In June, Nissan will begin selling its first minicar manufactured in partnership with Mitsubishi in Japan.
During this weekend, Nissan began manufacturing the minicar at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant located in the Okayama prefecture. Beginning with June the vehicle will be sold as the Nissan DAYZ and Mitsubishi eK Wagon. The Japanese automaker’s plan is to gain more market share in the minicar segment, which accounts for 38% of new-car sales in Japan.
The minicars, known is Japan as ‘Kei’ cars, are favored due to their easy handling and low cost. Analysts predict that sales of this segment will continue to increase even if total industry demand begins to drop, caused by the end of government’s incentives.
“It’s important to introduce mini vehicles if you want to expand in the domestic market,” said Kohei Takahashi, an analyst with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo. “In the Japanese market, which is shrinking, this is one of the very few growing segments.”
The joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi was created in 2011 and is aimed at developing minicars for Japan. The Nissan DAYZ will rival the Daihatsu Motor’s Move and Honda N-box, which is the best-selling minicar so far this year.