To cope with the demand for cheaper models, Nissan Motor Co. seeks to introduce a new passenger-car brand in Chinese market with its local partner, Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Hideki Kimata, senior general manager of the companies’ joint venture unit, said that starting in early 2012, two companies will jointly produce and sell cars under the new brand Qi Chen. Nissan, which makes the Teana and Sylphy sedans with Dongfeng, will only be the second Japanese carmaker to launch a new China-only brand with a local partner as carmakers are focused on their expansion in the world’s largest vehicle market.
In 2011, Honda Motor Co. unit Guangqi Honda Automobile Co. will debut the Everus sedan on the mainland -- the first car made under its new Li Nian brand. Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo, said that Nissan seeks to offer a smaller and cheaper model “without sacrificing their brand image.” Endo anticipates that the demand for lower priced cars will rise quicker than for the higher-priced models.
Endo said that Qi Chen vehicles may be priced from 50,000 yuan ($7,356) to 100,000 yuan. Meanwhile, Nissan’s cheapest current model in China, the March compact, has a price tag of 69,900 yuan. In addition, the joint partners say that the new line bears a logo similar to the five-stars on China’s national flag and will be known as Venucia when written in English. The type of models that will be introduced has yet to be announced. [via autonews - sub. required]