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Nissan Talks New Electric Crossover SUV Amid Internal Drama

Last year’s Tokyo Motor Show was filled with exciting new vehicle launches and concept car designs. One of the most notable concept designs from the 2019 event was Nissan’s highly anticipated Ariya electric crossover SUV. And fortunately, we won’t have to wait much longer for the official reveal.  

Nissan’s “magic flying carpet concept”

Nissan threw out a ton of buzzwords at the initial Ariya concept reveal in 2019. The Japanese carmaker called its new crossover EV design “seamless” and even went as far as to compare it to a magic carpet ride. Nissan’s CEO Makoto Uchida shared at the carmaker’s annual shareholder meeting in Tokyo on Monday that the Ariya will officially be revealed on July 15.

What’s also appealing is that the Ariya will launch with Nissan’s new ProPilot 2.0 hands-free driver assistance technology in addition to the new all-electric powerplant. The Ariya SUV will guide Nissan’s brand-new lineup of all-electric vehicles. The carmaker plans to tease eight all-electric vehicles as part of its new midterm plan then introduce 12 new vehicles internationally within the next 18 months as reported in AutoNews.

“The highlight of the new Ariya is the fusion of electrification and advanced driver-assist technologies that is expected to develop into self-driving cars in the future,” Uchida said. “We expect the all-new Ariya to play a key role as a brand driver and face of Nissan for the new era.”

The carmaker was an EV trendsetter

Uchida says that the Ariya is Nissan’s natural next step after the Leaf EV. While this is exciting news, in theory, it also shows how Nissan has fallen behind. The Leaf was introduced all the way back in 2010 and presented Nissan as an all-electric trendsetter. Now, Nissan is joining a competitive electric crossover market to go up against Tesla, Audi, Volvo, and more.

RELATED: Is the Nissan Leaf Plus Worth Its Big Price Tag?

Nissan still has some internal drama to deal with 

As you may have heard, Nissan has had a hard time winning over buyers with the vehicles in its current lineup. Because of this, Uchida focused more on highlighting the launches of new vehicles at the recent shareholder’s meeting. This year’s meeting was much smaller because of COVID-19. On June 29, only 295 people attended, compared to over 2,000 to last year. Even though this year’s shareholding meeting was condensed, investors weren’t shy about calling out Nissan’s mishandlings on a variety of issues. 

One investor complained about Nissan’s partnership with French car manufacturer Renault. Another shareholder disapproved of how the board neglected to reduce non-operational leaders’ pay amid the coronavirus crisis. Someone else said that Nissa lacks credibility because of how the carmaker handled the scandal with ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn. And to close things out, one investor said that Nissan’s low sales volume is a reflection of poor leadership. 

“What you need now is top-down strong leadership. You shouldn’t just spend time on democratic discussion. We need dictatorship,” the shareholder said. “Ironically, when Mr. Ghosn arrived at Nissan, in five or six years, he made it [recovery] a reality. That’s what Nissan needs.”