Nissan launches eco-friendly diesel car in Japan

Nissan Motor Corp launched the X-Trail 20 GT its first eco-friendly diesel vehicle in Japan. According to the automaker, the sports-utility vehicle, powered by a M9R engine increases fuel economy by 30 per cent over a 2.5-litre gasoline engine. The vehicle offers powerful acceleration and cuts carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 per cent.

The SUV, which goes on sale in September this year, complies with some of the world's strictest emissions standards that will come into effect across Japan in October 2009, said Nissan.

The car maker has reintroduced a diesel-powered vehicle in Japan after many years in a bid to establish a market  for diesel cars in the domestic market. The company aims to sell around 1,200 units annually.

The company feels that the fuel efficiency of the X-Trail 20 GT is the key to attract customers at a time when the auto industry is faced with high petrol prices.

In Japan, eco-friendly hybrid cars are more in demand as people feel that diesel-powered vehicles are noisy, smelly and emit pollutants. In 2007 diesel cars accounted for just 0.1 per cent of new car sales in Japan. Though the new age diesel has improved substantially it's questionable whether consumers in Japan will come out of their perception and accept them.

The SUV is priced at $27,700 including consumption tax, which is nearly 20 per cent more than a vehicle with a traditional engine. However Nissan feels that by driving an average of 10,000 kilometres annually for three years, would result in fuel savings, which would compensate the high price of the vehicle.

If the car establishes a market in Japan, Nissan will start developing a line-up using the technology. It also plans to introduce the technology in its models in North America and China by 2010.