Nissan Motor Company has made plans for the manufacture of a new small global car that is to be placed below Versa, which is to hit the U.S. roads by 2010. The company spokesman stated that the U.S. is a major participant in their campaign to sell one million vehicles a year under the newly created low-cost “V platform” that includes four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback and a multipurpose vehicle models.
The “V platform” models will slowly replace the subcompact Micra from the non-U.S. markets. Currently the European Micra is manufactured at the company’s Sunderland plant in England and shares platform with the Japanese March.
The new car launch that will contain three-cylinder engine is part of the company’s attempt to capture the small A and B car segments that hold a major share in the present day sales, said Vincent Cobee, the V -platform manager. However, the company officials refused to comment on the official name or model of the upcoming car or the time when it will appear at the U.S. dealerships. It has made plans to produce the V- platform vehicles at five plants around the world, with the first launch in Thailand around March, 2010.
The shift is an attempt by the Japanese automaker to capture the small, fuel-efficient low-cost vehicle market from amongst its competitors. With the last year’s fall of the automotive industry, many companies like Mazda Motor Corp, GM, etc. have made a switch to the smaller models. Nissan has experienced a setback against the sale of its bigger vehicles like the Quest minivan and Pathfinder SUV the last year.
Last year Nissan introduced a stripped-down version of Versa with a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine, priced at $10,620 including destination charges that became the low-priced American car. The Versa is physically larger than the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, its immediate competitors.
Cobbee stated that the company has spent the past four years in pulling down the cost and weights to produce a small car. He expressed their plans to quit manufacturing March in Japan and outsourcing the job to plants in India, China, Thailand and another two markets that will produce around 200,000 cars a year. Cobbee, however, refused to comment on the plant that is to undertake the job of the U.S. models. The V-platform will bring about 50 percent more fuel-efficiency over Micra. The gasoline and diesel engines will be launched to cater to the needs of the market. The total number of parts will be reduced by 18 percent to cut down the costs and thereby, enhance the sales.