Nissan Motor is set to begin production of its new Terra pickup-based passenger vehicle in Thailand, as it looks to strengthen its position in the region.

The Terra, classed as an SUV, is based on the Navara NP300 pickup truck and will compete head on with other pickup-based models such as the Toyota Fortuner, which is based on the Hilux, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (Triton) and Isuzu MU-X (D-Max).

The Terra was first unveiled at the Beijing International Auto Exhibition in April and will be produced at the company's plant in SamutPrakan, near Bangkok. It will be available initially with the Navara's existing 2.5L diesel engine.

The company started taking orders for the Terra this week in the Philippines, with deliveries scheduled to start in August. The vehicle will also be launched in Indonesia and Thailand in the current fiscal year ending next March, with sales to smaller ASEAN markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei to begin after that.

Nissan's senior vice-president for Asia and Oceania Yutaka Sanada said SUVs and PPVs make up one of the largest segments of the market in this region and with the Terra he is looking to meet growing demand for these vehicles.

"The Terra is an important part of delivering the Nissan Move 2022 mid-term business plan in Southeast Asia", he added.

Nissan also has an R&D centre in SamutPrakan, the Nissan Technical Centre South East Asia, situated next to its 295,000 units/year vehicle assembly plant.