November 16, 2010

New hybrid aims to keep pace with carmaker’s rivals

Not wanting to get left behind in the race to develop hybrid cars, Nissan Motor Co. on Tuesday unveiled the environment-friendly version of its Fuga sedan.

Known as the Infiniti M in North America and Europe, Nissan’s first foray into mass-produced hybrid vehicles will go on sale in Japan on November 2 with a price tag of Y5.8 million (€51,410), the company announced at a press conference at its headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.

Nissan has not announced the release date in the US or Europe, although it is understood it will be in the early part of next year.

At 19 km per liter, the new Fuga is capable of double the mileage of the conventional gasoline-engine version, which was first released in November 2009. It will be substantially more expensive than the conventional sedan, however, which retails for Y4.3 million (€38,117).

Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan’s chief operating officer, told reporters at the launch that the company expects to sell 200 units a year in Japan but substantially more than that in the US, where the Infiniti has already proved popular.

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