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Nissan to sell own-badged Logans in Mexico

From reuters| April 13,2007

Nissan Motor Co. (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research) will begin selling partner Renault SA's (RENA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) Logan cars under its own badge in Mexico soon, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday, marking the first foray into the ultra-low-cost segment for the Japanese automaker.

The car would be built by Renault in Brazil and exported to Mexico with a Nissan badge, the source said.

A spokesman for Japan's third-biggest automaker confirmed that Nissan would announce a new product for the Mexican market this week, but declined to go into details.

Intended for emerging markets such as India and Russia, the Logan concept has become a hit even in mature European markets, prompting rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) to try and follow suit.

France's Renault, which owns 44 percent of Nissan, has said the next model of the no-frills Logan would be launched in Brazil towards the end of this year. The Commitment 2009 plan for Renault, which aims to boost sales volumes and increase its profit margin to 6 percent by 2009, includes the launch of 26 new vehicles, and five of these would be Logans, a Renault executive told Reuters last month. Originally built in Romania, the Logan is also produced now in Russia, Morocco, Colombia, India and Iran. Globally, Renault aims to boost the Logan's production capacity to about 1 million units by 2009.

Nissan's sales in Mexico fell 2.8 percent in 2006 to around 228,000 units.

Nissan and Renault share several vehicle platforms and build vehicles for each other around the world. In Mexico, Nissan manufactures the Renault Clio at its Aguascalientes plant, along with its own Sentra and Versa models.

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