Japanese car major Nissan is learnt to have developed a 1.0-litre diesel engine, which is likely to be the smallest in its global portfolio of engines.
The company is learnt to be conducting validations of the new engine currently. It is another example of diesel powertrain downsizing by OEMs. Recent examples include the 800cc, two-cylinder engine by Maruti Suzuki and the 1.05-litre, three-cylinder engine by Tata Motors. The one developed by Nissan is a 3-cylinder 1.0 litre diesel engine with a peak power output of around 55 horsepower and about 135 NM of torque. Sources say that Nissan is yet to take a final call regarding the commercial launch of a car with the 1.0 litre diesel engine.
According to industry sources, the first to get that engine would be a Datsun model. Nissan could even use it in the entry-level car derived from the Redi-Go concept that is based on the CMF-A platform shared between Nissan and Renault.
According to an industry source, Nissan will launch the Datsun model with the same 800cc petrol engine that's seen in the Kwid (but with a different "refined gearbox with shorter ratios for first and second gears for better driveability") and explorations are on to add the diesel variant by next year. There's a "high potential" of the diesel engine being showcased by October this year. "In its original plan, CMF-A was not designed to have a diesel engine, but there have been discussions between Renault and Nissan regarding modifying the platform to be able to have a diesel model. The diesel powertrain is in the planning and proposal stage," according to another source. A third source confirmed the information about Nissan's plan of a diesel variant of the Datsun model. At the time of publishing this report, Autocar Professional hasn't received responses to its queries from Nissan in this regard. The new diesel engine could apparently also work for a vehicle like the Datsun Go-Cross concept (based on the Go+) with some supplementary power boosting technology.
It is also learnt that the entry-level Datsun model would offer a 1.0-litre petrol variant (with an upgraded version of 1.0-litre Renault B4A engine) to take on the Alto K10 and the to-be-launched 1.0-litre version of the Kwid.
The engine strategy aside, sources say that the Datsun entry-level car, scheduled for launch in May this year, will be shorter (in length) and taller than the Kwid. Renault sprang a surprise for everyone, including Nissan, with the Rs 2.57 lakh price tag for the Kwid's base variant. However, a Nissan official says that the Datsun model will still see very "aggressive" pricing at launch.