BANGKOK, Thailand : March 12, 2010 - Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (NMT) today celebrated the start of production for the all-new Nissan March, a global compact vehicle. More than 200 guests and employees were at the kick-off event, which included representatives from the Thai government, including Trirong Suwanakiri, deputy prime minister.
Officially launching March 26 at the Bangkok International Motor Show 2010, the Nissan March will be the first model offered for sale under Thailand's "eco-car" program, created to encourage the development of energy-efficient vehicles.
To receive eco-car designation, requirements for low fuel consumption and emissions must be met, as well as passenger safety standards for front and side impact under the stringent standards of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE regulation 94 and 95). The Thai eco-car program is an initiative of the Ministry of Industry's Board of Investment, which was successful in establishing Thailand as a manufacturing hub for pickup trucks.
"With an increasing vehicle population in Thailand and valid concerns about higher pollution levels in cities across the country, we're introducing a product that will have fewer CO2 emissions and less environmental impact," said Toshiyuki Shiga, COO of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "Very importantly, too, producing and selling the eco-friendly Nissan March in Thailand, as well as exporting it to other countries in the Asian and Oceania markets, will create jobs and contribute to the country's progressive auto industry development," added Shiga, who attended the event.
The start of production for March positions NMT as a center for excellence in manufacturing, R&D and customer care. Thailand will join China, India and Mexico as one of Nissan's global manufacturing hubs for Nissan March (known as the Micra in Europe and other countries), which ultimately will be offered in 160 world markets.
Nissan March is built on a new versatile platform, the V-platform, and is designed to have broad appeal to customers in both developed and emerging markets. The designers in Japan worked to create a vehicle that would convey agility and robustness in the design. On this, they delivered. As well, March is a reliable, stylish and eco-friendly car for people who enjoy everyday driving. The compact hatchback, with its affable appearance, also is engineered for easy handling and sprightly performance, while realizing class-leading fuel efficiency. The newly developed March powertrain features a 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder engine with an output of 79PS (108Nm) and 120g/km CO2 emissions (under UNECE regulation 101). March is available with a five-speed manual transmission or an all-new continuous variable transmission (CVT).
"The all-new March will simplify city life," said Toru Hasegawa, NMT president. "March is a smart eco-car for people who enjoy their daily drives. New March drivers in Thailand will be pleased as well with the car's modern and roomy interior and the many user-friendly technologies. It's really the right car at the right time for this market."
Dealers will accept customer bookings for Nissan March starting tomorrow, and vehicle delivery will start within a few weeks for the five-speed manual transmission version. Delivery of the March with CVT will begin in early June.
Priced from 375,000 baht to 537,000 baht, March will be sold through the NMT dealer network across Thailand.
As part of its mid-term business plan (named "Revolution 2012") announced last October, NMT has targeted a more than 10 percent market share for Thailand. The company expects to achieve this mainly through the success of the eco-car project, launch of at least one new vehicle every year through 2012 and continuing quality improvements in the sales network. NMT FY2009 sales are expected to total 34,000 units, an increase of 22 percent versus FY2008. The company plans to sell 48,000 vehicles in FY2010, including 20,000 units of March.
Images : 2010 Nissan Micra/March
[Source : NISSAN]