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Nissan Planning Pair of $10,000 Cars For U.S.

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Nissan Global Compact Car (Micra/March)

Nissan Global Compact Car (Micra/March)

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The Nissan Versa is one of the least expensive cars on the U.S. market with a base price of $9,990, though sacrifices must be made to get there. But now a report has emerged that Nissan is planning two more small cars, smaller than the Versa, to be priced comfortably around $10,000. The latest report confirms information dug up by Bengt Halvorson back in October.

That means you won't necessarily have to give up your power windows, stereo and air conditioning to get down to $10,000. The two models are still unnamed, but with Nissan already planning an eight-model rollout for the coming year, it's not hard to see two more coming along for the ride.

What is a bit harder to see is how a sub-$10,000 sub-Versa-size car will fare in the U.S. market. Its tiny size and low price may give the perception of a "disposable" car--not necessarily good for Nissan's brand image. On the other hand, there may be a market for people that would like a hyper-efficient and low-cost third car with modern safety and conveniences built-in. Nissan is obviously banking on the latter.

The decision to sell the $10,000 cars in the U.S. is a natural one, according to Nissan's chairman for the Americas, Carlos Tavares. He told Automotive News, "I think $10,000 is a good point. As you know, there are very few new cars sold at that price point in the United States."

The new small cars will be built on what Nissan calls the V platform, and though three cars will be built around the same architecture, only two will be sold in the U.S. The third will be sold in Central and South America alongside the other two. The V platform is the architecture Nissan will be using to replace the Micra's underpinnings in other markets, potentially opening the door for the next-gen Micra to come to the U.S. as one of the two new cars.

No time frame has been given for the pair of $10,000 cars, but the next Micra is expected to come to some markets in late 2010 as a 2011 model, meaning the U.S.-bound models will like arrive sometime after that.

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Comments (6)
  1. $20 says these two cars are based on either the Renault Twingo and/or Clio
     
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  2. $10k and still have power windows? That seems like a stimulus plan all on its own.
    By the way great redesign!
     
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  3. I wonder what Nissan is upto- they try and keep an upscale image while competing on price, unclear if there is a path there to bigger marketshare
     
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  4. fascinating to see one major OE pushing for THREE ~$10,000 models. have to think there must be a belief significant volume will be driven as one has to think per unit profit is very low.
     
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  5. You got to remember, there's a lot more money to be made from servicing, spare parts and after market accessories. And then there's the fact that a lot of people like to stick/grow up with a brand.
     
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  6. If these two look anything like the Micra rendering, I'm guessing they'll slot in between the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Fit -- both of which sell moderately well. If they're designed well and look reasonably safe, I see no reason people wouldn't buy them -- I mean, remember the itty-bitty Geo line? People bought those. You know, for a while.
    _
    As far as Nissan's brand image disintegrating, I think that process has already begun. The Versa may be the ugliest car still in production, and the Japanese milk truck known as the Cube...well, I don't know where that's supposed to fit in. Granted, the Cube is kind of cute, but the point is: the brand is already watery.
     
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