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Nissan to Introduce new 1.5-liter Subcompact in US in 2006

Nissan Tiida, the basis for the new subcompact

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Nissan will begin producing its promised new low-priced subcompact for the North American market next spring.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had said in January that the company would produce and sell a new compact car with a 1.5-liter engine in North America, although he was less definite about the date. (Earlier post.)


The new car will be based on the subcompact Tiida, and use the new 1.5-liter HR15DE engine, co-developed with Renault. The HR15DE has already appeared in Nissan’s recently introduced Note and Tiida models in the Japanese Market.

The Tiida, introduced in the fall of 2004, uses the 1.5-liter engine in combination with the XTRONIC Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to deliver 109 hp (81 kW) of power and 148 Nm of torque. The new powertrain is 30% lighter than its predecessor, delivers an increase of 5%–7% torque at low to medium speeds and provides an increase in fuel economy of 28%.

The Tiida, using the 1.5-liter/CVT combination, consumes 5.49 l/100 kilometers of fuel in the Japanese drive cycle (43 mpg US) and emits 128g CO2/km. It is rated as a SULEV vehicle.

Nissan reportedly will manufacture tens of thousands of the new subcompacts at its Aguascalientes, Mexico plant in the first year, then lift annual output to more than 100,000 cars a couple of years later.

Last week, Nissan announced that it had achieved its goal of boosting global sales by 1 million units from its fiscal 2001 level, raising U.S. sales by 380,000 vehicles. In the medium-term business plan it launched this fiscal year, the automaker is targeting 4.2 million units worldwide by fiscal 2008. Nissan will develop the new subcompact into a core model in North America and expects it to help meet the new sales target.

Although margins on subcompacts are tight (and such manufacturing is increasingly done in countries such as China, where labor costs are lower), there are two important business benefits for Nissan. First is that buyers of subcompacts often upgrade within the same brand in the future. Second is that Nissan can tap into a growing market for fuel efficiency at a much lower price point than possible with a hybrid buy—again, especially at that entry point. The new subcompact reportedly will be priced in the mid-teens.


Mikhail Capone

That's one impressive engine. I will probably be on the market for a car next spring (I don't have one right now), and the contenders right now are the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Fit (maybe the new Honda Civic, depending on how much I like it when I see it in person).

It definitely would have been the Yaris if it had had the CVT transmission, but at least it's ULEVII and has side airbags as options. I already like the previous generation and the new one should improve on that (my girlfriend and sister both have an Echo Hatchback - the name of the Canadian version of the Yaris).

The Fit will probably have a CVT and will probably have better fuel economy than the Yaris, but if it doesn't have side airbags, that might make a difference. It's still too far off to judge.


Tiida is an ugly little car. I really hope they redesign it before it comes to the US. It won't be able to compete with the Fit or Yaris. Also the 1.5 litre engine is pretty pathetic by comparison with its closest competitors. It doesn't use VVT for low end torque and fuel economy. Its just a cheap unremarkable car.

none of the above

Low-end torque is less important with CVT. The engine spends most of its time in its efficient range, where it is also most economical.

none of the above

Anybody know if the Tiida precludes the Cube? I'd like a cheap, efficient, economical car that can actually carry something.


Honda uses CVT with the I-DSI and VTEC engines in the Fit. So the Honda will be more fuel efficient and faster than the Nissan competitor. The only way the Nissan will be able to compete is if its substantially cheaper.

Marv C

Screw the looks we need fuel economy now!!!

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