Diesels have long been the preferred choice of fuel across Europe, and, slowly, it’s starting to penetrate the US market, but, surprisingly, motorists in Japan have never really taken to the efficient fuel. Now, Nissan hopes to make inroads in its home market with the introduction of a diesel powered X-Trail SUV.

Expected to hit the market in the second half of next year, the new diesel X-Trail will be the first Japanese diesel passenger car sold locally since the 1990s according to Automotive News. Mercedes-Benz has been the only carmaker to offer a diesel passenger car in Japan in recent times with its E320 CDI sedan but with Honda promising diesel models in ’09 and the Nissan arriving one year prior, Japan is about to enjoy a diesel renaissance.

The technology originally fell out of favor because of the high exhaust levels of toxic nitrogen oxides and other pollutants. However, new clean diesels and high-performance catalysts developed by Nissan’s French partner Renault have been designed to meet strict new emissions standards in Japan.