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Nissan to produce CVT in China in 2009

BEIJING- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will produce CVT (continuously variable transmission) locally in China by mid-2009, according to a report in China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnian Bao). The CVTs will be fitted to all 1.5L-3.5L models to be produced by Dongfeng-Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co. (Dongfeng-Nissan). Half of Dongfeng-Nissa’s vehicles will be equipped with CVTs in 2012, said Toshiaki Otani, general manager of Dongfeng-Nissan, at the Nissan Technology Square event in Beijing in December 2008.

Japanese transmission manufacturer Jatco Ltd., a fully-owned subsidiary of Nissan, is expected to officially begin producing CVTs at its Guangzhou plant in 2009 after trial production in August 2008.

Nissan has pushed for CVT technology due to its low cost compared with hybrid technologies, explained Otani.

Five CVT-installed cars generate the same amount of CO2 as emitted by 1.5L hybrid cars. Inexpensive and environment-friendly CVT technology is a win-win solution for both customers in terms of prices and automakers in terms of costs, said Ren Yong, vice president of Dongfeng-Nissan.

Mr. Nakagawa, R&D director of Nissan (China) Investment Co., Ltd., believes it is a realistic solution for many automakers to cut R&D budget and focus on existing models in the market amid the current economic and financial turmoil. “Nissan will promote existing technologies, but will not cut investment on R&D because future opportunities are equally important to us,” said Nakagawa.

Among Nissa’s existing technologies, CVT is the most popular one, which saves over 20 percent fuel compared to transmissions with hydraulic converters.

Nissan started producing CVT in 1992 and had equipped over one million vehicles with CVTs as of 2007.

Currently, four Nissan models in the Chinese market are equipped with imported CVTs, namely the Bluebird Sylphy, Qashqai, X-Trail and new Teana.

Apart from CVT technology, Nissan is also betting heavily on electric vehicles. Nakagawa revealed Nissan is currently negotiating with the Chinese government on EV introduction to China. Nissa’s EVs are expected to enter the Chinese, U.S. and Japanese markets in 2012.

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