As we've reported before, Nissan is committed to the continuously variable transmission (CVT) for use in passenger cars due to the environmental improvements that the alternative transmission's enhanced efficiency allows. CVT transmissions are not locked into set gear ratios, instead they can offer any ratio which falls in between their minimum and maximum values as defined by multiple internal pulleys or planetary gearsets. In 2007, Nissan surpassed its stated goal of selling a million CVT transmission units in passenger cars by selling 1,088,000 in total, just less than thirty percent of its total global sales. In North America and Japan, though, the CVT represents almost half of Nissan's total transmission output.
Just how much good are Nissan's CVT's for the environment? Nissan's data suggests that a million cars equipped with CVT's is equal to the carbon reduction of 200,000 hybrids -- many of which use CVT transmissions as it is.
[Source: Just-Auto - sub. req'd]