A Thief has Pilfered the Fresh Nissan Kicks Manufacturing Equipment Resulting in Postponement

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By Car Brand Experts

For enthusiasts of economical cars, the imminent arrival of a new Nissan Kicks is on the horizon. Unfortunately, its introduction in the U.S. has been pushed back due to the purported theft of crucial equipment necessary for its production.

According to Automotive News, this marks the second significant setback to the unveiling of the new compact SUV. The initial setback occurred when the vehicle failed basic crash safety assessments, leading to a delay of around six weeks. The latest setback is anticipated to extend the timeline by an additional five months, all due to the disappearance of manufacturing equipment stolen from a supplier’s facility in Mexico. The supplier involved and the specific components targeted remain undisclosed by informed sources.

Nissan has acknowledged the postponement of the launch to Automotive News without specifically attributing a cause for the delay.

“The arrival of the upcoming Kicks model is slightly delayed due to an unforeseen external factor,” said Brian Brockman, Vice President of Communications for Nissan US and Canada. “During this period, we anticipate maintaining a strong supply of the current model, which remains a popular choice in its sector.”

Commencement of production is now scheduled for June next year, with distribution in the U.S. set to follow shortly thereafter. The manufacturing of the Kicks will take place at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

The continued production of the current iteration will assist in meeting the dealership’s needs, yet some express frustration over the postponement. Chadi Moussa, a dealer in the San Francisco Bay area, emphasized the urgency for the new model to compete with other automakers. Moussa stated, “Apart from the Ariya, our lineup lacks cutting-edge features. Everything else is lagging behind by a couple of years.”

The Kicks holds an average price of about $25,000, rendering it one of the most reasonably priced vehicles available. It serves as a crucial model for Nissan dealers, with a significant portion of customers opting for financing, a vital revenue stream for dealerships. Sales surged by 28 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, supported by the alleviation of pandemic-related supply chain obstacles. Nissan recorded 54,879 unit sales of the Kicks last year, a figure that approaches two-thirds of Mitsubishi’s total sales in the U.S. for the entire year.

The theft of the equipment raises suspicions regarding the motives of the perpetrators. Unless the thieves intend to establish their own manufacturing facility, the equipment’s worth primarily lies with Nissan. It is conceivable, however, that it might have been stolen for its scrap value. Alternatively, a more imaginative thief could have attempted to extort ransom from the automaker, assuming they could identify the equipment correctly.

Given the absence of the equipment, the five-month delay is unsurprising. The specific items stolen remain unknown, but tooling components like press tools and casting dies can take anywhere from six months to a year to manufacture. Tooling is typically ordered well ahead of a new model’s debut to ensure readiness when sales commence in earnest. Replacing the tooling promptly can pose challenges depending on the toolmaker’s current production capacity to accommodate urgent orders.

The Kicks has been a global offering since 2016 and in the U.S. since 2018, receiving enhancements in 2021 both internally and externally. A seven-year production cycle is comparatively brief in Nissan’s present framework, signifying the brand’s commitment to refreshing its product lineup.

Rumors indicate that the new Kicks will debut in the 2025 model year featuring a larger engine and all-wheel-drive functionality. Anticipated to showcase an elevated stance and a front design reminiscent of the Ariya and Versa, this upcoming subcompact crossover could offer superior performance, albeit potentially at a higher cost. The final judgment on the new generation model’s capabilities will have to wait a bit longer.

Got a tip? Reach out to the author: lewin@thedrive.com

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