The carmaker is demanding specific weight-loss targets for the new parts as they are developed, says Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan’s VP for research, technology and engineering. Not only will suppliers have to meet cost and performance benchmarks, but now each supplier must deliver on weight loss. "Over the past 20 years, every model year's vehicle has become heavier and heavier.” Yamashita said, adding “we felt we needed to stop it."
Increased vehicle weight is a major issue that’s plaguing the industry, especially when you consider the global oil prices are set to rise even further in the new future. According to an EPA study last year, the average vehicle sold in America weighed 483 pounds more than the average vehicle sold in 1996. Most of the increases come from the introduction of gadgets and safety features, including heavier seats, electronics, advanced mirrors, safety devices and larger wheels.