BARCELONA – First deliveries ofMotor Co. Ltd.’s much-ballyhooed NV200 light-commercial vehicle, a regular on the auto show circuit in one form or another during the past two years, get under way in Spain early next month.
Initially, the NV200 will be imported from Japan, where production of the new model began a year ago. In February, output will get under way at the auto maker’s Zona Franca plant, close to the Barcelona harbor. A second shift will be added there as part of the NV200 program.
The new model also will be produced in China and marketed in 36 countries. Annual global output of 150,000 units is planned in the face of low demand for LCVs worldwide.
The NV200 replaces the Kubistar, a clone of the Kangoo, produced and marketed bypartner SA.
The truck is narrower than much of its European competition, a result of compromises made in order to dodge higher taxes in Japan. Nissan’s Spanish subsidiary, Nissan Motor Iberica, is accenting the slimmer NV200’s maneuverability in its marketing.
Width aside, the NV200 is a clear step above the defunct Kubistar and has performed well in the Japanese market.
It puts Nissan on a par in the segment in Japan withMotor Corp., “and both brands are competing for (market) leadership,” says Salvador Delgar, in charge of product planning for Nissan Motor Iberica.
The NV200 will offer two powerplants here, a 1.6L 106-hp gasoline engine and a 1.5L 86-hp diesel. The latter is used broadly by the-Nissan alliance, with annual production of 1.5 million units.
A more powerful diesel will be added to the lineup in the coming months. About 90% of NV200s are expected to be sold with a diesel engine.
The NV200 is being offered in three body styles: panel van, combi and 7-seater. Trim levels include base, comfort and premium.
The top-of-the-line model includes air conditioning, electronic stability control, fog lights and an airbag for the front passenger and will be priced at E15,400 ($22,500).
Nissan expects panel van sales to be split 13% for the base model, 20% for the mid-level version and 67% for the premium trim. Some 79% of combi vans sold should be premium models, Nissan says, with 14% mid-level comfort versions and 7% base models.
Sales are targeted conservatively at 5,000 units annually in Spain.
LCV sales have suffered “a strong contraction in Europe during the last 18 months, but we see a positive environment regarding the recovery of that demand,” says Javier Redondo, LCV director for Nissan Motor Iberica.
Meanwhile, company officials say there is no plan to import the NV250 from the U.S., where it will be built in North America beginning next year. The NV250 is too big for European roads, they say.