TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. last week introduced a mid-sized near-luxury sedan here that it plans to produce in China as well as Japan.
The Teana, which debuted Monday, Feb. 3, replaces two models in Nissan's Japan lineup: the Cefiro and the Laurel.
Nissan plans to sell 100,000 Teanas a year, including 25,000 in Japan. Other markets include China, Southeast Asia and Australia.
The sedan will not be sold in the United States, where it would crowd the Altima and Maxima.
The Teana is built on the same platform as the Altima, Maxima, Quest minivan and Murano sport wagon.
In China, the Teana will go into production in 2004 alongside the Sunny/Sentra compact at Dongfeng Motor Corp. Nissan is buying half of Dongfeng.
Executives at the Teana's unveiling here last week declined to discuss production goals for China but said the company plans to produce 6,000 a month in Japan.
In addition to the Sunny, Nissan's China-built lineup includes the Bluebird mid-sized sedan built by a joint venture between Dongfeng and Taiwan's Yulon Motor Co. That venture also is launching a Nissan light truck designed for China known as the Paladin.
The top-of-the-line Nissan sold in China is expected to be the imported Cima, which is sold in North America as the Infiniti Q45.
The Teana has conservative styling, with numerous luxury-sedan touches.
It has four thick bars on the front grille, chrome trim around the arched side windows and faux wood paneling inside.
Teana chief designer Takashi Nakajima said the design theme was "a luxury and active sedan for sophisticated drivers," but a translation of his comments on a video screen substituted "mature" for "sophisticated."
Photos of target consumers included people in their 50s and 60s.
Japan-market TV commercials compare the Teana with living room furniture classics by such designers as Frank Lloyd Wright.