Despite the increasing popularity of small cars in recent years, Nissan Motor Co. on Monday unveiled its Teana luxury sedan to tap into the market for larger vehicles.

The Teana, which is available with an engine displacement of 2,300cc, 2,500cc and 3,500cc, features a spacious and luxurious interior and boasts superior driving performance, the carmaker said.

It is priced between 2.25 million yen and 3.19 million yen.

Nissan is hoping for annual sales of 25,000 vehicles in Japan and 75,000 overseas. The automaker plans to market the new car in China and other parts of Asia.

Nissan President Carlos Ghosn said Teana models for sale in China will be assembled at its joint venture there, which was established with local auto giant Dong Feng Automobile Co.

Ghosn told reporters that Nissan is “ready to go in China, hopefully in fiscal 2003.” But the issue of whether the firm can market Nissan vehicles, including the Teana, will depend on decisions made by the Chinese partner, he said.

Despite unveiling a global sales target of 100,000 units, Nissan has not yet decided when it will launch the Teana outside Japan, Ghosn said.

New vehicle sales up

Domestic sales of new motor vehicles, excluding minivehicles, rose 4.5 percent in January from a year earlier to 259,661 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Monday.

This marks the fifth consecutive month of increase.

The total includes 207,183 cars, up 7.1 percent; 51,446 trucks, down 5 percent; and 1,032 buses, up 15.2 percent.

Sales of cars featuring engines more powerful than 2,000cc hit 43,688 units, up 8.6 percent, while sales of smaller-engine cars totaled 163,495 units, up 6.7 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. retained the pole position in terms of sales, selling 107,636 vehicles, up 2.1 percent.

Toyota was followed by Nissan Motor Co. with 52,326 units, up 7.8 percent, and Honda Motor Co. with 32,779 units, down 9.4 percent.

Mazda Motor Corp. was fourth with 19,448, up 12.4 percent, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. came in fifth with 14,544, up 36.6 percent.

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