The Nissan Micra may be coming to the U.S. after all. The supercharged sub-compact is expected to make its debut this side of the pond in 2012 or 2013.
The latest word out of Nissan is that they will be bringing supercharged versions of their sub-compact cars to North America. During a recent interview with Automotive News, Eaton Corporation (and Nissan supercharger supplier) President Ken Davis let slip that Eaton had supply deals worked out in North America. According to Eaton, "Nissan will bring their supercharged vehicles here (North America)." Sources also say that Nissan wants to extend the Micra's reach not just to India and Asia but to the U.S. as well.
Spotted by a Chinese car website and given the name LO2b, the Micra was caught camouflaged out during testing. The Nissan Micra made its debut in concept form at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2009, and the Japanese automaker recently released the new Micra (March) sub-compact, which sports a supercharged direct-injection 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine. The common idea behind superchargers is that you can increase fuel economy and boost the performance of smaller engines. This would allow automakers to downsize their powertrains.
Superchargers are like turbochargers, in the sense that they increase power by forcing more of an air-fuel mixture into the cylinders. Turbochargers are driven by pressure from the engine's exhaust. Superchargers, however, are typically driven by a belt connected to the engine. Nissan claims the power output of the Nissan Micra will be equal to that of a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, similar to other market sub-compacts like the Honda Fit. Nissan's only other sub-compact is the larger Versa, meaning there would be space for a smaller Micra model in the U.S./North American market as the Versa could be classed in the C segment.