The new model continues the Sunny name that was first introduced in China eight years ago. The vehicle was significant because it was the first locally built model from the Dongfeng Nissan partnership. (Most manufacturers have to form partnerships with Chinese businesses to do business in China.) The new model goes on sale in January 2011.
Auto marketing in China is not all that different from the United States. According to a Nissan press release, the demographic market sought seems to be what every automaker wants: “A projected class leader in fuel economy, the all-new Sunny is expected to appeal to young families in their 30s looking for a medium sized sedan that combines a dynamic upscale design with the space, quality and features associated with the Sunny and Nissan brand.”
The Sunny will feature Nissan’s 1.5-liter HR15DE engine with dual injectors and a new-generation Xtronic CVT with an auxiliary transmission, both of which are newly introduced in China, MacPherson struts are used for the front suspension and a torsion beam for the rear suspension, making for sporty and agile driving at low speeds, and steady and stable driving at higher speeds.
China is a hugely important market for Nissan. Nissan’s sales volume, including both passenger and light commercial vehicles, has risen from 94,000 units in 2003 to 756,000 units in 2009. Nissan also launched its luxury brand, Infiniti, in China in 2007. Nissan’s sales are forecasted to exceed 1,000,000 units in 2010 compared to the original plan of 860,000 units, including passenger and light commercial vehicles, along with Infiniti products. Nissan expects to sell 1,150,000 units in 2011.
By comparison, Nissan and Infiniti combined sold about 813,000 vehicles in the U.S. through Nov. 30, 2010. It is not expected to hit 1 million in sales in the U.S. by year end.