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This is in this morning's Wall Street Journal...

Nissan Mulls Hybrid Truck Models

By JOSEPH B. WHITE and NORIHIKO SHIROUZU
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 19, 2005 1:21 p.m.; Page D3

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Corp. is considering hybrid gas electric or diesel among other alternatives to improve the mileage of its U.S.-made large, light truck models, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told Dow Jones.

"We will enhance fuel economy," Mr. Shiga said during an interview Wednesday on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show.

"We do not think the full-size market will disappear," Mr. Shiga said. But Mr. Shiga said Nissan is looking at alternative technology, including diesel engines and hybrid gas-electric powertrains, to improve the fuel economy of its V-8 powered large pickup and SUV models, assembled at a new factory in Canton, Miss.

Nissan has had to slow production of its large light trucks in recent weeks, as sales in that segment have slowed in the U.S. in the face of higher gas prices. Sales of the big Nissan Armada SUV fell nearly 21% in September. Sales of the Titan large pickup fell 11.2%.

Mr. Shiga declined to discuss details of Nissan's plans for alternative powertrains in its large SUVs and pickup. But he noted that Nissan has an alliance with Toyota Motor Corp. to use Toyota's hybrid technology. Nissan plans to launch a hybrid version of its Altima sedan next year.

"We will introduce the hybrid Altima and watch customer reaction first," he said.

For diesel technology, Nissan could turn to alliance partner Renault SA. Both Nissan and the French auto maker are led by Carlos Ghosn.

On a separate point, Mr. Shiga said that Nissan will use the architecture of its small Tiida car, to be sold in the U.S. as the Versa, to expand sales around the world, including in emerging markets. "This car will be launched in a lot of countries," he said.

In Japan, Mr. Shiga said, the Tiida is sold to older buyers who want a smaller car that is more luxurious than a typical small car. But in the U.S., the Versa will be aimed at buyers who want a more affordable small car. In China, he said, the Tiida will be aimed at younger professionals.
 

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Meh... I'm not too interested in paying a $10,000 premium for a vehicle that only get moderately better mileage.

:)
 
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