Special Coverage

logoNew York Int’l Auto Show

NEW YORK – Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s boxy Cube small car will arrive in the U.S. as early as 2009, says Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and design director.

Although originally expected this year, the Cube, which went on sale in Japan in late 2002, will arrive in the U.S. in next-generation form “in a couple of years. The current one is too late,” Nakamura tells Ward’s at an event in conjunction with the auto show here.

The vehicle will receive minimal tweaking for the U.S. market, save for some regulatory-related changes.

The U.S.-market Cube “will look exactly the same as the Japanese model otherwise there’s no meaning,” he says of the reason for bringing the boxy model here in the first place.

What won’t look the same is the next-generation Infiniti G coupe, which is expected to undergo a more revolutionary styling change.

Nakamura says the design language, established on the first-generation G35 sedan and coupe in 2002 and carried over for the new G35 and G37 coupe, the latter officially unveiled here and going on sale this summer in the U.S., has run its course.

“I don’t think we can go ‘evolution’ three times,” he says of the need to start with a fresh look for future G models.

Nissan designers have carried over the G’s styling to the new EX35 small cross/utility vehicle, launching late this year in the U.S.

The EX also bears a strong family resemblance to Infiniti’s current lone CUV, the FX.

Nakamura says the next FX, due next year as an ’09 model according to Ward’s data, will “be much more emotional” and aggressive, although he cautions against too-strong a look.

“We don’t want to be too aggressive,” Nakamura says. “We want to keep some modesty,” because Nissan is a Japanese brand, he says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com