Versa, to fit under the Sentra, starting
from around US$ 12,000.
29th September 2005.
Since the nineties, Toyota
managed to beat Nissan
category, at least partly due to Nissan's fall to near
bankruptcy level before its rescue in 1999, by Renault and
the Lebanese- Brazilian origin Carlos Ghosn, CEO of both
In other words, if Nissan's
circumstances failed to put Infinity on a par with
Toyota's Lexus division (in volume terms), the same is not
necessarily true at the other end of the spectrum: the
segment in the biggest market in the world, the USA.
fuel economy estimated at 38 US MPG (6.19
What could convince Nissan
more than the Toyota Scion
success in the US on one hand, and the rising oil prices
on the other, to get down to a smaller category, with the
previously announced and yesterday named 2007 Nissan
The new Nissan
Versa will be launched in
the USA at prices starting from around $12,000, to fit
right under the all-new Sentra
(for fall 2006), which will move up in size and stature to
get closer the Nissan's mid-size Altima
A "changing of the guards",
with Versa taking
place at the brands entry-level gates in North America.
Both will play in the under $20,000 compact (Sentra) and
entry-level (Versa) segments which account for nearly 1.9
million annual sales there (around 1.5 million compact
unit, or 9.0% of the US market, plus 322,000 entry-level
units, or some 1.9% of the market).
will be offered in two body styles, a hatchback which will
reach showrooms early 2006 summer, then a 4-door sedan
late next year.
While it is specific to North America
(to be built at
Aguascalientes, Mexico facility, which also builds the
current Nissan Sentra), Versa is based on Nissan's well
known B platform which is exploited with Renault (it has
44% of Nissan which has 15% of the French company), in
models such as Nissan's March/Micra, Cube, Tiida,
Renault Modus and the new
all in different shapes and sizes.
arguments based on generous interior space
to overall size.
The Aguascalientes plant capacity will
be increased from 200,000 units today to 350,000 units in
2007 - an increase of 70%, most of it attributed Versa and
Tiida volume. The plant has capacity to produce 60
vehicles per hour. With the expanded capacity, Nissan
Mexicana will increase its exports to North America from
130,000 units in 2005 to 170,000 in 2006. In 2007, the
Aguascalientes plant's current exports will double to
Versa is also produced in China, Japan,
Thailand, Taiwan, South Africa and India, with varying
levels of equipment and mechanical specification.
Known as the Tiida in Japan, China and
other markets where the
is sold, Versa's first argument is reflected in its US /
Canada name: versatility and interior space, compared to
its length (169.1
inches, or 4295 mm for the hatchback, and 175.9 inches, or
4467 mm for the sedan) and 102.4-inch (2601
mm) wheelbase, which puts it in the equivalent of the
European C segment, or lower-medium category with models
such as the Toyota Corolla, VW Golf, Renault Megane (built
on the common Renault-Nissan C-Platform), Peugeot 307,
Fiat Stilo and others.
The offered engine is a newly developed
1.8-liter 4-cylinder to be optionally available with
Nissan's Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission),
already known as standard on Nissan's Murano crossover.
While some carmakers have recently
leaned more towards rebotised gearboxes to reduce fuel
consumption (compared to traditional hydraulic automatics)
and offer higher comfort, Nissan is strongly committed to
the CVT technology, it plans to sell around 1 million
CVT-fitted models worldwide before the end of the decade -
four times its current sales.
hatchback and the sedan versions.
In terms of reducing CO2 emissions,
Nissan believes that its CVT plans should have the same
effect as selling 200,000 hybrid electric vehicles (it
will start offering hybrid cars
in the U.S. next, using technology licensed from Toyota).
With the CVT gearbox, the all-new
1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine is rated at an
estimated 120-horsepower and 125-plus lb-ft of torque (169
Nm). Fuel economy is estimated at a combined 38 miles per
US gallon (6.19 Litre/100 km, with final engine
performance and fuel economy ratings to be finalized
closer to vehicle on-sale date).
Nissan estimates the Versa's CVT fuel
economy improvement at 8-10% better than a 4-speed
The new entry-level model will be
offered with standard and optional equipment such as
(according to versions) Intelligent Key, Bluetooth®
Hands-Free Phone System, satellite radio and Rockford
Nissan identity, in smaller size.
Nissan plans - After it
successfully completed its NISSAN 180 plan set three years
earlier (1 for attaining 1 million additional units
globally*, 8 for 8 percent profitability and 0 for 0
automotive debt), the number-two Japanese carmaker
announced recently its business plan for the next three
years, called NISSAN Value-Up.
The new plan includes significant
international sales expansion, to 4.2 million unit by
fiscal year 2007-2008 (1st April 2007 to end March 2008),
compared to 3.4 million for the last FY, as well as the
introduction of Infiniti as a global luxury brand, outside
the US (Known in Saudi Arabia since the nineties), and the
launch of 28 new or replacement Nissan and Infiniti models
Nissan North America played a
significant role in attaining the previous plan targets.
Between FY98 and FY04, Nissan NA total sales increased
61%, while the total industry (there) moved up just 6.3%.
In the fiscal year which ended last March, Nissan U.S.
market share was 6%, up from 5.1% the year before, and
became the sixth manufacturer to sell a million units in a
year in the U.S.
hopes to attract with style and finish
quality, not just price & size.
For the 2006 model year, and
following the launch of three totally resigned vehicles in
2005 - the Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra - changes
include the first facelift for the 350Z, some added
features and equipment to the Quest, Altima, Armada and
Titan, while the Murano gets styling updates inside and
Nissan's 2007 model year
vehicles will include, with the Versa, the addition of a
hybrid vehicle (based on Toyota licensed technology),
enhancing the Maxima with a significant upgrade of the
interior, and an all-new mid-size Altima sedan which will
debut at the New York Auto Show next April.
Updated: 6/10/2005. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, announced
on the 6th of October 2005 that it sold 3.671 million
vehicles from 1 Oct., 2004 to 30 Sept., 2005, successfully
delivering on the company’s final NISSAN 180 commitment
to sell an additional 1 million vehicles during the 12
month period compared with fiscal year 2001.
In terms of
individual markets, North America, including Mexico and
Canada, was the biggest contributor to the 1.073 million
additional sales, accounting for 437,000 units. Nissan’s
general overseas markets (all markets excluding North
America, Japan and Europe) were second with 364,000 units.
Japan contributed 188,000 units, while Europe accounted
for 84,000 units.
By model, the
Frontier/Navara/Pickup was the biggest contributor to the
3.671 million sales with 307,000 units sold, followed by
the Altima sedan with 305,000 units and the March/Micra compact
car with 258,000
Nissan’s two other commitments under its NISSAN 180
business plan – an operating profit margin of 8% and
zero net automotive debt – were accomplished in the
first year of that plan, two years ahead of schedule.