New-look Fuga hits Japan's roads

Combining luxury with improved fuel performance and a host of new features, a completely remodeled Fuga sedan has been unveiled by Nissan Motor Co. November 20.

The company's investment in this high-end model is a brave move at a time when car makers are still reeling from dismal sales caused by the global economic crisis, but Nissan has high hopes for the vehicle.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new car at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said the company has set a domestic sales target of 11,000 for the business year - and welcomed reports that the Japanese government is considering extending tax breaks for people buying fuel-efficient cars beyond the original deadline of March.

Uncertainty over the programme is "making it difficult to develop a sales outlook," he told reporters at the launch.

The Fuga was first released in Japan in October 2004. The updated version will be marketed in the United States and countries in Europe as the Infiniti M from next year. Nissan also plans to sell the car in Russia and China and has set an annual global sales target of 40,000 units.

The car remains Nissan's flagship model and comes equipped with either a V6 2.5-liter or V6 3.7-liter engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The exterior has also undergone a redesign, with a low nose and deeply sculpted fenders that are inspired by the Infiniti Essence Concept. Nissan says the design, combined with the large-diameter wheels and bold headlight design, establishes a "strong presence" for the brand.

The new Fuga also incorporates a number of advanced technologies to improve performance and fuel economy over its predecessor, as well as cleaner exhaust emissions.

Nissan will be putting the car up against high-end imports from Europe - notably Mercedes and BMW - but also going head-to-head with Toyota Motor Corp.'s top-selling Lexus and the Camry.

The first new cars rolled out of showrooms across Japan on Tuesday and have a retail price of between Y3,990,000 (€29,850) and Y5,502,000 (€41,165).

JR

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