- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nissan North America, Inc. presented the world debuts of three dramatic new vehicles during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show - the 2011 Nissan Quest Minivan, the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the Nissan Ellure Concept. Nissan reached its target of 20,000 Nissan LEAF reservations in September, with the first customer deliveries set for December 10th.

The Quest and Murano CrossCabriolet are both scheduled to go on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide in early 2011, while the Ellure Concept is a design exploration of a new Nissan sedan design language. Also revealed at the show was the 2012 Nissan GT-R supercar, with revised styling and performance modifications that bring its horsepower rating to a full 530 hp. It also will be available in early 2011.

“Innovation is Nissan’s core belief and it has driven us to create some of the most iconic cars on the road,” said Nissan Americas Chairman Carlos Tavares. “Innovation can be as simple as turning old water bottles onto new seats, as complex as squeezing 530 horsepower out of a 3.8-liter V6, or as life changing as never having to buy another gallon of gasoline again.”

The three show debut vehicles represent three unique visions of innovation. The all-new 2011 Nissan Quest represents a celebration of family life - and a forum for innovative ideas designed to make the toughest job in the world, parenting, a little easier. The boldly styled Quest features one-touch side doors, quick release fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats, a permanent rear storage well, Dual Panel Sliding Moonroof and Advanced Climate Control System, to name just a few items.

“With this new design, Quest makes a strong statement in terms of style, user friendliness, family functionality and utility,” said Tavares. “A true ‘parents’ car’ that both Mom and Dad will enjoy, it’s innovation that makes the impossible possible.”

Like Quest, the stunning 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet breaks new ground, taking the concept of “innovation for adventure” to a whole new dimension as the world’s first all-wheel drive crossover convertible. Based on a foundation of the popular Nissan Murano, the new Murano CrossCabriolet is unlike anything on the road - blending all of the things people love in a crossover with the open-air enjoyment of a convertible.

“With a fully automatic convertible top that stows to the size near that of a conventional two-seat roadster, the Murano CrossCabriolet easily accommodates any situation from shopping trips to shuttling passengers,” said Tavares. “There’s ample space in the trunk, even with the top down, comfortable room for four adults in the interior - plus standard all-wheel drive. It’s time to rethink what a convertible can be.”

The Nissan Ellure Concept, the “sedan re-imagined,” was presented at the press conference by Nissan Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura, who explained Nissan’s challenge in bringing a sense of passion and excitement to the segment while retaining the sedan’s core strengths. “We approached this challenge by creating a new emotional form, embracing a refined contrast between broad planes and sharp shoulders - and by creating a simple but passionate interior space that can change its mood to match that of the driver, and where night comes alive with lounge-like lighting and ambiance.”

As an expression of Nissan’s long-term vision for the next generation of sedans, Ellure introduces a new sedan design language - one that honors the sedan’s unmatched daytime functionality, yet has a more emotive, almost hidden ambience that comes to life after dark. “It’s an ideal fit for the needs of its projected owners, women in their ‘30s and ‘40s with a sense of sophistication and rebellion,” Nakamura added.

The Ellure Concept’s exterior is highlighted by a deeply skirted front fascia, large 90-degree opening doors with rear-hinged rear doors for full panoramic interior access, a full-length tinted glass roof, and special “Geode” White tri-coat mica paint. Inside, the dramatic lounge-inspired interior utilizes eco-materials, touch screen displays, hidden electronics, a “floating” sculptural center console and red recessed lighting.

“While not intended as a preview of any upcoming production model, Ellure confirms Nissan’s intention to be a strong player in the sedan segment for many years to come,” said Nakamura.

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