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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 12:27 GMT
Nissan drives green car programme
Nissan Altima
Nissan's only current hybrid car uses technology from a rival
Nissan Motor has revealed plans for a hybrid bio-ethanol powered car, as it sets about rebranding itself as an environmentally friendly carmaker.

The Japanese firm has no hybrid car on the market, and the new Altima sedan will be launched in the US in 2007 and use technology licensed from Toyota.

It has also unveiled its Nissan Green Programme 2010, aimed at cutting carbon dioxide and exhaust emissions.

Nissan said its hybrids would balance cost and value, and be profitable.

Market forces

Nissan has lost its role as the technology leader in Japan in recent years, being outstripped by domestic rivals Toyota and Honda.

Now it is hoping to plug into the growing worldwide trend for more ecologically-friendly cars, as energy-saving and environmental concerns hit sales of larger gas-guzzling vehicles made by US rivals such as Ford and GM.

"We do not deny that from the marketing stand point, at the present point of time the customers' needs and values could not be met with what we have," chief operating office Toshiyuki Shiga said.

Japan's second-biggest carmaker hopes to be ready to offer a hybrid using its own technology by April 2010, at first for its home and US markets.

Further changes

As part of its new green drive, it also aims to introduce an electric car, first in Japan, and a next-generation fuel-cell vehicle in the US and Japan, both soon after 2010, it said.

It also intends to upgrade the existing conventional internal-combustion engine so that its cars can run for further on less petrol.

Nissan also said it would also develop clean diesel engines in alliance with partner Renault.

In addition the pair will launch a new two-litre diesel engine in the first half of 2007, starting in Europe.

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