cargo van is NOT due for redesign for maybe unto 8 years from now BUT the sentra is due soon and the leaf and the Titan IS NEW now = Leaf redesign 3-4 years out uses the "NEW" steering wheel / door handle ETC but that design was NOT around when the next year NEW Titan rolls out but its wheel is still NEWER then the NV van
so do you MANDATE the Parts used on the Titan are to be used for the next 10 years? OR will Nissan MCE every car to use the NEW part and try to update EVERY car together?
 
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