Nissan to sell diesel X-Trail SUV in Japan

by Hiroko Nakata

Nissan Motor Co. said Monday it will introduce the X-Trail sport utility vehicle with a new diesel engine in Japan in September.

This will enable the X-Trail to meet new emission regulatory standards, which will take effect in October 2009.

The announcement was a further step by Nissan to improve its lineup of eco-friendly cars in Japan.

The X-Trail diesel was launched in Europe last year, where diesels are much more popular than in Japan and the U.S. The Japan launch will be the first time since January 2003 that Nissan will sell passenger cars with diesel engines in the domestic market.

Competition between automakers in the environmentally friendly car sector is intensifying amid concerns over climate change and surging gas prices.

“The (X-Trail) diesel will cut about 20 percent of carbon dioxide, compared with gasoline engines,” said Yo Usuba, senior vice president of Nissan.

Under the new and stricter regulations in Japan, diesel passenger cars need to cut nitrogen oxide emissions to less than 0.08 grams per km and particulate matters to 0.005 grams per km. The X-Trail diesel will use the M9R diesel engine, which Nissan jointly developed with its parent, Renault SA.

The engine reduces nitrogen oxide and particulate matters to meet stricter regulations.