Nissan Motor Co. is stripping the gears out of more of its vehicles. The Japanese automaker expects that 40 percent of its U.S. sales in the 2008 model year will be of vehicles equipped with fuel-saving continuously variable transmissions.
It is an ambitious plan. Last year, 6.3 percent of Nissan vehicles sold in the United States had CVTs - all of them Nissan Muranos. The Murano has the gearless transmission as standard equipment.
Nissan won't say which Nissan and Infiniti vehicles will get CVTs. But clues can be found in the fact that the Murano shares its platform and 3.5-liter V-6 engine with the Nissan Altima, Maxima and Quest. The V-6 also is used in the Infiniti G35 and M35. Plus, a redesign of the Sentra small car and the introduction of a minicar similar to the Japan-market Cube are planned before 2008.
CVTs use a pair of adjustable pulleys and a metal belt to move torque from the engine to the wheels.
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