Nissan#;s new March, the first model from the Japanese car maker to be built on a platform jointly developed with Renault, is headed Stateside, according to a report on The Car Connection (TCC) website.


TCC, citing Japanese insiders, reckons the new March, called the Micra in Europe and first reported on just-auto yesterday, will be first Japanese “junior-edition” car to cross the Pacific to the US in 2004 or 2005.


“The March joins Honda’s Fit [Jazz] and Toyota‘s Vitz [Yaris/Echo] as neat performing one-litre-engine sedan-ettes priced well below $US10,000, an entry-level market in which the only players on the U.S. market are the Koreans – Hyundai, KIA and Daewoo,” TCC said.


The website added that US dealers secretly shown the March pleaded with Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn for an American version.


Japanese March production is now in full swing and the new baby Nissan goes into production – as the Micra – at Nissan’s north-east England plant later this year where it will be assembled with Nissan-designed one-, 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines and a 1.5-litre Renault direct-injection diesel.


The English plant builds all Micras for Europe and has also shipped them as far away as Australia.


Renault’s new Clio, built on the same platform as the new March/Micra, is due out in 2004.