Spied: Nissan Micra Hatchback All Alone on Michigan Highway

We’re accustomed to seeing a new batch of European- or Asian-designed small cars on our roads -- the Hyundai Elantra, Fiat 500, and new Ford Focus come to mind -- but this Nissan Micra is not one of them. We spied the not-sold-here Micra wearing minimal camouflage and without any kind of convoy on the highway here in southeast Michigan.

The car’s badges and emblems are disguised by camouflage tape, but there’s no mistaking this for the new global Micra that bowed at the Geneva Motor Show last year. The hip hatch is supposed to help Nissan grab a share of the global small-car market; the new Micra is built in India, Thailand, China, and Mexico. Europe remains a key market for the car, where the Micra comes standard with an 80-hp, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. An optional supercharged version makes 100 hp.

It’s been confirmed by Nissan execs that the Micra isn’t headed to the U.S., so this sighting doesn’t presage the 2012 Nissan Micra arriving at your nearest dealership. However, the car’s underlying components, called the V-platform, may find their way here. Nissan has hinted it may bring some kind of Micra-like subcompact based on this platform to the American market in the future. The Micra is smaller than the Versa, currently Nissan’s smallest offering in the States.

Incidentally, we learned a while ago that Nissan will build two new small cars alongside the Micra in Mexico. It was rumored that a sedan and a multipurpose vehicle would go into production there by 2013.

The car seen here could be a test mule for an Americanized subcompact based on the V-platform. Or it may simply be here because some Nissan engineer wanted to get behind the wheel. What do you think? Has Nissan changed their mind about selling the Micra on our shores? Is there room for a car below the Versa in Nissan’s lineup? Let us know in the comments.

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