Nissan GT-R on display in front of Mandarin Oriental Hotel. 


Nissan showcases new GT-R sports car at August luncheon
By Juan Robbin 

Nissan North America played host for the August SAMA luncheon and company officials used the occasion to showcase the beautiful new -- and technology-laden – GT-R sports car.


Colin Price

The luncheon took place in the Bangkok Room in Miami’s grand-luxe Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key overlooking the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay. 

On hand from Nissan was Southeast Region Corporate Communications Manager Julie Lawless, who arranged to have a gorgeous new GT-R positioned at the entrance of the hotel for members to inspect. GT-R product manager and Nissan Technology Communications Specialist Colin Price was the guest speaker for the event and detailed the evolution of the hot new car. 

Also attending from Nissan were Nissan dealer specialists Gus Batista and Ray Jimenez. More than 50 people were in attendance for the luncheon in the hotel conference room that featured a dramatic 

Julie Lawless

sweeping vista of Biscayne Bay and, five floors below at the Porte-cochere entrance of the hotel in a roped off area, a silver GT-R sat gleaming in the sun. SAMA President Ron Beasley brought the meeting to order and briefed members on the upcoming events that SAMA is developing. Treasurer Bill Adam, looking tanned and refreshed after a 10-week vacation in Canada, was welcomed back by the group and he will update us at the September meeting on plans for the Nov. 1 “Kids’ Ride Day” at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

Phil & Lisa Lambert  with Woodie Lesesne

Secretary Jaime Flores could not attend the luncheon as he was attending an event in California. Ron reaffirmed that the SAMA kickoff breakfast for the South Florida International Auto Show will be sponsored this year by ONSTAR, and that Teresa Bravo is coordinating the production of the breakfast. Ron told the group that there was interest from automotive journalists in Atlanta in forming an automotive media association and associating with SAMA as the Atlanta chapter, but that the group now seems intent on being an independent entity and adopting the name of the Atlanta Automotive Media Association. 

Marcello Serrato, from Prestige Auto Specialists, attended the group’s recent organization meeting and said the opportunity exists for the fledgling Atlanta association to participate with SAMA in the development of future automotive-related events. Marcello added that the growth and evolution of SAMA over the last 18 months has been recognized by the auto industry as a whole, and the development of a similar entity in Atlanta would only accelerate that growth. 

SAMA Vice President Paul Borden also addressed the meeting and discussed SAMA’s proposed “Green” vehicle event that is in the early planning stages. He said a tentative date for the event in the spring of 2009 is being considered. Paul said preliminary discussions with several manufacturers indicate that there is solid interest in an event of this nature. This writer will be working with Paul to develop a plan for this event and anyone interested in joining us is welcome. Please contact either Paul or me. 

Following SAMA business and after a delicious lunch of roasted free range chicken with asparagus and mashed potatoes, Nissan’s Colin Price took to the podium to discuss the merits of the exciting new GT-R. As the wait staff served a delicious cheese cake with coffee, Colin detailed the rich racing heritage of Nissan and the GT-R that dates to the early 1960s and the days of the Nissan Skyliner. Today’s version of the GT-R has been finely honed by the wizards at Nissan. The name GT-R is an icon in Japan, but not so well known in the U.S., except for hard-core Gran Turismo video game fans and a growing number of tuner and after-market aficionados. Well, great news! The Nissan GT-R officially went on sale in the U.S. for the first time on July 1, but you’ll probably have to stand in line and pay a premium to own one due to the popularity of the car. 

Price told SAMA members that an astounding 1,700 pre-sale orders had been placed with dealers across the nation and that most of the 2009 production run is already sold out. Don’t expect to pay anywhere close to MSRP for this car for a long, long time. Price said the GT-R is new from the ground up and that the Nissan brass wanted a super car that looked Japanese and clearly evoked the passion that Nissan has for automobiles; an intensely powerful car in every dimension. They got that in spades with the GT-R. Price said the GT-R is a super-car that can be driven daily. He said engineers paid tremendous attention to detail not only in the design, but also in the execution of the aerodynamics of the vehicle. 
Nissan set lofty goals for the GT-R and not only were they met, but surpassed with ease. The car clocks 0-60 in under four seconds, goes from 60-0 in less than 110 feet, has an incredible cornering capability, and a top speed of 193 mph. 

SAMA member Jorge Gutierrez, of JG AutoWorks, got into the spirit of the event and brought a rare R-32 Skyline GT-R to the luncheon, a real treat as these cars were only sold in Japan and Australia and all were right hand drive cars. Thanks, Jorge, for allowing us to get a look at a great looking automobile. After lunch, Price gave a comprehensive walkaround of the GT-R parked in front of the hotel and answered questions about the car.

Next month’s meeting will be on Friday, September 26, at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Downtown Miami when Chrysler will be the sponsor and showcase four new 2009 models. See you all next month!

Angelica Willard ,  Iliana Muniz

DickKelley , Bill Adam

Ed Williamson  , Tony Lesesne

Jose Gonzalez, Jose Gutierrez, Ariel Linares

Kerstin Sachl

Martha Lopez ,  Marlen Bedoya


Terry Jackson

Lisa Lambert , Gigi Cerboncini