Nissan never said much about the concept it revealed in Brazil over a year ago, but the design was undertaken in collaboration between its studios in Rio de Janeiro, San Diego, and Japan. The form envisioned a crossover positioned size-wise in between the Juke and the Rogue. Its design was said to have been inspired by the country in which it was unveiled.
That's also where Nissan has confirmed it will start building the production Kicks. To that end, the Japanese automaker is adding 600 jobs and investing nearly $200 million into its Resende plant near Rio, where it also builds the March and Versa. The Nissan Kicks is slated to roll out initially in the Latin American market, after which it is slated to proliferate into others. Reached for comment by Autoblog, Nissan North America said only that "Nissan has made no announcement on plans for the new Kicks CUV beyond Latin American markets."
- The official name will be Nissan Kicks
- Vehicle will be sold globally, starting with Latin America, with ongoing studies for other regions
- R$ 750 million ($192 million) investment to manufacture the model in Resende, Rio de Janeiro State
- Nissan's decision follows the concept vehicle's success during the 2014 São Paulo Motor Show and the 2015 Buenos Aires Motor Show
- 600 new jobs and second shift to be created after start of production
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., today announced that the brand will produce a new crossover that will be sold globally, starting with Latin American markets from 2016.
The new model was inspired by the Kicks Concept car presented at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show, and it will retain the Kicks name for the production version.
Following an investment of R$ 750 million ($192 million), the Nissan Kicks will be produced at Nissan's Resende Industrial Complex in Rio de Janeiro State. The facility was inaugurated in 2014 and currently produces compact vehicles March and Versa. After the start of production, Nissan expects to hire 600 new employees and start a second shift in Resende facility.
"Nissan invented the first crossover in 2003, with the Murano," said Ghosn. "Since then, we've established our global crossover leadership with vehicles like JUKE, Qashqai and X-Trail – which have been great successes. The Kicks will bring Nissan´s unique Crossover expertise to more regions."
At the unveiling, José Valls, chairman of Nissan Latin America, said that compact crossovers are very attractive to Latin American customers.
"With Nissan Kicks, we will go beyond the obvious to pack a punch with a strong design statement and the performance that our customers crave," said Valls.
The Nissan Kicks Concept debuted at the 2014 São Paulo Motor Show, followed by a showing at the 2015 Buenos Aires Motor Show. The Kicks prototype marked the evolution of the Extrem concept vehicle originally presented in Sao Paulo in 2012. Since then, Nissan has continued to explore Brazilian and Latin American cultures, styles and colors within the vehicle design and development process.
"When our team from Nissan Brazil team collaborated with our colleagues in Japan to create the Kicks concept vehicle, which was inspired by our country and culture, the result was extraordinary," said Francois Dossa, president of Nissan Brazil. "And now, we're excited that our manufacturing team in Resende is preparing to build it with top-notch Japanese precision."
Led by Nissan's Global Design Center in Japan, the Kicks Concept was conceived through a collaboration between Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego and Nissan Design America - Rio (NDA-R), the company's local satellite design studio. The teams currently are engaged in the design and development of the production model.
As well as its introduction in Latin American markets, Nissan continues to study the business case for launching Kicks in other regions, underlining the brand's commitment to global Crossover leadership.