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Sleuth: The Week of June 22

June 25, 2008|By Wheelbase Communications

Hot off the press!

Nissan’s Maxima goes diesel: The trend, my friends, is clear. Either go diesel (or something other than really expensive, low-fuel efficiency unleaded gasoline) or go home. It seems that Nissan is about to jump on the bandwagon. The Sleuth’s gumshoes report that the Japanese automaker is going to throw a diesel into the 2010 Maxima. It will only be available with an automatic to stay in line with North American preferences for non-manual transmissions.

Doom and gloom in the market: You might call Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli the ultimate realist. Chrysler has kept a fairly optimistic outlook amid the current market slump, but an internal email written by Nardelli to Chrysler employees reveals that things aren’t so rosy at the third largest automaker in North America. Nardelli revealed in the email that June sales are about 20 percent below what Chrysler had originally predicted, greatly contradicting his statement from late last month that Chrysler’s sales forecasts “have been spot-on.” With a sales decline that sharp, it seems almost inevitable that Chrysler will make further cuts to bring its production in line with consumer demand, which begs the question: How long will the Detroit Big Three be three . . . or “big”?

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A diesel in Stuttgart?: Porsche is one of the few European automakers to have never offered a diesel option, but it looks as though that streak will come to an end in 2009. The sly Sleuth hears Porsche, which is based in Stuttgart, Germany, will launch a diesel-powered version of its Cayenne sport utility vehicle next March. At the current clip, Porsche’s fleet fuel economy will cost the automaker a ton in government fines (for low fuel efficiency) by 2016, a leading factor in Porsche’s diesel deviation. Will we eventually see a diesel 911 or Boxster? Well, Audi, which is related to Porsche, has a diesel A5 coupe . . . hmmmm.

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