The Nikkei reports that Nissan Motor has decided to start selling a subcompact car priced at around ¥800,000-900,000 (US$6,900-7,800) in Japan as early as 2009 in an attempt to stem the tide of growing minicar sales.
At this price level, this car will likely be the cheapest on the domestic market—except for minicars, which are powered by engines 660cc or smaller.
While new-car sales in Japan remain weak, minicar sales have continued to grow, thanks to their prices and low maintenance costs. Minicars accounted for 35% of new-car sales in 2006, up 11 percentage points from a decade earlier.
Nissan’s low-priced subcompact will likely feature a 1- to 1.3-liter-class engine, applied in a platform Nissan has been developing with Renault for Low Price Vehicles for emerging markets. Nissan may also import a large proportion of key components from Thailand and elsewhere.
Nissan currently sells minicars that it sources from Suzuki.