Nissan has announced a new strategy for Brazil that will see an investment of US$150m in the country between now and 2008, according to AutoData.

The Nissan Shift Mercosul Plan will start with the launch of the Murano, imported directly from Japan at a rate of 200 vehicles a year.

The next phase will be the launch of three more imported vehicles. The new Sentra is expected to be launched during the first half of 2007, imported from Mexico, with which Brazil has a free trade agreement that includes cars. The second half of the year will see the Tidia imported from Mexico and the Frontier from Spain and, later, Thailand.

The move is seen as having been heavily influenced by the company's CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Earlier this year he installed French-born Thomas Besson as head of Nissan's operations in Brazil, replacing Yogi Makino, who had been the company's only president in Brazil until then. Besson was brought up in the US and was brought across from Nissan's European operations.

The change of management instantly resulted in improved communication, and the management style has reportedly been modified drastically.

Another phase of Nissan's strategy will start in 2009, when Nissan will start producing the next generation Frontier and an un-named passenger car model at the Ayrton Senna Complex in Parana. Autodata says that major changes are underway at the complex that are expected to result in increased Renault-Nissan integration, starting next year. A new line will be set up to assemble cars from both brands.

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