Nissan Rolls Out Versa Model That Is the Cheapest Car Sold In US

The right car at the right time?

By Brendan Moore


In what may be a case of superb timing on their part, Nissan has announced this morning that a de-contented Versa with a 1.6 liter engine and no air conditioning will go on sale in the US market starting November 18, making the car the lowest-priced new car sold in America.

The MRSP of the new 2009 Versa model is $9,990 USD, or, $10,685 after destination and handling.

Previously the Versa was not available without air conditioning and was not available with the less-expensive 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine in the US. Only a 1.8 liter four-cylinder was available in US models.

Nissan states that they are allocating one-third of their Versa sedan production capacity for the new model, which works out to around 10,000 units. Undoubtedly they will sell all of that production in the current economic conditions.

The new Versa model wrests the “cheapest new car” title away from the 2009 Chevrolet Aveo, the previous title holder at $12,625 after destination and handling.

Nissan’s press release below:

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ — Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) today announced a new 2009 Nissan Versa Sedan 1.6 model, which features a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)* of $9,990* (excluding Destination and Handling). The new Versa focuses squarely on value and fuel economy, with its standard 107-horsepower DOHC 16-valve 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine delivering responsive performance and a 34 mpg highway fuel economy rating (with the 5-speed manual transmission).

The Versa Sedan 1.6 goes on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide beginning November 18, 2008.

“Starting under $10,000, this new Versa Sedan 1.6 has the lowest new-car MSRP in the United States,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. “It combines the low price of a used car with the dependability, high quality and full factory warranty of every new Nissan. It’s our way of saying that in tough economic times, Nissan is here to help.”

Since its introduction in 2006, Nissan Versa has enjoyed strong appeal in the marketplace among buyers seeking fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance or roominess. Versa offers one of the highest standard horsepower/torque ratings and the largest interior in the entry-level segment – along with excellent quality, reliability and durability.

The new high-value Versa Sedan 1.6 model features a smaller displacement 1.6-liter engine (versus the standard 1.8-liter), standard 5-speed manual transmission and simplified content. It is also available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. 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.
“The new Versa Sedan 1.6 is another way in which Nissan is taking a leadership role in reassuring consumers that now is a great time to consider a new car,” said Carolin.

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010, whose key priorities are reducing CO2 emissions, cutting other emissions and increasing recycling. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and

* Based on Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $9,990 for the new, 2009 model year Versa 1.6 Sedan. Claim based on competitive MSRP’s in the Lower-Small segment for new, model year 2009 vehicles. MSRP excludes applicable tax, title and license fees. Dealer sets actual price. Prices and specs are subject to change without notice. Destination and Handling $695.


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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. I’m very curious to see how much they decontented the Versa to bring its price down so far. The smaller engine must be just scraping the surface, as I’m sure air conditioning, power windows and locks, CD player, ABS, side airbags, etc. are all yanked out of the car to hit that price point. Still, it’s practically a Logan-lite at that price!

  2. Interesting point you mention Chris, also another detail to note is the Aveo, Fit, Versa aren’t offered in 3-door version like the Yaris and the upcoming Ford Fiesta. Will they bring a cheap-basic 3-door version?

  3. This is an interesting strategy given that other automakers have gone the other way. Honda, Toyota, and Ford have gone to great lengths to avoid the econo-box, crap-mobile image of the small car. Hyundai and Kia have thrived by selling lots of content at a low price. The Versa base price will definitely boost showroom traffic, but in most parts of the US, I think buyers would soon regret not having AC. Even at $11,000 with AC, however, this would be worth a close look.

  4. Nissan will sell all of these they can build. There will be people that need an automatic or need AC, or both, but even adding both those things to the base price still makes it a really cheap NEW car that gets very good gas mileage.

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