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Old 08-18-2007, 01:00 PM
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Arrow Nissan May Expand Diesel Autos in US by 2012 Models (Update1)

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. may make diesel autos widely available in the U.S. by 2012 models as the carmaker looks to add fuel-efficient vehicles that emit less carbon dioxide, its U.S. product-development chief said.

Nissan this month said it developed methods to treat diesel exhaust and meet standards in California and other U.S. states that now bar them because of emissions. Europe, the largest market for diesel autos, will adopt rules closer to California's in 2012, making that the time to introduce such vehicles in the U.S., Nissan's Larry Dominique said in an interview.

``That's when it becomes more compelling, in terms of cost, to bring diesel to the U.S.,'' he said in San Diego yesterday.

Nissan, Japan's third-largest automaker, is the latest to add diesel to technologies expected to help meet tougher U.S. fuel-economy and environmental rules. Honda Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG have said they'll sell diesels clean enough for California, which has the world's toughest emissions standards.

California bars current diesels because they emit too much particulate matter, or soot, and gases linked to lung and heart disease. Diesel vehicles rival sales of gasoline models in Europe, where the fuel costs less, offers about a 30 percent fuel-economy boost and helps meet regional restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions.

Dominique, vice president of product planning for Nashville, Tennessee-based Nissan North America, said the company continues to study whether to add a diesel version of the Titan large pickup truck.

``It's an important issue for us, but we're still considering the business case,'' he said.

The Tokyo-based automaker is ``a year or two away'' from creating a U.S. program to evaluate plug-in electric hybrid cars, Dominique said. Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. are both working on such vehicles, which can be recharged from a home outlet and travel for a distance on their batteries alone. Road tests are slated to begin this year at Toyota and in 2008 at GM.

``We are looking at plug-ins, but at this point it's still a laboratory study program,'' Dominique said.

Nissan's American depositary receipts fell 17 cents to $19.14 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They have declined 21 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at

Source: [url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aQf_RAmI915Y&refer=japan]Bloomberg[/url]
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