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First look: Livina laid bare

New Nissan global car emerges first in China, but is unlikely for Australia

14 Jul 2006

NISSAN is the latest car-maker to highlight the importance of China’s booming economy to its expansion plans by announcing that, for the first time, it will launch a brand-new model there ahead of other global markets.

Revealed in sketch form last week and to be dubbed Livina Geniss in China, where the five-door people-mover will go on sale this year, the all-new B-segment car is based on platform shared with Renault and was designed and engineered at the Nissan Technical Centre in Atsugi, Japan.

Although the newest Nissan marks a renewed focus on the Chinese market by Japan’s second-largest car company, it is believed Livina Geniss – the first of a family of model variants to emerge over the next two years – is designed primarily for Asian markets.

It is therefore unlikely to be made available to Nissan Australia, which continues to evaluate the Micra for local sales as a possible light-segment contender that could eventually be positioned below its slow-selling Pulsar replacement, Tiida.

"Livina Geniss is not in the sphere of our agenda at this stage," a Nissan spokesman told GoAuto this week.

The seven-seat Livina Geniss will make its world debut at the Guangzhou International Motor Show later this month and, according to Nissan, is: "Based on the concept of a luxurious, yet practical vehicle ... The exterior features a bold, modern design and is complemented by a highly flexible interior that provides multiple seating arrangements and a high standard specification."China’s model will be manufactured at the Huadu plant in Guangdong Province, which is owned by Nissan’s Chinese joint-venture partner Dongfeng Motor Company.

Other variants will be produced at various facilities globally. Most are expected to be powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine featuring continuous valve timing control (C-VTC).

"This new family of global cars represents a substantial investment for Nissan," Nissan executive vice-president Carlos Tavares said. "We expect the Livina Geniss and the other variants to become significant contributors to Nissan’s growth in China and other key global markets."Nissan claims Livina Geniss sales are expected to rival those of both Tiida and X-Trail by reaching 200,000 units globally. Including its derivatives, the new car is just one of nine new models Nissan plans to release worldwide in its current business year – as well as one of a total of 28 Nissan hopes to launch during its three-year product plan that ends in March 2008.

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