Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) has announced it is entering the light commercial vehicle (LCV) arena with vehicles designed specifically for the North American market, the company said.
“The LCV vehicles will be launched in 2010 with three vehicles in three years,” Brian Brockman, Midwest region communications manager for Nissan North America, told FleetOwner. The first LCV will be released sometime during the first half of that year, he added.
The LCV products will be manufactured at Nissan’s plant in Canton, MS. The company will no longer produce the Nissan Quest minivan and Infiniti QX56 SUV at the facility to accommodate the capacity needed for the production of LCVs.
The company announced it has partnered with Cummins Inc. for the development of two diesel engines specifically for Nissan, both of which will meet 2010 EPA and CARB standards and be manufactured in the United States. The automatic transmission will be supplied by Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG, the company said.
“We do very well with LCVs in a lot of parts of the world, but the U.S. hasn’t been one we’ve tapped into,” Brockman said. “This is an opportunity to expand our business into the U.S. market.”
According to the company, Nissan LCVs are sold in 73% of the world’s markets, including Japan, China, Mexico, Europe and the Middle East, with global sales of 518,000 units in the 2007 fiscal year. The expansion into the North American market is part of the company’s “Value-Up” business initiative.
Joe Castelli, recently named vp of light commercial vehicle and fleet for NNA, will lead the business unit, overseeing development, sales, marketing, service and distribution, the company said. Castelli joined the company from Ford Motor Co., where he worked for 23 years in various roles, including commercial-vehicle operations.
The LCV dealer network will be selected from existing Nissan dealers, which will become specialized centers for sales and services of the LCV product range, the company said.
FleetOwner first reported that Nissan was forming an LCV division in North America in 2006.