TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. sees power in spreading a limited number of engines among an expanding number of new vehicles.

By the end of 2002, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and its Infiniti upscale brand will have added significant new cars to their nameplates in what is amounting to a quick and almost total product turnaround for the two brands. Nissan will have the all-new “Z” sports car by late summer and Infiniti adds the aggressive, rear-drive G35 midsize sport sedan this spring.

Both brands will be covered by just two engines: the new and powerful 2.5L DOHC I-4 and the recently revised 3.5L DOHC V-6 from the VQ engine range that replaces the 3L VQ engine.

Traditionally, customers moving up the price ladder expect a larger and better engine as part of the package. But Patrick Pelata, Nissan’s executive vice president in charge of product development, says the “new” Nissan doesn’t plan to ascribe to that long-held convention, and that two engines to cover a broad range of vehicles -- including the Z car -- will do just fine.

“We could have put the 3L engine in the (new for ’02) Altima, but why?” Pelata asks. “Why would we not offer an excellent engine in a family car?”

Pelata denounces the idea that the Altima, whose highline 3.5L V-6 engine option also is used by the current and upcoming Infinitis and the 350Z -- should have retained the discontinued 3L V-6 to give buyers of Infiniti and the 350Z the “step up” to the 3.5L V-6 engine.

The step-up notion is “fake marketing,” he says, adding, “Why not give as much as we can?”

Pelata provides the example of a vehicle alarm system. Often, he says, it costs the manufacturer more to de-specify such an item, yet marketing schemes insist that certain equipment cannot be offered on some baseline vehicles.

“Where is the value (to either customer or manufacturer),” he asks, “when it costs more to leave it off? If your marketing needs this kind of stuff, something is wrong with your marketing.”

Nissan’s car lineup is covered by the 2.5L I-4 for the Sentra and Altima, while the 3.5L V-6 currently is fitted in the Altima, Maxima and Infiniti I35. In the near future, the Infiniti G35, an Infiniti cross/utility vehicle (CUV) and the Nissan 350Z also will use the 3.5L V-6.

A 4.5L V-8 currently is used in the Q45 and is planned for a fullsize Nissan pickup and SUV, as well as another future Infiniti sedan and perhaps as the optional engine for the CUV.

Pelata says differentiation will be provided not by having numerous engines but by numerous engine specifications.

“It won’t be the ‘same’ engine because we add technologies and refinements,” he insists. “For the 350Z and the G35 coupe, the (3.5L V-6’s) output is going to be significantly different than for the Altima.”