Who knew an unveiling of a workaday subcompact could create such a fuss? A practice growing in popularity among the Japanese auto industry has not been well received by the country's automotive press. It seems that automakers' plans to debut new models in other markets, well in advance of a home market on-sale date, is rubbing local media members the wrong way. This sentiment is could very well be the motivation behind what went down at Nissan's Yokohama headquarters recently.
The Japanese automotive press gathered at Nissan HQ for the home market unveiling of the Versa (a.k.a. Tiida, Sunny, Almera, Pulsar, depending on where you live). According to reports, the media met the automaker with jeers rather than the usual "oohs" and "aahs" that come with a vehicle unveiling. Members of the press took issue with what they viewed as a lack of basic features. One reporter noted the lack of a middle rear headrest, suggesting that any employees driving the Versa as a fleet car will view it as if Nissan's management does not value them.
Apparently, the Versa costs 1,388,100 yen, which converts to $17,638 in undervalued dollars – well above the $10,990 starting price in the States. However, that was not as central to the complaints as much as the notion that the perceived decontenting risked demotivating Japanese workers. It's a unique critique, but one cannot argue with the Versa's international success – the car is already selling 500,000 units internationally.