Having already sold a claimed half a million units of its B-segment Versa/Sunny sedan, Nissan has been surprised by the negative reaction of the Japanese media as it introduced the car in its home market.

Journalists on the media preview reportedly objected to the lack of certain features on the new Latio sedan, pricing that is far higher than charged for the same car in the US market, and the length of time it has taken for the car to launched in Japan.

A reporter for the thetruthaboutcars.com, who attended the preview event at Nissan’s Yokohama HQ, witnessed this outburst from a Japanese journalist, directed at Nissan executive vice president Takao Katagiri: “As I expected, there is no head restraint in the middle of the rear seat. How can Nissan produce such a vehicle in these modern times? Rather than making the car cheaper, it is better to add safety features. You always say fleet users are looking for something inexpensive, but that’s a mistake!”

The Latio is an import from Thailand, whereas the Tiida Latio, which it replaces, was built in Japan.

This small sedan was a world premiere at the Guangzhou motor show back in December 2010. In China, the car is built by the Guangzhou Nissan joint venture and sold as the Nissan Sunny. The same model name is used in India, where a modified version is also sold as the Renault Scala. Nissan Thailand also builds the car for the local market and exports it to Australia. The model is sold as the Almera in both these countries.

Nissan North America, meanwhile, revealed its Versa Sedan at the New York auto show in April 2011. This Mexican-made car went on sale across North America from July 2011, new for that region’s 2012 model year.

Author: Glenn Brooks