Nissan Motors continues to make important strides in becoming one of the highest quality automakers on the scene in North America today. Long living in the shadow of Japanese stalwarts Honda and Toyota, Nissan is fighting back with a series of new or updated models to cut into the Honda-Toyota dominance. Can they succeed? You be the judge as we take a look at four coming attractions soon to make their appearance at a Nissan dealer near you!
Nissan Versa – Toyota’s Scion division has been a hit with the youth, while Nissan has been scrambling to provide models that can capture the interest of new drivers while being at the same time affordable. Scheduled for release by Summer 2006, the Versa will come with a 1.8L inline four cylinder engine and be available as either a five door hatchback or a four door sedan. The car will be manufactured in Mexico with a starting price in the neighborhood of 12 thousand dollars expected. FYI: The Mazda Verisa is a similarly named, but unrelated small car sold only in Japan.
Nissan Cube – Still in the “maybe it will be imported” stage, the new Cube is Nissan’s response to the Scion xB and the Honda Element. Seating five to seven adults, the Cube is exactly that: a box on wheels. Published reports suggest that the Cube will be released to the North American market by 2008.
Nissan Sentra – A new Sentra is expected to bow during the second half of 2006 as a 2007 model. Significant styling changes and an up market push are planned by Nissan to help the car compete more effectively with the VW Golf and Mazda 3.
Nissan Altima – The big change coming for the Altima is the introduction of a hybrid engine. Scheduled to hit Nissan showrooms by Fall 2006, this new Altima model will actually borrow Toyota technology to create Nissan’s first hybrid. The engine and the battery will be all Nissan, however; Nissan apparently needs an assist from its Japanese rival to enter the growing hybrid segment.
Beyond 2008 consumers can expect to see an updated Quest van makes its appearance with subtle changes on the remaining vehicles in Nissan’s line up. Additional models are in the concept stage; expect some to be shown at upcoming auto shows.
Although it is too early to confirm each of the four featured models, Nissan’s thrust in the coming years is to increase its share of the Generation “Y” market. Should the Cube and Versa make their appearance as hoped for, Nissan is likely to score some points with young drivers in two areas: style and price. Look out Honda and look out Toyota!
Copyright 2005-2012 — Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer covering classic, current, and future models. He manages Hyundai Porter [http://www.hyundaiporter.com/], an information website for this truck.