• Nna/kyodo


Nissan Motor Co. has picked Malaysia to launch a fully remodeled version of its popular Serena hybrid multipurpose vehicle, the first of its minivan series assembled outside Japan.

The all-new Nissan Serena 2.0L S-Hybrid has attracted 1,300 purchase bookings since April, reflecting strong demand for family-oriented models in Malaysia.

Edaran Tan Chong Motor Sdn. Bhd., the sole distributor and assembler of Nissan brand cars in the Southeast Asian country, said it aims to sell 500 units a month this year.

The local distributor started delivery Monday of two new grades — Highway Star and Premium Highway Star — with price tags of 135,000 ringgit (about $34,000) and 147,000 ringgit, respectively.

“We’ve found Malaysian families prefer MPV vehicles,” said Ayako Nakamura, vice president in charge of business operations at Nissan Motor Asia Pacific Co., the carmaker’s Bangkok-based regional headquarters.

The seven-seater Serena has consistently been one of Japan’s most popular passenger cars and has sold more than 33,000 units so far this year, according to the regional headquarters.