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by Matt Brogan

Nissan unveiled a concept car at Geneva today under its Infiniti luxury brand that it plans to adapt for production as a diesel-electric hybrid car for the European market by 2010.

The Essence two-seater coupe (as pictured) is currently fitted with Nissan’s proprietary hybrid system and a 447kW 3.7-litre, turbocharged V6 petrol engine.

A Nissan spokeswoman said Nissan’s priority for the European market was to launch a production version of the car with a V6 diesel hybrid system in what could be one of the world’s first cars to hybridize a diesel engine.

Nissan gave no indication of the car’s price range. A diesel hybrid would theoretically be more fuel-efficient than a petrol hybrid but is more expensive to build.

“Customers willing to pay for a diesel hybrid would be in the luxury segment,” the spokeswoman said.

Infiniti will launch a V6 diesel engine in its large European crossovers and SUVs in 2010.

The engine was developed in cooperation with Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault, specifically for use on Infiniti’s SUV line, which need diesels to compete in Europe.

A parallel launch of hybrid powertrains would help Infiniti differentiate itself from its German premium carmaker rivals, European marketing director Bastien Schupp said.