To make a statement regarding its entry into the commercial vehicle segment in North America, Nissan introduced two commercial concept vehicles at its design center in Farmington Hills, Mich., on Dec. 4.

"Our commercial vehicles will represent a new, dynamic approach to the market and we promise to provide a complete array of products and services," said Joe Castelli, VP, Commercial Vehicles & Fleet.

Nissan displayed the NV200 small van, built on the Nissan "B" (compact car) platform, and the NV2500 large van, built on the Nissan "F" (Titan pickup) Alpha platform. Both vehicles are just that—merely concepts. But Castelli says they are indicative of Nissan's new commercial philosophy: "Changing the rules of the game by demonstrating creativity in meeting customer needs."

Nissan has been in the commercial business in other parts of the world for more than seven decades, and has achieved global commercial sales in 2008 approaching 600,000 units, Castelli said. However, the commercial vehicle segment is an entirely new business segment in North America for Nissan.

Expect the first commercial vehicles in the 2011 model year, with plans for three new commercial vehicles in the first three years. Nissan plans a multi-segment commercial vehicle lineup up to Class 5.

Nissan will offer both gas- and diesel-powered engines, and has formed partnerships with Cummins engines and ZF Transmissions. The commercial vehicles will be produced in Nissan's Canton, Miss. for the North American market.

Nissan is currently selecting dealers from its existing dealer network to be able to sell and service Nissan's new commercial vehicles.