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Versa gets smaller engine, cheapest-car title

Rafay Ansar



Nissan North America will begin selling the lowest-priced car in the United States-- reduced-price 2009 Versa sedan--Nov. 18, thanks to a smaller engine not previously available here.

That change, and the exclusion of an air conditioner, puts the sticker at $10,685, including shipping. Previously, with a 1.8-liter engine and air conditioning, the sticker price was $13,685, including shipping.



The 1.6-liter engine goes into Versas that are exported to Europe. But previous constraints on engine production prevented Nissan from offering the 1.6-liter in North America.

Currently, the least expensive new car sold in the United States is the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo, at $12,625, including shipping.

Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president, said the move is not intended as a bait-and-switch -- a marketing tactic that advertises low-priced models that are not actually available.

"Our dealers tell us there is demand for this," Castignetti says. "We're setting aside one-third of our sedan production capacity for the new model."

He said Nissan expects to sell 10,000 of the new models annually.
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