The Nissan Note, launched yesterday in Thailand, ends the first phase eco car project for Nissan Motor Thailand (NMT). With the Note, Nissan has honoured its commitment to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BoI), which required first phase eco car companies to produce three models. The high-roofed hatchback joins the March (2010) and Almera (2012) in NMT’s eco car lineup.

Introduced in 2007, the first phase eco car scheme attracted five car manufacturers: Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota. In 2013, the second phase saw Mazda, Ford, General Motors, SAIC Motor-CP (MG) and Volkswagen join the original five. Mazda was the first to kick off second phase production with the Mazda 2 in 2014, while GM withdrew in 2015.

The first phase eco car terms required companies to produce a minimum of 100,000 units annually from the fifth to the eighth year after kicking off production, but only Mitsubishi and Nissan have fulfilled that. Nissan reached the 500k eco car production milestone in July 2016, half of which were exported to over nine countries, including Japan.

With the first phase behind it, Nissan will now plan for the second phase of eco car production in the Land of Smiles. This round, tighter regulations require participants to roll out 100,000 cars from the fourth to eighth year. All carmakers have until 2019 to roll out their first model.

“Nissan achieved output of 100,000 cars in 2015 and we’ve now made three models as promised. The next step is to study and plan production for the second phase of development for new generations of the March and Note, including other small cars,” NMT marketing VP Sureethip La-Ongthong Chomthongdee told the Bangkok Post.

That’s a confirmation of the new March and the next-gen Note as Thai eco cars. The fifth-gen March (also known as Micra) was revealed at the Paris show late last year. A big departure from the cutesy model that it will replace, the new March has undergone what the carmaker calls a “complete redefinition”. Very distinctive and dynamic, the new March looks impressive and has plenty of tech and specs for Europe.

As for the Note, today’s car has just undergone a facelift but has existed in this form since 2012. A new generation of the roomy B-segment Honda Jazz rival should already be cooking in Japan. However, this exciting development will most likely not involve Malaysia – despite hints from Edaran Tan Chong Motor in 2013 that the outgoing March and current Note would be introduced here, neither hatchback made it.

GALLERY: 2017 Nissan March


GALLERY: Thai-spec Nissan Note