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NISSAN MY2011 RANGE SUMMARY
While the headlines centre on the futuristic ESFLOW concept car, the remarkable GT-R MY11 and potent 370Z GT Edition - not to mention the innovative new Micra 1.2 DIG-S - there's plenty of other news from Nissan at the Geneva Motor Show.
Being shown in Geneva in full production form, the zero emission Nissan LEAF is the world's first affordable 100 per cent electric family vehicle and the first EV to win the coveted European Car of The Year award.
It's practical, too, with a range between charges of up to 175kms, as tested over the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
The five-seater is powered by an in-house developed compact electric motor and inverter in the front of the car driving the front wheels. The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 145 km/h (90 mph).
The electric motor is powered by an advanced laminated lithium-ion battery with a power output of more than 90 kW. Developed by the Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a joint venture between Nissan and electronics giant NEC Corp., the breakthrough battery has the capacity to store twice as much energy as the previous generation battery.
Deliveries started in the US and Japan in December 2010, and earlier this year in Europe. A zero-emission electric future has truly begun.
The 2011 European Car of The Year has won praise not just for its lack of tailpipe emissions but for the way it performs in every day use. Its performance, handling, ride comfort and overall quality are all features highlighted positively by the CoTY jurors.
As one judge said: "The future it paints where EVs are not just environmentally saintly but also easy to live with and good to drive is one that will resonate with people around the world."
Despite the ending of incentive purchase schemes across Europe, sales of Pixo continue to strengthen as new car buyers seek out models with low CO2 emissions. Producing just 103 g/km, Pixo is one of the leaders in its segment.
For 2011, a new special version has been introduced offering more equipment and greater value for a small increase in price. Called the Pixo More in Switzerland (the name varies according to market) it is based on the popular Acenta grade with air conditioning. The special version has stylish 14-inch alloy wheels as standard along with a height adjustable driver's seat.
All Pixos also now benefit from a glovebox lid so that valuables can be safely stored out of sight.
Although now in its fifth year, Note continues to win praise for its innovative and practical layout. Its combination of interior spaciousness despite compact overall dimensions sets standards in the segment. One of its strongest markets is UK while it remains popular in Russia.
Since Pixo and the new Micra are only available with petrol engines, Note has become the entry point to the Nissan range for diesel enthusiasts. Even more significantly, recent improvements to the 1.5 dCi unit means not only is the engine fully Euro 5 compliant but its CO2 emissions have dropped to a mere 110 g/km.
It's all part of Nissan's quest to continue to lower the emissions from all its cars. Any Nissan producing less than 130 g/km is permitted to wear a discreet ‘Pure Drive' badge on its tail. Note joins Pixo, Micra, versions of Juke and QASHQAI and, of course, LEAF in lowering tailpipe emissions whether the power unit in petrol, diesel or electric.
Juke has gone from a standing start to 66,000 orders across Europe, where it now claims a steady 2 per cent of the B segment. The compact crossover has proved to be an instant hit in the UK, France and Italy and is also performing strongly in Eastern Europe and the Nordics.
Its initial sales success will be further boosted by a strong performance in the latest Euro NCAP tests, where Juke was given a five star rating.
Demand for the top specification Tekna version has been stronger than expected, accounting for 35 per cent of sales, while the four-wheel drive variant (built in Japan, unlike the 2wd versions which are built in the UK) is also highly popular. Early figures suggest that conquest sales to buyers new to the Nissan brand account for more than 80 per cent of registrations.
Matching its youthful, fun outlook, a major element of Juke's launch was undertaken via the internet. Within a few months more than 200,000 e-brochures had been downloaded with the website attracting more than seven million visitors. A Facebook forum, which is not moderated by Nissan, has 9,000 ‘Friends' all extolling the virtues of the car.
QASHQAI paved the way for Juke's success, and more than ever is the Crossover reference. It upgraded in the middle of 2010, and is Nissan's biggest selling model by some margin. Changes include a new look with a more aggressive front along with major aerodynamic improvements that lead to a significant decrease in interior noise and a rise in overall refinement.
More than 750,000 examples have been sold in Europe since its launch in 2007 with a remarkable quarter of a million sold in the fiscal year (FY2010) just ended. This is the first time Nissan has achieved such sales of a single model in Europe.
QASHQAI is now the fifth best selling model in the C-segment behind the four conventional hatchbacks that dominate the market - VW Golf, Ford Focus, Renault Megane and Opel Astra - and claims a 4.9 per cent C segment share. It has become a credible alternative to mainstream C segment cars and such is its popularity that sales were largely untouched by the financial storm of the past two years suggesting that QASHQAI is not just urban proof but crisis proof, too.
Continued strong demand for the car meant that Nissan's UK plant in Sunderland introduced a third shift during 2010. By the end of December, almost 170,000 QASHQAI and more than 40,000 seven seat QASHQAI+2 had been built at the plant in the year.
QASHQAI embodies Nissan's philosophy of creating cars packed with innovation and excitement. With features such as intelligent ALL-MODE 4x4-i four-wheel drive, rear view parking camera and stop start system along with Pure Drive low emission versions, QASHQAI is packed with Nissan's advanced technology.
The arrival in 2010 of Diesel engine for Nissan's premium crossover has cemented the car's place in the market.
With diesels dominating the segment, sales of the second generation V6 petrol-powered Murano were always going to be modest. That changed with the development of a new version of Nissan's 2.5-litre dCi four-cylinder diesel tailored specifically for Murano western Europe markets. With 190PS and a class leading 450Nm of torque, Murano dCi combines smooth power delivery with levels of quietness and refinement expected from a 6-cylinder engine.
Other changes included aerodynamic improvements and enhanced features to improve life on board all of which have contributed to Murano dCi‘s success with more than 3000 sales since launch last September.
The V6 petrol Murano is now also assembled at Nissan's newest European plant, at St Petersburg in Russia, for the Russian market only, where Murano is expected to deliver more than 10 per cent SUV market share next year.
With its strong 4x4 heritage, Nissan is ideally placed to take advantage of the rise in Europe's SUV market.
Leading the way is the recently revised X-TRAIL. The changes refresh X-TRAIL's exterior styling, improve the interior quality and functionality, and include mechanical and aerodynamic improvements to reinforce X-TRAIL's position as the most popular model in Nissan's 4x4 range. Featuring the superb levels of grip afforded by ALL-MODE 4x4-i, it is one of the most practical and comfortable SUVs on the market.
The most obvious visual changes are to the front, which features a redesigned grille, new bumper and revised lights, while the taillights now incorporate LED technology. Modifications to both the manual and automatic gearboxes, plus aerodynamic improvements for a lower Cd figure and extensive revisions the 2.0-litre diesel engine all result in greater efficiency. Fuel economy has improved and emissions reduced.
Improved materials have given the interior a greater feeling of quality while new equipment includes the integration of the X-TRAIL's rear view camera display into the central ceiling mounted mirror for models not equipped with a satellite navigation screen.
Since the introduction of the facelift, X-TRAIL has increased its market share by 25 per cent. Sales are particularly strong in Russia where the model is assembled for local sales: the facelifted version was introduced there in February 2011.
Built in Spain, Pathfinder is on target for a substantial sales increase in the coming year. Its market segment is showing signs of a 20 per cent rise in sales and Pathfinder is well placed to take advantage of that growth.
A major update to the model in 2010 saw the arrival of a new flagship model with a class-leading 3.0-litre V6 diesel as well as a revised version of the 2.5-litre four cylinder diesel with more performance, improved emissions and better economy.
There were subtle exterior changes while interior quality was also improved and more equipment offered as standard. Advanced options included Nissan Connect premium, Nissan's combined communication and music system incorporating a 40GB hard drive system with an advanced satellite navigation system, high resolution touch screen and a 9.3GB Music Box, large enough to store music from 300 CDs.
Pathfinder has Nissan's electronically controlled ALL-MODE 4x4 system for grip in extreme conditions making it an ideal tow car, while the availably of seven seats make it a perfect family car, too.
The closely related Navara Pick Up also benefited from a major refresh last year and also gained improvements to the popular 2.5 dCi engine. And, like Pathfinder, a new 3.0-litre V6 diesel flagship model was introduced to the range.
Versatile, tough and extremely practical, Navara is available in King Cab and Double Cab versions with generous load bed lengths. The pick-up bed behind the five seat Double Cab offers 2.36m²of space, with the King Cab, which has two occasional seats in the rear of the cab, boasts a load bed area of 2.9m2.
Navara uses Nissan's proven part-time four-wheel drive system which provides drive to the rear wheels under normal conditions or a 50/50 torque split to all four wheels when 4WD mode is engaged.
There are also high and low ratio modes, the crawl ratio being best in class and providing outstanding levels of traction over slippery surfaces, especially on tricky hill descents.