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Positioned as a mid-size luxury SUV, the Murano made by the joint venture of Dongfeng and Nissan is priced on par with Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Coming in just one 3.5L version, it sells for 488,800 Yuan (US$78,400). Yet, consumers have apparently failed to recognize the premium nature of the Nissan car. While considering Audi Q5 a bargain at that price level, they find Murano absurdly expensive. Over 90,000 Q5s were sold in China last year, compared with 947 Muranos. In the final month of 2012, sales of Murano fell to the ground–China Passenger Car Association recorded zero delivery of it.

From a manager of Dongfeng-Nissan’s factory in Xiangyang, Hubei, where Murano is built, we learned this week that the SUV will be provided with a second engine option: a petrol 2.5 liter. Codenamed QR25, the 2.5L is currently powering X-Trail and will be found on the next-gen Teana as well (which is to be released soon). It can develop up to 135kW of power and 227Nm of torque. Mated to it will be a CVT.

Prices of the 2.5L versions are expected to start at 290,000 Yuan. Beside the deep drop in price, the cost to own a Murano will be further lowered by reduced taxes. While consumption tax rate for vehicles with a 3.5L engine is 25%, it is 12% for 2.5L models. .

The 2.5L versions will be released in the first quarter. Dongfeng-Nissan hopes they can lift Murano sales to 25,000 units a year.
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