Nissan rolled out its new NV200 van at the Geneva motor show today and said models for Europe would be built at its plant in Barcelona, Spain, from late this year.


The global model, part of a big push further into LCVs by the automaker will also be built at other plants. It will be launched in Japan in spring 2009, in Europe in the second half of 2009, and then in China and a number of other markets globally. The automaker hopes to sell 150,000 a year.


Nissan Spanish Industrial Operations (NSIO) will adapt its two production lines to accommodate the additional vehicle alongside the Pathfinder, Navara pick up truck and Primastar van (also built as the Trafic for alliance partner Renault).


“In a time of difficult economic conditions, we are pleased that the Nissan plant in Barcelona was able to adapt to the changing market environment and accommodate the production for Europe of this important vehicle,” said Andy Palmer, who heads Nissan’s global LCV business unit.


“This first step has been made possible by the dedication and passionate efforts of the Barcelona plant management, but also by the cooperative approach of both the Spanish and Catalan authorities and the Unions.


“We hope that this spirit will be kept to make sure the Barcelona plant will take the necessary further steps to become competitive and gain new products for its sustainability,” added Palmer.


NSIO management announced that, in order to be competitive and gain new products, the Barcelona plant needs to meet a number of conditions including the ability to sustain capacity utilisation while preserving flexibility.


Nissan also unveiled the Qazana concept, a small car-based crossover it hopes will emulate the success of the larger Qashqai. Like that model, it will be built at the Sunderland plant here in the UK. Production starts next year.