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Nissan partners with LEGO for a more affordable GT-R variant, coming early 2020

There's a new GT-R model coming to a sales location near you.

Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

Nissan has partnered with LEGO to introduce the LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO. Set for arrival on store shelves in early 2020, the model is the first in the 2020 Speed Champions themed sets, which will be 25 percent bigger than they were in previous years.

"The Nissan GT-R and the LEGO brand are both renowned and loved by fans of all ages throughout the world, and we are honored to be the first-ever Japanese car manufacturer to partner with the LEGO Group," said Asako Hoshino, executive vice president at Nissan. "Many of our Nissan customers can trace their automotive passion back to when they built LEGO cars as children. With this partnership, everyone can be a `takumi' – the specialized craftsmen that build the GT-R. And, it's the GT-R's 50th anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than to share the GT-R with Nissan and LEGO fans around the world!"

LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R Nismo box LEGO is bringing this model to store shelves in early 2020.Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

The LEGO model was revealed by LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen and Hoshino at the automaker's global headquarters in Yokohama today. It is made from 298 LEGO elements and posed an interesting challenge for LEGO design lead Chris Stamp.

"In LEGO Speed Champions, we always aim to include new types of racing vehicles," said Stamp. "And when we focused on drifting and racing, the record-breaking Nissan GT-R, and especially the new GT-R NISMO, was at the top of our wish list. Authenticity is always our main concern, and we spent a lot of time exploring different building techniques to correctly recreate the taillights, as they are one of the most recognizable details on the car. I am really happy with the end result!"

LEGO Speed Champions Nissan GT-R Nismo LEGO designers used 298 elements to craft the model.Photo courtesy of The Lego Group

Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan's chief product specialist for the GT-R – known informally as "Mr. GT-R" – gave the scaled-down LEGO version his stamp of approval: "The GT-R has been part of my life since I was 10 years old. Working with the LEGO Group was like awakening my inner 10-year-old self to rediscover what makes the GT-R so special to me. It's amazing how much the LEGO Group's attention to detail reminds me of our own craftsmen."

Fun facts: The real 2020 Nissan GT-R NISMO vs. the LEGO Nissan GT-R NISMO

Nissan GT-R NISMOLEGO Nissan GT-R NISMO
Development time

10-plus years Approximately 12 months
Parts

More than 90,000 298
Assembly time




Approximately 8 hours for the vehicle,
plus additional hours for the
takumi-built engine
Expert LEGO® builder: 20 minutes
Normal LEGO® builder: 1 hour
Top speed

315+ kph Hand-driven
Gears

6-speed dual-clutch 1 forward, 1 backward
Weight

1720 kg 193 g
Building instructions

Not included Included
Fuel

Premium gasoline Creativity
Range

550+ km Unlimited
Hours of fun


Endless Endless

Pricing on the new model has yet to be announced but is expected to be well below the traditional GT-R NISMO's starting price of $210,740.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Ron Sayer Nissan teamed up with Ocean Spray to give TikTok star Nathan Apodaca a new Frontier.

Photo courtesy of Ron Sayer Nissan via Facebook

TikTok sensation Nathan Apodaca, aka Doggface208, has gained fame for recording himself nonchalantly longboarding down the road while drinking from a 64 oz. bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice as Fleetwood Mac's “Dreams" plays blocking out the noise of traffic.

The video, which was posted on September 25, has racked up 27.7 million views and 5.1 million likes. Apodaca's account currently has 2.3 million followers. It has grown so popular that Fleetwood Mac co-founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood recorded himself performing a similar feat, something that's become known as the “Cranberry challenge" and “Dreams challenge" under the hashtag #CranberryDreams.

Apodaca's current ride has 300,000 miles on the odometer and is unreliable, which is why he longboards to work.

As a thank you, the farmer-owned cooperative teamed up with Ron Sayer Nissan of Idaho Falls, Idaho to gift Apodaca with a 2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X with a Cayenne Red Metallic paint job.

The Frontier PRO-4X is only available with a Crew Cab and 4x4 drivetrain. It's powered by Nissan's new 310-horsepower 3.8-liter direct injection V6 engine, which was developed specifically with U.S. customers in mind.

The PRO-4X trim level is Nissan's most off-road focused. In addition to its shift on-the-fly four-wheel drive system, the truck comes standard with Bilstein off-road high-pressure shock absorbers, skid plates, and electronic locking rear differential, Rockford Fosgate-powered premium audio system with eight speakers plus subwoofer, and machine-finished 16-inch aluminum-alloy off-road wheels with 265/75R16 All-Terrain tires.

The truck retails for $37,490 plus a destination fee and taxes.

Apodaca debuted the truck on his Instagram and TikTok feeds today. There, the truck is shown with a note that reads "Dear Nathan, Good vibes only! Love, Ocean Spray". The bed of the truck is, naturally, filled with cases of Ocean Spray.

Just in case you've been living in a hole and haven't seen it, here's the original video for you to watch:

Doggface208 TikTok #CranberryDreams www.tiktok.com

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Nissan is the only automaker to have fielded a vehicle for each Rebelle Rally. The streak continues with the 2020 Nissan Frontier.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

As the 2020 Rebelle Rally prepares for its 5th annual running that begins this week, founder Emily Miller and her support staff of more than 70 couldn't be more thrilled. There are 36 teams registered to participate in the country's longest competitive off-road navigation rally that will take place over 10 days along nearly 2,500 kilometers of spectacular backcountry. The only all-female rally in the U.S. will travel along a mix of dirt roads, off-road trails, and on sand dunes from Nevada to southern California.

One of the most exciting elements to this year's event is the sextet of new vehicle entries that join the lineup from nine auto manufacturers. New are the all-electric Rivian R1T, 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, 2021 Infiniti QX80, 2020 Nissan Frontier, 2021 Kia Telluride, and three 2021 Ford Bronco Sports.

2020 Rebelle Rally terrain The vehicles that participate in the Rebelle Rally are required to traverse a wide variety of terrain.Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

There are two classes – 4×4 and Crossover—and, while it's no surprise that Jeep vehicles have been the top model represented since the rally's inception, a variety of different vehicles have been showcased at the rally, such as the Rolls Royce Cullinan, which took home a first-place finish in the Crossover class last year, with co-pilots Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe at the wheel.

"We are very grateful for such strong participation this year," enthused Miller, who has added an Electrified Designation "test program" to the rally. "The world has been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to see the new Bronco line-up in action, and we're excited to have three Bronco Sports showcasing their capabilities this year along with the five other new vehicles to the rally."

Click here to read more about the Rebelle Rally, including an insiders look at the schedule of the drivers and details of the competition.

Rivian R1T

Emme Hall Rebecca Donaghe Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Making its debut at the Rebelle, the all-electric Rivian R1T is entered in the 4×4 class and will be piloted by two-time Rebelle Rally champions Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe.

"Adventures like the Rebelle Rally are what Rivian vehicles are made for. It's meaningful to join as the rally's first all-electric vehicle," said Rivian Creative Director Larry Parker.

The Rivian R1T is an battery-powered electric truck that can get up to 300 miles of range and 750 horsepower from its four electric motors and 135 kilowatt-hour battery. It will be the first to roll off Rivian's Normal, Illinois, assembly line, with the serial No. 1.

The R1T will not be fitted with additional features or special equipment, according to Brian Gase, chief engineer of special projects at Rivian. Even the on-board air compressor is stock equipment.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Mitsubishi returns to the Rebelle for its second year fielding the 2020 Outlander PHEV in the Crossover class; it is the first hybrid electric vehicle to compete in the event.

"Rebelle Rally shows us what is possible when we have the courage and ambition to do more with the cars in our driveway, and we need that inspiration now more than ever," said Mitsubishi Motors North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin. "We are thrilled to continue our support for Team Record the Journey (RTJ) this year with the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and to continue to prove our legacy of quality, dependability and reliability."

RTJ founder and team navigator Sergeant Major Rachael Ridenour, a 32-year U.S. Army combat veteran, will pair up with driver Master Sergeant Kristie Levy, a 25-year U.S. Army combat veteran and current federal law enforcement officer. Last year, the team piloted a minimally modified Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross to second place in the Crossover class.

Ford Bronco Sport

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Rally

Ford has joined the Rebelle Rally for the first time this year fielding three teams in stock Bronco Sport Badlands models. Competing in the Crossover class are teammates Shelby Hall and Penny Dale, experienced off-roaders and navigators; freelance automotive journalist Elana Scherr, who has covered off-roading for many years, and Betsy Anderson, an experienced off-road racer; as well as Ford employees Jovina Young, Brand Manager of Bronco Sport, and Erica Martin, Ford's Marketing Communications Manager for SUVs (shown above); both are novices to off-roading and rallies.

"The Rebelle Rally is a great match for Bronco Sport – with proven high-speed, off-road capability and best-in-class features to enable our teams to have the adventure of a lifetime," said Adrian Aguirre, Bronco Sport Project Manager. "Bronco Sport is designed for just that--to enable adventures in the outdoors and nothing says adventure more strongly than a rally raid event. You are heading out with nothing but instructions on how to get to that next waypoint, your thirst for overcoming challenges and confidence that your equipment is up to the task of getting you there.

"With Bronco Sport's twin-mechanical rear-drive unit, we are able to tailor the vehicle's behavior to different off-road conditions. This makes driving off-road easier and safer, and for the Rebelle Rally ultimately faster as a result. By using the GOAT modes, the driver will be able to select the appropriate drive mode and have the RDU adjust its behavior to match the terrain."

Infiniti QX80

2021 Infiniti QX80 Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Nicole Wakelin, a writer who covers the auto industry, and her navigator Alice Chase, will be in command of the 2021 Infiniti QX80 - the company's first entry into the Rebelle.

At Infiniti, we believe that luxury should be lived in and there are few who will test that theory more than our team in the Rebelle Rally this year," said Phil York, Infiniti General Manager of Global Marketing. "Ten days of navigating the desert in a QX80 will certainly showcase that our flagship SUV has as much grit as it has grace."

Nissan Frontier

2020 Nissan Frontier Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

This updated pickup makes a debut at the Rebelle with a new 3.8-liter V6 engine that gets 310 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque; its new automatic nine-speed transmission is borrowed from bigger brother Titan but geared specifically for the midsizer.

"The 2020 Frontier focuses on the needs and demands of midsized truck owners in the U.S.," offered Melaina Vasko, Vehicle Program Development Manager. "Featuring the heart of the next-generation Frontier, it is the beginning of the end of an extraordinary era and the start of a new exciting era to come. Customers will notice more power, quicker gear shifts, and improved fuel economy making for an enjoyable ride whether on the highway or off the beaten path."

The legendary off-roader, will also get a boost from Nissan's aftermarket performance brand - NISMO. Frontier will showcase a new line of off-road parts, including a high-performance suspension kit, an off-road bumper, off-road lighting and off-road wheels.

"We are fired up to watch Team Wild Grace show current and future Nissan Frontier owners what this beast can do on some of the most extreme terrain in the country," said Michael Soutter, vice president, Nissan Aftersales U.S. "These new NISMO off-road parts, created by people who deeply understand trucks and the desire for ultimate off-road performance, will elevate Frontier to a new level of capability."

Nissan is the only automaker to sponsor a team every year since the Rebelle began in 2016. Team Wild Grace, with co-captains Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward, will pilot the vehicle.

Kia Telluride

2021 Kia Telluride Rebelle Rally

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Telluride is one of the most popular three-row SUVs in America. The 2021 version of the model will be the mode of transportation for Team Telluriders, a duo made up of Alyssa Roenigk, a senior writer at ESPN, and actor Sabrina Howells.

Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia Motors North America & Kia Motors America is also looking forward to following the Telluriders team. "This is a significant event for Kia," he said. "The Telluride is one of our most successful vehicles ever and the Rebelle Rally is a real test of its capability, durability and versatility. We expect it to perform extremely well and will be cheering on Alyssa and Sabrina as they take on this tough challenge."

The Telluriders are used to winning. Roenigk was part of the first U.S. team to win the Aïcha des Gazelle Rally in Morocco, and to-date, is the only American driver to win. Howells has competed in four consecutive Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in Morocco, including the Expert Class in 2015. She competed in the Rebelle Rally in 2016, taking 1st place in the crossover class, and again in 2017, placing second.

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