In a move designed to tap into the current popularity of multipurpose vehicles in Japan’s domestic market, Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday introduced the Bassara minivan.

The new Bassara features a direct-injection diesel engine with engine displacement of 2,500cc, while the vehicle alternately comes with a 2,400cc or 3,000cc gasoline engine.

The automaker placed high priority on design in the development of the new vehicle, said Patrick Pelata, executive vice president, focusing on a spacious and comfortable interior combined with a distinctive exterior. Pelata took over at Nissan after arriving from alliance partner Renault S.A. of France.

Nissan hopes to sell 2,500 units a month.

In related news, Pelata also said the country’s second-largest automaker is exploring the possibility of selling minicars on the domestic market.

Minicars, which have an engine displacement of less than 660cc, have been riding a wave of popularity thanks to new tax laws and now account for about 30 percent of the country’s auto market in terms of units sold.

Nissan, however, has missed the minicar explosion because it does not manufacture any. “We are trying to find a solution in that market,” Pelata said.

Asked whether Nissan Motor is considering using platforms from Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Pelata said Nissan might do so if Fuji Heavy Industries accepts such a proposal. Nissan Motor has a 4.14 percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, which produces minicars, larger cars, and vehicles under the Subaru nameplate.

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