Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. says it will launch its first clean diesel engine in the U.S. market in 2010 under the hood of its Maxima model.

The new diesel is being developed with alliance partner Renault SA and will be designed to meet Environmental Protection Agency Tier II Bin 5 emissions requirements, the auto maker says.

Nissan earlier said it would have a diesel available in North America by April 2010, but the auto maker did not identify a specific model. That announcement had been expected at the recent New York Auto Show, but Nissan apparently decided to hold that for an appearance by President and CEO Carlos Ghosn before the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

Nissan already sells vehicles with clean diesels in Europe. Later in the first half of this year, it will launch a new Euro 4-compliant 2L diesel there, the auto maker says.

With the launch of the Maxima in the U.S., Nissan will be selling clean-diesel vehicles in at least four countries by 2010: Japan, the U.S., Europe and China.

The diesel plan is part of the Nissan Green Program 2010 in which the auto maker will invest in a wide variety of technologies, including fuel-cell cars, hybrids, biofuel cars and electric vehicles, as well as improve the efficiency of its gasoline and diesel engines.

“Nissan is fully engaged in reducing emissions and improving fuel economy and efficiency,” Ghosn tells the Council on Foreign Relations. “Launching a clean diesel engine in the U.S. will offer customers the benefits of fuel economy, (carbon-dioxide) reduction and a satisfying, fun- to-drive performance that is a hallmark of the Nissan brand.”