Just the Facts:
Nissan and Dongfeng will launch a lower-priced brand of vehicles in China.
The new brand is called Venucia, Qi Chen in Chinese.
New cars will be targeted at first-time buyers.
BEIJING — Honda started the trend two years ago in China when it unveiled the new Li Nian brand with local partner Guangzhou Auto. General Motors followed suit this summer, when it created the Baojun brand with local partner Shanghai Auto. Now, Japan’s Nissan is teaming with Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor in announcing the new Venucia brand — Qi Chen (“morning star”) in Chinese — on a line of lower-priced vehicles for the Chinese domestic market.
According to Japan’s Nikkei news service, the new Venucia models from the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture will be targeted at “first-time car buyers among the less affluent middle class in regional cities” and will undercut Nissan-brand vehicles in price when they arrive in 2012. Nikkei added that “Nissan is believed to have created the new lineup to prevent its namesake brand from falling in price” in China, where competition, especially at the low end, is extremely ferocious. Venucia prices are expected to start at less than $7,500.
The Qi Chen logo incorporates five stars, similar to the design theme on the Chinese flag.