After the last diesel car was taken off the Japanese market in 2007, Nissan Motor Company has become the first domestic automaker to release a diesel car in Japan in six years. And in the current day climate of everyone looking for ways to save on fuel – to cut costs and to help the environment – Nissan’s X-Trail 20GT sport utility vehicle is also the world’s first “clean” diesel.
Being powered by an engine lead-developed by partner Renault SA, the “clean” diesel refers to the fact that the X-Trail meets Japan’s new emissions standards that are set to kick into effect October 2009. These standards are said to be the strictest in the world.
The X-Trail 20GT was showcased at the 2008 Integrated Exhibition of the Environment in Hokkaido back in June, as well as the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit’s International Media Center a month later.
Nissan claim that the X-Trail achieves a fuel efficiency of 15.2 kilometers per liter, based under Japan’s 10-15 test mode operation. This represents an increase of about 30% in fuel economy over a 2.5 liter gasoline engine with the same power output, a marked improvement.
“For a long time, we had no diesel cars in Japan,” Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told a news conference. “I’m not sure how much it would spread in the market now, but if it does well we will consider broadening the line-up.”
Not surprisingly, other automakers are lining up to provide competition to Nissan’s new X-Trail. Honda Motor Co, Mitsubishi Motors Corp and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, will all be joining Nissan in the diesel market over the next few years. However, sadly, Toyota Motor Company, with a 45% of the Japanese car market, has yet to throw their hat into the ring.
Nissan also saw themselves surprise investors and pundits with a 13% increase in total market share in the US, according to U.S. auto sales data released on Wednesday. They were the only company (besides the imported Mini and Maserati) to see an overall increase in national sales, with many other companies taking losses of up to 25%, in the case of Ford.