YOKOHAMA, JAPAN (AP) - Nissan is playing catchup with Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda in introducing its own hybrid car, the luxury Infiniti M, which delivers double the mileage of the gasoline-engine version.
Nissan Motor Co. showed the new gas-electric hybrid, called Fuga in Japan, Tuesday at its headquarters in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo.
The hybrid goes on sale in Japan Nov. 2, starting at nearly 5.8 million yen ($72,000) _ more expensive than the regular gasoline version which starts at about 4.3 million yen ($53,000).
Mileage is estimated at 19 kilometers a liter (45 miles per gallon) under Japanese test-driving conditions, about double the comparable gas-engine vehicle. Mileage for the U.S. is still undecided, according to Nissan.
The car boasts the same stylish design, fancy interior and expensive sound system that are the trademark of the Infiniti luxury brand.
But as a hybrid, it switches between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver a more efficient drive, reducing emissions and boosting mileage.
“This premium car delivers both the highest quality mileage and the highest quality drive,” Shiga told reporters.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s popular Prius hybrid uses nickel metal hydride batteries, although all automakers are experimenting with lithium-ion.
The arrival of the hybrid highlights how Nissan is trying to catch up with Toyota, a world leader in the technology, offering hybrid versions of its luxury Lexus models, as well as Honda Motor Co., which offers the Insight, Fit and CR-Z hybrids in its lineup.