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U.S. may get 2 new, small Nissans

Automotive News reports on two new models coming from Nissan.

Nissan's U.S. retailers could get two new B-segment vehicles from the automaker's flexible global V platform: a small car and a small multipurpose vehicle.

The company said last week that it will spend $400 million to put the two new models--smaller than the Versa--into production in Mexico for sale in the Americas region, possibly including the United States. The models would be additions to Nissan's lineup, not replacements of existing vehicles.

That makes four models potentially for the U.S. market to be spun off Nissan Motor Co.'s new V platform. It also will yield the next-generation Versa sedan and hatchback, plus the March and other models for Latin American markets.

The Mexican expansion tackles two goals for Nissan: giving its retailers smaller and more fuel-efficient products and weaning its global product pipeline off Japan, where the strong yen has made exports more expensive.

The V platform will spin off fuel-efficient models for global markets from factories in Mexico, China, India, and Thailand. Nissan's Aguascalientes, Mexico, plant will be the source for all V platform variants to be sold in the Americas, including the next-generation Versa.

Nissan just completed a $600 million investment in the plant to install the V platform. Last week, it began production of the March, a Latin American product that is about the size of BMW's Mini. The new Versa will debut later this year.

The news came just three weeks after the plant was dealt a setback on other product plans. Nissan was preparing to build a new small car for the Smart retail network in the United States. But last month, Daimler took over responsibility for Smart's U.S. production and distribution. That killed the deal for Nissan to build Smarts in Mexico.

(Source: Automotive News)