YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Nissan Motor Corp. added a hybrid version of the Rogue crossover to its Japan lineup, and may bring it to the U.S.
The Rogue, sold here as the X-Trail, gets Nissan's one-motor, two-clutch hybrid system, powered by a lithium ion battery. The X-Trail Hybrid is expected to account for up to 40 percent of that nameplate's sales here.
Nissan didn't announce overseas sales plans, but the Japanese carmaker is considering a possible U.S. introduction of a Rogue hybrid, said Nobusuke Toukura, the vehicle's chief engineer.
U.S. hybrid demand is expected to increase over the next five years as emissions rules become more stringent, and Nissan wants to have a hybrid ready if necessary, he said.
But hybrid-crazy Japan is a good place to start the rollout: The electrified vehicles make up about 21 percent of the local market.
Hybrids are expected to account for 7 percent of worldwide passenger car production in 2020, up from an expected 2 percent this year, predicts IHS Automotive.
The X-Trail Hybrid will be made in Japan. The gasoline Rogue sold in the U.S. is sourced from Smyrna, Tenn., Japan and South Korea. The vehicle, sold under those names and as the Qashqai in Europe, is built at nine assembly plants worldwide.
In the U.S., the Rogue is Nissan's second-best selling nameplate, behind the Altima midsize sedan. Sales soared 28 percent to 64,486 vehicles in the first three months of 2015.
The X-Trail Hybrid with its 2.0-liter engine delivers better low-end torque and acceleration than the nameplate's 2.5-liter nonhybrid variant, Nissan officials said at an event at the company's proving ground here, south of Tokyo.