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Auto blogThu, 13 Mar 2014 10:57:00 EST
Need another sign that Tesla is growing into a force to be reckoned with? Bloomberg reports it has just snagged high-profile communications boss Simon Sproule from Renault-Nissan to become the EV maker's vice president of communications and marketing.
Sproule is an industry veteran, having spent 20 years at Nissan (where he grew to become CEO Carlos Ghosn's right-hand man). In addition, he logged stints at Ford, Jaguar (when it was still a Blue Oval-owned brand) and Microsoft. Despite all that experience, Sproule is still young, at just 45 years of age, as Bloomberg points out, yet he's held positions in the US, Japan and France over the years.
This is all good news for Tesla, which is in need of a strong spokesman outside of company CEO Elon Musk. It's been battling with the state of New Jersey and its governor, Chris Christie, over direct sales in the Garden State.
Nissan's Murano stands as one of the originators of the crossover movement - it was perhaps the first such vehicle to throw out the idea that a CUV had to look like a boxy, cladded-up sport utility vehicle in order to be successful. Now poised to enter its third generation, the midsize Nissan is not only getting a new look and a host of new technologies, it's getting a new home: Canton, MS.
With dramatic new styling presaged by the Resonance Concept at last year's Detroit Auto Show, the new Murano debuting at this week's New York Auto Show includes a toned-down "V-Motion" nose, and the Japanese automaker's trademark boomerang-shaped light fixtures. Aside from the chunky chrome U-shaped grille element up front, the new Murano's most striking design detail is its cantilevered roof with funky "disconnected" D-pillars, a floating look reinforced by a greenhouse edged in brightwork. Overall, it's a much more bold and expressive piece of design than Nissan's recent second-generation Rogue, fitting, as the Murano has always been on the daring end of CUV design.
Boasting a 0.31 coefficient of drag and a ton of sheetmetal surface development, the Murano's new form is available with LED headlamps and features active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics. The company claims visibility has been improved as well - and not just because of its brilliant available Around View Monitor camera system - Nissan says it has "optimized the angles and thickness of the bottom of the A-pillar," along with fiddling with the size and location of the side mirrors.
Nissan is going to be leveraging the weight of the Chinese market by selling cars influenced by the People's Republic in other markets around the globe. The influence of Chinese design is further proof of the country's importance on a global scale. Nissan isn't the only manufacturer that's looking to leverage China's burgeoning design talent, as BMW, Volkswagen, and General Motors have all set up facilities.
In fact, VW and GM have both used Chinese talent to design cars, in the Passat and Buick LaCrosse, respectively. Nissan has already tested the waters with its Beijing studios, penning the Friend-Me Concept from this year's Shanghai Auto Show. Where GM and VW used their Shanghai-based studios as more consultancies than anything else, though, Nissan is aiming to have the Beijing studio design a global car.
According to Nissan's global design head, Shiro Nakamura, that's already happening. Nakamura told Reuters that Nissan is two years from launching a Chinese-designed global model that will see sales in both North America and Europe, in addition to its home market. While Nakamura wouldn't elaborate on what the new model's styling would entail, there's a focus on what the Chinese call daqi.