Nissan’s first in-house hybrid technology will debut under its premium Infiniti brand and will eventually filter across to its more expensive RWD sedan models to ensure that all hybrid vehicles it sells will remain profitable. Nissan already offers a hybrid model in the form of its Altima sedan but this car relies on a petrol-electric hybrid system sourced from Toyota. Nissan’s first proprietary system will arrive in 2010 but it’s not clear which will be the first car to feature it.

Speaking with Reuters, Nissan’s Executive Vice President Mitsuhiko Yamashita said "it's easier to absorb the cost of the system with more expensive cars." He added that fuel economy improvements from a hybrid RWD car would have more of an impact than comparable FWD models because the rear-drivers generally get worse mileage.

Main rivals Toyota and Honda, on the other hand, are focusing on slashing the cost of hybrid technology and plan to spread it across more of their cars. Toyota, in fact, expects most of its fleet to be hybrid by the end of the next decade.

Nissan is also working on a new clean-diesel engine, which it plans to debut in the next-generation Maxima sedan around the end of the decade.