The second largest Japanese automaker will enhance the safety of all models sold in its home country by introducing automatic braking as a standard feature in all mass-market models before the year ends.
The safety system will be introduced first on the hybrid X-Trail sport utility vehicle, with the introduction of emergency braking and other high-tech safety features becoming increasingly important in numerous markets. Consumers in developed markets are increasingly asking for such safety-enhancing features, after automakers have started introducing them on a wide variety of models, not just top of the line luxury models, raising the stakes across the industry. Nissan’s larger Japanese rival, Toyota Motor – also the world’s biggest automaker – last week introduced its first model to feature its new technology that features automated emergency braking and lane-assistance – offering the packages either standard or as a cheap optional on most of its passenger car models in Japan, North America and Europe before 2018.
Nissan has not yet discussed its strategy for the rest of the world, saying the rollout currently involves only Japan. The enhanced safety features are an integral part of the automaker’s plans for developing and introducing fully autonomous vehicles, with the first phase of the strategy to be rolled out in 2016 in Japan, according to Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn. The new X-Trail Hybrid is scheduled to reach dealerships in Japan in May, with a price starting at 2.8 million yen ($23,423). The model will not reach mainstay level soon, with executive vice president Takao Katagiri forecasting monthly sales of some 3,500 units, next to the gasoline engine variant that already made its debut late in 2013.