Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has publicly stated that building fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles “make little sense” due to the high cost of developing the vehicles and the fact that current diesel technology is proven to have better mileage rates. Wheels magazine in Australia has commented on its website that Nissan is planning to build a front-engine, rear-wheel drive (FR), luxury hybrid that would rival Lexus’ GS450h. Japanese sources claim the car will be based on the next Infiniti M45 (current version pictured) and should debut in the second half of 2010.

Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga has admitted in a speech to the media that the company will develop its own hybrid technology for use in the new vehicle. The FR configuration would mean the hybrid drivetrain could be used in Nissan’s other mainstream vehicles, including the next-generation FX35/45 SUV, Cima/Infiniti Q45 flagship or the Infiniti QX56 full-size SUV.

Major rivals Toyota and Honda are well ahead of Nissan in the hybrid stakes. The most likely reasons for Nissan’s lack of development of the clean technology is the costs involved, and whether the market is actually worth entering. Ghosn told Japanese media last week that from the mass marketing point of view, hybrids have yet to proven they’re a viable commercial proposition.