MOVING ON UP: Nissan's new Pathfinder and Sentra are debuting at the 2014 Moscow Motor Show. Image: Nissan
• First hybrid production in Russia
• Pathfinder, Sentra to be built there
• Nine models to launch in 2014
MOSCOW, Russia - Nissan has launched the eagerly awaited Pathfinder range, including the first Russian-made petrol-electric hybrid, at the 2014 Moscow Motor Show.
The Pathfinder's debut with the new Russian-built Sentra sedan (a model already launched in South Africa) has re-affirmed, Nissan's commitment to bringing to selling 'Built in Russia' products with local buyers in mind.
FIRSTS FOR RUSSIA
Nissan in 2014 has stepped up its commitment to the Russian market - its largest in the Euro/Russian area - through the launch of nine new vehicles and increased localised production. The automaker now offers a full range of products across every market segment - including Russia's first affordable and first Russian-built hybrid model with the debut of the Pathfinder.
Also at the Moscow show are the new Nissan Juke and new Nissan GT-R Nismo - hold thumbs, the Nismo might just make it to SA!
Nissan SA says customers prefer the current model in the local market with the more rugged look. The Sentra making its Russian debut was launched in South Africa in August 2013.
Nissan Russia has a strong collaboration with Alliance partners Renault and AvtoVAZ through joint manufacturing. And the company is well on its way to achieving regional goals: together with recently resuscitated Datsun, Nissan aims to reach 10% market share within three years with 90% of vehicles sold in Russia, built in Russia.
(Wheels24 is betting US and European auto workers wish their companies had done that!)
IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan's operations in Europe, said: "Nissan already has a strong presence in Russia and we're committed to increasing that local presence through increased Russian design, engineering and production so that we can make the cars that Russia's drivers want and need while boosting jobs and the wider Russian economy.
"Innovative and accessible Russian-built vehicles such as the Pathfinder and Sentra demonstrate that our commitment to Russian drivers has never been stronger."
Pathfinder production is being added to Nissan's operation in St Petersburg, the addition of which will contribute to Nissan's doubling of production there to 100 000 units a year.
Nissan's all-new fourth-generation Pathfinder will be available with 3.5 petrol or 2.5 hybrid power. It will be equipped with an "intelligent" 4x4 system and the latest X-tronic transmission.
Production of Pathfinder's hybrid engine variant will make the St Petersburg plant Russia's first to produce a hybrid. The plant currently builds the Teana, Murano and X-Trail; Qashqai will be added in 2015.
Sentra production is a collaboration with Alliance partner AvtoVAZ, the country's largest automaker, and will be built at the AvtoVAZ plant in Izhevsk, Russia's capital city, near Ural. The C-segment sedan will be available with a 1.6 petrol engine and a choice of five-speed manual or X-tronic auto transmission.
Nissan also produces vehicles at the AvtoVAZ plant in Togliatti, in the Samara region, which is already producing the Nissan Almera and Datsun On-do. By the beginning of 2014 two Datsuns - including the Datsun Mi-do which also premiered as the Moscow show - and three Nissan models will be in production at AvtoVAZ facilities.