Nissan, the Japanese automaker, has confirmed that it would produce a new crossover - based on the Kicks Concept - that will be sold globally, starting with Latin American markets from 2016. Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd said the official name of the crossover would be Nissan Kicks. The company would invest $192 million in the development of this new model, while it will be produced at Nissan's Resende Industrial Complex in Rio de Janeiro State.
The new model is inspired by the Kicks Concept car presented at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show, and it will retain the Kicks name for the production version as well. Nissan's Rio de Janeiro facility was inaugurated in 2014 and currently produces compact vehicles March and Versa. After the start of production, Nissan expects to hire 600 new employees and start a second shift in Resende facility. "Nissan invented the first crossover in 2003, with the Murano. Since then, we've established our global crossover leadership with vehicles like JUKE, Qashqai and X-Trail – which have been great successes. The Kicks will bring Nissan´s unique Crossover expertise to more regions," said Ghosn.
At the unveiling, José Valls, chairman of Nissan Latin America, said that compact crossovers are very attractive to Latin American customers. "With Nissan Kicks, we will go beyond the obvious to pack a punch with a strong design statement and the performance that our customers crave," said Valls. The Nissan Kicks Concept was also showcased at the 2015 Buenos Aires Motor Show. The Kicks prototype marked the evolution of the Extrem concept vehicle originally presented in Sao Paulo in 2012. "When our team from Nissan Brazil team collaborated with our colleagues in Japan to create the Kicks concept vehicle, which was inspired by our country and culture, the result was extraordinary," said Francois Dossa, president of Nissan Brazil.
"And now, we're excited that our manufacturing team in Resende is preparing to build it with top-notch Japanese precision," added Dossa. Led by Nissan's Global Design Center in Japan, the Kicks Concept was conceived through a collaboration between Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego and Nissan Design America - Rio (NDA-R), the company's local satellite design studio. The teams currently are engaged in the design and development of the production model. As well as its introduction in Latin American markets, Nissan continues to study the business case for launching Kicks in other regions, underlining the brand's commitment to global Crossover leadership.