24 September 2015

What’s Mariah Carey got to do with testing Nissan cars?

The same question could be asked about grizzly bears, robots and a bottle of green tea effectively costing €50,000. This week, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan revealed to the world the extraordinary lengths it goes to when testing its crossover cars, like the popular Juke.

Since 2007 when Nissan first got its crossover thing going with the Qashqai, in excess of 150,000 tests have been carried out on their crossovers to ensure high quality – and some of them are really quite eye-opening.

Nissan crossover testing Mariah Carey bears green tea volcanic - Carrot Insurance, telematics for 17-30 year olds 2


To make sure the panoramic glass roof, which is optional on a number of their crossovers, can withstand being pounced on by a grizzly bear, one of Nissan’s tests sees various heavy weights dropped on top of the cars. Fair enough, we don’t have issues with grizzlies in the UK, but other parts of the world sure might.

Car firms are often proud of the sound systems installed in their cars and Nissan has, over the life of its crossover testing so far, played 1,728,000 minutes of music at full whack, which equates to over three years of continuous music being played. Apparently they play German House music to test the bass and stick Mariah Carey tunes on to see how high-pitched notes sound.

Nissan crossover testing Mariah Carey bears green tea volcanic - Carrot Insurance, telematics for 17-30 year olds 3


Slightly more boring tests that are just as important, if not more so, include windscreen wipers swishing backwards and forwards for a grand total of 480 hours, and indicator lights flashing left and right no less than 2.2 million times – on each model. Robots play a part in testing Nissan crossovers, as you would expect, such as opening and closing each model’s windows 30,000 times. Boots have also been opened and slammed shut 48,000 times, thankfully in factory surroundings, else it’d create a royal racket.

Highlighting just how far Nissan goes in testing its cars in the name of quality, they’ve revealed a couple more incredible facts, too. Firstly, they discovered that the door bin in a Qashqai wasn’t big enough for a bottle of a certain brand of Japanese green tea to fit into. They knew customers wouldn’t be impressed with their beloved green tea bottles getting slightly squashed, so Nissan spent €50,000 redesigning the door bin. The other amazing Nissan test procedure is the use of a special kind of volcanic dust imported from Japan, to see how the electric windows perform under test and to see how much the paint gets scratched.

Nissan crossover testing Mariah Carey bears green tea volcanic - Carrot Insurance, telematics for 17-30 year olds 4


David Moss, one of Nissan’s bosses, admitted the firm might now sound like a load of “mad inventors” but he explains that the quirky tests “are all there to make sure that Nissan’s range of crossovers are thoroughly tested to meet the needs of customers.”

The question on Carrot Insurance’ mind is what music would you play to test the high and low frequencies of a car’s stereo? I used to rely on an Erykah Badu CD in my early days of car testing. If you can think of any other tests Nissan should carry out, we’d love to hear them on Twitter or Facebook!

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.