Nissan has been in the U.S. market for a long time. They sold some interesting cars and some awful cars. There were some brilliant cars that were never exported to America. As with most import brands, U.S. safety and emissions regulations caused them some headaches.
When it comes to owning and repairing Nissans, it is important to realize that there are two groups. One is the sometimes-strange cars built in Japan, the other is conservative cars built in the U.S. American-built Nissans are boring and conservative next to the Japan-built ones, but they are easier to repair and own. Because the components are sourced in the U.S., replacements are made here and are more readily available.
Nissan has seen some difficult times, especially with management. During the bleak periods they attempted to survive by removing value from their cars, and it showed. Now under the partial control of Renault, represented by Carlos Ghosn, they are again one of Japan’s premier automakers. Nissan engineers have always been known as “engine guys.” Unlike Toyota, Nissan has always looked for the extra power lurking in an engine’s architecture. This has a reflection on the parts business.
Nissan cars are a problem when sourcing body parts. Years of changing bodies every year to gain a little market share have taken their toll. When buying body parts or trim, the buyer must take care that he is equipped with information. In addition, a few photos of the car are a good idea. This ensures that, in spite of mid-year model changes, he will get what he needs. This applies to used parts as well as new.
Mechanical parts, especially engine parts, are more highly stressed in Nissans. This makes them more likely to fail. A byproduct of this is that they are more readily available. Nissan evolves their engines rather than changing them wholesale, so an engine number should accompany any parts request. Getting the information from the under-the-hood sticker is also a good idea. Nissans are light and powerful; they are fun to own and drive. Boring they are not.