With automakers everywhere struggling to turn a profit, many are returning to the formula of budget-conscious cars to lure used car buyers into dealer showrooms.
For 2009, Nissan will lay claim to selling the cheapest new car on sale in America with the Nissan Versa 1.6 hatchback.
Priced at $9,990, the new trim Versa offers a smaller 1.6-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine good for 107 horsepower.
Paired with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission, the Versa 1.6 won't win any races, but it will save money at the pump.
Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway with the 5-speed manual and 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the 4-speed automatic.
For a sub-$10K car, the Versa 1.6 is still well-equipped. Power locks & windows, a decent 4-speaker AM/FM CD stereo and ABS brakes are all standard, as are dual front airbags.
Combined with the new-car warranty that no private-party used car can offer, the Versa 1.6 makes a convincing case for itself as a basic commuter car.
The Versa 1.6 will be in dealer showrooms starting Nov. 18.
Special lease offers on Versa, Sentra, Altima, Rogue and Murano
In other news, Nissan has also announced zero-percent financing for 36 months for five models:
That the Murano crossover and Rogue compact SUV qualify should come as no surprise. Both are relatively thirsty SUVs with combined EPA gas mileage in the mid-20s.
For sedan buyers on a budget, the Versa and Sentra compact sedans and the Altima mid-size sedan all qualify and are worth checking out. The down payment varies depending on the model and trim, but each lease is built upon a $199 monthly payment for 36 months.
The lease program started yesterday and will continue through the end of November.