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At a briefing for reporters to explain how Nissan dramatically improved the fuel economy of the 2013 Altima, the company’s product experts said 40 per cent of the overall gain was attributable to the car’s new continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Nissan/Wieck

At a briefing for reporters to explain how Nissan dramatically improved the fuel economy of the 2013 Altima, the company's product experts said 40 per cent of the overall gain was attributable to the car's new continuously variable transmission (CVT).

And the rest of the fuel economy gain:

  • 15 per cent aerodynamics
  • 15 per cent mass reduction
  • 10 per cent tires and other elements
  • 10 per cent engine improvements
  • 5 per cent electric power steering
  • 5 per cent a “smart” alternator

As it turns out, the fuel savings are more than worth the effort for engineers and designers alike. And not only because governments in Canada and the United States are pushing ahead with stricter fuel economy rules.

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Apparently this is good business, too. That is, trade journal Automotive News reports that dealers are saying they can sell new models with advanced fuel efficiency at or near sticker. Less-efficient outgoing models? To get them off the lot, dealers and auto makers must slap on hefty incentives.

In Canada, Maritz research shows that fuel economy is ranked No. 2 among purchase considerations for new vehicle buyers, just behind value for money and ahead of reliability/durability.

As Ford's U.S. sales boss told Automotive News, "Fuel efficiency continues to be a top purchaser driver."

On both sides of the border.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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