Last post on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:20 PM
You are in the Nissan Versa
What is this discussion about?
Nissan Versa, Hatchback, Sedan
#443 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [backy]
Jul 01, 2006 (6:53 pm)
I realize that the Aguascalientes plant isn't new per se, but my point was that the Versa is new to the Aguascalientes plant whereas the Fit is not new it's Suzuki, JP plant. Any time you bring a new car into a plant it has to be re-tooled and the workers must be retained. There's a learning curve for both the plant engineering and the labor force with a production model and I'd rather buy a car after the plateau of that curve has been reached than buy one of the first ever made at the facility.
You're linked article also mentioned the fact that Aguascalientes is increasing its production by 70%, mostly due to the Versa/Tiida production. These new technical and labor demands can only contribute to quality decreases in the short term. Don't get me wrong... if this were 2009 and the Versa had been out for 2-3 years I wouldn't be concerned. (Note: KC7, this has nothing to do with "Mexican babies vs. Japanese babies" and I'm not being intentionally negative... I just happen to lack your uncritical exuberance.)
Tangentially, Aguascalientes and Nissan North America have had their fair share of quality management issues in the past and quite recently too. Just a few days ago they announced a recall of 97,000 Sentra's and Altima's made at Aguascalientes and Tennessee (respectively). The problem? Engine fires. Read the article below for more:
Nissan North America said Thursday it has begun the recall process on about 97,000 sedans as more cases of engine fires and excessive oil use surfaced.
Only one injury, which was minor, has been reported, Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said.
Nissan North America told dealers early this month to stop selling 2006 Sentra SE-Rs and 2.5 liter, four-cylinder Altimas made between January and mid-May. Warranties on customer cars in that range were extended by seven years or 100,000 miles.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is made at Nissan's Decherd, Tenn., engine facility. Altimas are made in Canton and Smyrna, Tenn., and Sentras are made in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
"We have filed a first step in the recall process," he said. "We'll notify the customers later about what to do."
Nissan has taken reports of 24 engine fires and 274 cases of excessive oil consumption, up seven and 59 respectively since June 2 when it made the stop-sell announcement.
The company told customers with vehicles possibly affected to check their oil every 700 miles.
"We are very confident that if oil levels are maintained, there will be no problems," Standish said.
Karen Aldana, public affairs specialist with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Nissan on Tuesday filed a preliminary defect information report and the agency made it public Thursday.
The agency lists excessive oil consumption as a defect, but not one that rises to the level of posing a safety risk. Manufacturers can voluntarily recall their products at any point, but the administration uses safety risk findings as a part of it's formula in issuing a recall on its own.
Nissan's report, obtained by The Clarion-Ledger on Thursday, pointed to failure of piston rings as the culprit causing oil loss, although the company's investigation is still ongoing. The report specifically states the defect may constitute a safety risk.
"Nissan determined that a safety-related defect may exist in some of the vehicles under investigation," the report stated.
Piston rings are thin metallic bands that surround each piston. During the piston's up-and-down cycle, they help remove excess oil from cylinder walls and maintain pressure in the combustion chamber, which keeps exhaust gases from blowing by the piston into the engine crankcase.
"The root cause has not been uncovered. We made some changes in some parts back in May, and have tested those engines. Engines made after that point have showed no excessive oil consumption," Standish said. "We obviously have suspicions but are getting more data in every day."
Nissan says about 85,000 of the cars are in the United States; the rest were exported to Canada, Mexico and the Middle East.
Nissan hasn't set a date for the recall, but owners can call Nissan at (800) 647-7261."
Despite Nissan's feigned ignorance of the source of the problems, I found a more up front answer in a post by a Nissan Tech over at the Car and Driver forums:
"So it turns out the problem is that Nissan has a number of parts suppliers, some for pistons, some for rings, some for crankshafts, etc. A while back we actually had an issue with QR25 motors consuming oil. I have seen Nissan eat QR25s that were abused, neglected, and generally did not justify being warrantied, because they could not prove that it was not an inherent issue. The problem was that our ring supplier was making a substandard ring that saved us a couple of pennies on the dollar over competing suppliers. We apparently got rid of that one supplier and started using a new one after we had problems the first time around. But then, in a bit of what can only be described as a huge WHOOPS!!, somebody in charge of hiring suppliers somehow forgot that this company made crap product and bought rings from the same people that gave us junk in the first place. Nissan caught it, but not until thousands of cars had been delivered to dealerships, and hundreds if not a few thousand had already been sold...so we repeat the same old cycle all over again. Oh well, at least I'm not hurt by it."
You might take from this that you really do get what you pay for with Nissan. Yes, the Versa comes with more bells/whistles (intelligent key, bluetooth, CVT, etc.) and has some features that are better than the Fit (armrest, adjustable height seat, rear legroom, intermediate wiper speeds) along with a better price, but there's a reason it's less expensive to buy: it's less expensive to produce! This isn't true with all price deltas (look at Porsche Carrera vs VW Toureg for example... $10K more for the name Porsche slapped on the back of Toureg) but when your parts costs (100% JDM Fit vs. US/Mexico Versa) and labor costs (Suzuki vs. Aguascalientes) are lower, both your selling price and your reliability go down. Buyer beware.
#444 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [brianmita]
Jul 01, 2006 (6:54 pm)
demographically? Like race, class, gender?
#445 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [mattschechter]
Jul 01, 2006 (7:14 pm)
The problem was that our ring supplier was making a substandard ring that saved us a couple of pennies on the dollar over competing suppliers.
So the fact that Nissan bought defective rings that wound up causing some engine fires in some Sentras and Altimas (which use a totally different engine than the Versa) is a good reason to avoid the Versa?
Does that mean that because Honda bought defective oil filters for its CR-V and they caused fires, we should avoid buying the Fit? Or how about the transmission defects that caused the recall of over 1 million Accords and Acuras not long ago. Those defects could cause gear failure, resulting in transmission lockup which in turn could result in a crash.
Should we take from these examples that you really do get what you pay for with Honda?
From all reports I have seen, the quality of the materials in the Versa is high. One way Nissan has probably saved some money on the Versa is to not use the latest engine technology, i.e. CVVT. That may affect aspects like fuel economy, but not reliability by itself.
Anyway, the price difference of the Fit vs. Versa isn't all that great. A base Fit costs $14,400 MSRP, with ABS, power package, and side bags/curtains. A Versa with similar equipment costs just over $14k MSRP. That small difference can easily be explained by the difference in labor costs between Japan and Mexico. I don't follow how you can draw the conclusion from pricing data that reliability of the Versa will be poor.
#446 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [mattschechter]
Jul 01, 2006 (8:48 pm)
Japan good, Mexican bad????
The engines with the recall was NOT manufactured in Mexico, it was not manufactures in Aguascalientes.
There have been several recalls this past year of Toyota and Honda models that were manufactured in Japan. Japan does NOT equal quality.
#447 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [moparbad]
Jul 01, 2006 (11:04 pm)
Perfect distillation of my thesis moparbad. I really don't know why I was so long winded when I could have made my point so precisely with just those four words... after all, who needs verbs!!
For those who do not read sarcasm well, let me clarify (in a bit more than four words). I'm in no way talking about Japan v. Mexico. In a globalized society production tends to be production wherever you go. I'm in no way talking about Honda Motors v. Nissan Motors. I'm hardly even talking about Fit v. Versa. I'm saying, plainly, that:
A) The process of bringing a new manufactured good to market is not flawless, particularly for complex goods. A car (of any make, model, origin, religion, race, or creed) is a prime example of a complex good that is subject to flaws upon market entry.
B) All automakers are subject to some degree to such flaws. Backy's reference to the Honda recalls is a prime example. So is my reference to the Altima/Sentra recalls. These Nissan problems were mentioned merely to point out that Nissan, like nearly all other car companies, is not exempt from flawed production. Some makes and models are more subject to trouble than others (Ford Pinto v. Volvo 240). Factors contributing to flaws include using cheap parts, poor engineering, factory error, and complex supply chains.
C) The error rate for new vehicles of a certain model car is not static. Generally, it is inversely proportional to the amount of time a given model has been in production both worldwide and at a given facility. Problems also decrease as the manufacturer discovers errors in it's supply chain (a la Nissan's ring woes which are now corrected thus decreasing the error rate for Sentra/Altima). Thus, one would expect relatively few errors after a car had been in large-scale production at a given plan for a few years.
D) The Versa is new to Aguascalientes. The supply chains for the US Versa are new. The labor force making the Versa is new. Does novelty equate automatically with poor quality? Absolutely not. Does novelty increase the probability that, compared to an established model, there are are reliability issues? Keeping in mind points A), B), and C) I say yes. The likelihood of Versa having problems for a year or two until they get all the bugs worked out is greater than the likelihood that Fit have problems. This doesn't mean that Fit won't have problems or Versa will for sure, but it's an educated conclusion. This is no reason to skip buying the Versa, but just go in with your eyes open... there are more costs than those listed on the price tag and they are not equal for all cars.
#448 of 1276 Motor trend's mileage results
Jul 02, 2006 (1:05 am)
the Versa CVT beat the Fit AT in Motor Trend's real world mileage results in its recent comparo. the
32.2 for the fit, and 32.5 for the Versa. Priced out, the fit is $500 dollars cheaper in this config, but the versa comes with a bit more, like the bluetooth, etc. the yaris beat them both handily with 36.4 mpg.
#449 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [mattschechter]
Jul 02, 2006 (7:35 am)
You keep saying things like "the factory in Mexico making the Versa is new" and "the labor force making the Versa [in Mexico] is new", even after it has been pointed out that the factory in Mexico has been there making small cars for many years. So the factory is not new, and the labor force is not new (although they might add workers to handle the increased production).
Would you agree then that when the all-new Fit debuts next year, it will be the Versa that has the lesser likelihood of problems than the new Fit? Buying any first-year model involves additional risk over buying a five-year-old design. Good examples are the 1999 Odyssey, the 2001 Civic, the 2003 Accord, and the 2006 Civic--all which had significant problems in their first year. Being built in Japan or the U.S. or Mexico or whereever doesn't eliminate that risk.
#450 of 1276 Versa reviewed on Motor Week
Jul 02, 2006 (7:47 am)
Here is a link to the article from MotorWeek (can't find video clip at this time). They liked the capable handling, softer ride and larger back seat in comparison to the Fit.
I was able to sit in the Versa at the Detroit auto show. I was impressed by how large it felt inside. I sat in it immediately after the Matrix and felt it to be about the same size in feel, though the exterior is smaller. I also like the standard hard cargo cover in the versa, which is absent in the Matrix. The bi-leveled cargo area doesn't bother me that much as I will most likely be carrying passengers more often than cargo. I am looking forward to test driving one as soon as they come in.
#451 of 1276 Re: Versa/Fit/Yaris [backy]
Jul 02, 2006 (8:04 am)
I absolutely agree with the risk inherent in a new product model launch... be it Versa, Fit, Civic, Accord etc and the country of origin has little to do with anything. Of course, it depends on how much is new in the model redesign. If many of the parts are the same or the engineering is the same, I'd be less concerned as the suppliers and labor will be more or less "tried and true."
I apologize for my phrasing "the factory in Mexico making the Versa is new." I intended to say "the Versa is new to the Mexican factory in which it is made for the US market." I stand by my assertion that the Versa labor force will start out new to the vehicle's production.