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When you’ve got a concept car and one that makes it’s world premiere at a European motor show, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge whether or not, A, a production version will materialize and B, if it will make it to other markets, like the US.
In North America, Nissan recently revamped the Versa sedan for 2012 into a car that, let’s be serious, is built to a price and considered by many to be a retrograde step compared with its predecessor. The Versa hatchback, however, continues on totally unchanged, leaving many to question what comes next for the 5-door.
And although there’s been no official word so far, during informal discussions with Nissan insiders, AutoGuide has learned that the idea of a subcompact hatchback for our market, a car that’s perhaps sportier and better equipped than the Versa sedan, is very much on the table. The question remains however, exactly what form it will take.
Nissan’s Invitation Concept, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today could lead to that car, though as Andy Palmer, Nissan Executive Vice President stated, the Invitation was conceived very much with Europe in mind and will be built at the automaker’s facility in Sunderland, UK.
Nissan is in a somewhat unique position among Japanese automakers in Europe, as it is currently the most popular Asian brand and heavily invested in the region, with assembly plants and R&D facilities in Britain, Spain and Russia. The Invitation sports an interior that was designed to be “comfortable and practical,” featuring the first application of an Around View Monitoring System in a B-segment car, plus Nissan’s Safety Shield, to ensure the driver has a complete peripheral vision of what’s going on around the vehicle.
As for powertrains, not much information is being released at the moment, Nissan simply stating that the production version of the Invitation, which will be launched in 2013, will sport “class-leading levels of fuel efficiency and emissions.” Figure small displacement direct-injection gasoline and diesel engines to make the cut, along with a manual gearbox and CVT. Given Nissan’s current push toward zero emissions, don’t rule out the possibility of a Hybrid or even EV variant down the road either.