Nissan Motor Co. plans to create a portfolio of gasoline-electric hybrids starting late this summer with the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid crossover.
Nissan, which only a few years ago relied on competitor Toyota Motor Corp. for a hybrid drive system to power its sole hybrid offering, now will use a modular hybrid system developed in-house that it can tailor to fit several of its models at a modest additional cost.
"We are looking at other segments, and you'll hear more," says Ken Kcomt, product planning director for Nissan trucks and SUVs. "We're looking at additional hybrid-electric models in the coming years."
Nissan unveiled the Pathfinder Hybrid this afternoon at the New York auto show.
About $3,000 more
The 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid's pricing will be revealed later. Nissan says it will cost about $3,000 more than the 2013 Pathfinder with a standard 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine. That vehicle starts at $29,495, including shipping.
"We're very optimistic about what how appealing this will be," Kcomt says. "What we're bringing to market is a really good increase in fuel economy at a modest additional MSRP of about $3,000."
With a hybrid powertrain, the four-wheel-drive Pathfinder will get 26 mpg in combined highway and city driving, an increase of 5 mpg from the gasoline engine, he says.
Nissan Motor's Infiniti luxury brand has said it plans to sell a hybrid version of its JX crossover in the 2014 model year, also for about $3,000 more than the gasoline-powered JX.
The Nissan and Infiniti crossovers are built on the same chassis at the automaker's Smyrna, Tenn., plant using engines, electric motors and hybrid components produced at Nissan's engine plant in Decherd, Tenn. Infiniti plans to rename the JX as the QX60.
Kcomt declined to say what other nameplates would receive the hybrid system. But he said that its design as a parallel hybrid system, sandwiched between the engine and the continuously variable transmission that Nissan uses on most of its models, makes it flexible to install into other models.