One of the more remarkable aspects of the Internet is how you really have no way of predicting how far something can travel on the web – and the tale of how Orlando-based filmmaker Luke Aker got the attention of Nissan North America’s higher-ups via Craigslist is a perfect example of that.
Aker recently produced a comedic rendition of a video advertisement for his 1996 Nissan Maxima GLE and posted it to Craigslist. While the ad appears to be professionally made, it was filled with quips about the 17-year-old Maxima … which, simply put, wasn’t in the best condition. At one point in the video, the narrator noted that the Maxima is “fully loaded with an engine, wheels, tires and an automatic transmission.”
Here’s what Erich Marx, Nissan’s director of interactive and social-media marketing, had to say about the video: “We saw Mr. Aker’s video ad yesterday and couldn’t pass it up, once we finally stopped laughing. We know a good deal when we see one, especially on such a classic, so we jumped on it.”
As of now, Marx said Nissan is keeping “this majestic vehicle” at a local dealership before deciding on what to do with it. But the automaker did pay Akers the original asking price from his Craigslist ad, along with making an additional $1,000 donation to the Wounded Warriors Project per Akers’ request.
Mazda may have gotten its name from Ahura Mazda, the West Asian god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony, but if recent findings by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are any indication, “fuel efficiency” ought to be added to that list.
While Mazda vehicles are generally known for their fun-to-drive nature, the EPA’s Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends report found that Mazda’s 2012 lineup had the highest average fuel economy (27.1 mpg) and lowest average emissions (328 g/mi) in the United States, beating out the likes of Toyota and Honda. Mazda also experienced the second biggest mpg jump from 2011 to 2012, upping its average by 2.1 mpg overall.
Mazda continues to reinvent the wheel with regard to fuel efficiency. The 2014 Mazda6, for instance, uses SKYACTIV technology along with its i-ELOOP energy regeneration system to achieve a best-in-class 40 mpg on the highway. Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, credited SKYACTIV technology in particular for the automaker’s overall fuel-economy improvement:
“While other manufacturers have turned their attention to hybrids and electric cars, we chose to focus on perfecting the base technology used in more than 90 percent of the cars and SUVs sold today: the internal combustion engine.”
The Honda Ridgeline was named the 2006 Motor Trend Truck of the Year when it first debuted, but the fate of midsize pickups has become blurry in recent years with models like the Chevy Colorado temporarily ceasing U.S. production. Sales of the Ridgeline have been strong in 2013, though, rising by 29 percent year-over-year through November, and Honda recently announced that fans can expect a next-generation model within two years.
Judging by a newly released teaser silhouette, the next-generation Honda Ridgeline will look more like a conventional pickup truck, ditching its backward-sloping bed sidewalls for a horizontal design in the rear. However, like its predecessor, the new Ridgeline will be designed and developed stateside by Honda R&D Americas, Inc. While the current Ridgeline will cease production in mid-2014, many of the innovations that the midsize pickup brought to its segment continue to attract buyers, including its responsive closed-box unibody platform, its dual-action tailgate and its voluminous In-Bed Trunk. Inside, the 2014 Ridgeline is the only pickup on the U.S. market to come standard with a rearview camera.
“Even eight years into its first generation, the Honda Ridgeline remains one of the most versatile vehicles on the market, thanks to its creative use of space in both the cabin and the bed,” said Tony Pescatore, general sales manager of Chicagoland Honda dealer Rosen Honda. “Honda was also able to inject a fresh dose of styling into the Ridgeline with a new special-edition model that is helping to boost sales at the end of this year.”
Donning unique 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with black-trimmed spokes and special badging, the new top-of-the-line 2014 Honda Ridgeline Special Edition went on sale at dealerships last month. Buyers of the Ridgeline Special Edition also receive all the styling cues from the black-trim package on the Ridgeline Sport, which includes a black-mesh grille, tinted privacy glass and black-trimmed bezels on the headlights and brake lights.