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Nissan reconsiders Juke for Oz

Off and on: The current Nissan Juke will not come to our shores, but its successor, due in 2015, might.

Current Juke is out but Nissan Oz assessing next-generation sub-compact SUV for 2016

5 Dec 2011


NISSAN has revealed that, while the existing Juke is dead for Australia, the next-generation model under development now and due from 2015 is already under serious consideration.

Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson said the decision to overlook the sub-compact SUV followed a number of detailed studies to gauge its potential Down Under.

“We in Australia won’t get this generation of Juke,” he told GoAuto in Tokyo last week.

“We had at least three different cracks at studying how it could play out for us in Australia, and each time we haven’t been internally convinced that there is a clear business case and sufficient volume and contribution to the brand to justify it.

“It goes back to my philosophy about portfolio efficiencies, and ensuring we don’t clutter the line-up. And Juke’s not the only great vehicle Nissan has available globally for us.

“But the future generation is certainly something that we will put into the mix and see if the next-gen Juke, along with a slightly different portfolio offering, is a better option for us.” Juke is the victim of a slew of similarly sized offerings the company has in the pipeline over the next 15 months, as Nissan attempts to fortify its poor small-car performance in Australia since the release of the doomed Tiida in January 2006.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson.

The facelifted and expanded Dualis range, as well as the current Micra, were the first steps towards rebuilding Nissan’s small-car presence during 2010.

Next year the Leaf electric vehicle arrives (as a brand-building rather than volume exercise), along with the Almera, a sedan version of the Micra designed to take on the Yaris sedan.

Next will be the long-awaited launch of the Tiida-replacing Pulsar sedan and then hatch from early 2013, which will form the main thrust of the company’s tilt at Australia’s largest sales segment.

Finally, the second-generation Dualis is due here by 2014.

Mr Thompson said pulling the plug on Juke plans was not easy, particularly in the light of its unexpected success worldwide, which has seen production outputs in England and Japan almost doubled to 150,000 units per annum.

“There are 65 vehicles for the picking [from Nissan globally], and we have to make our choices,” he said.

“Certainly the Juke has been one of the more difficult ones to say no to. We’d love to have it, but it just doesn’t play a big enough role for us.

“We’re still very much focussed on core product, and very much satisfied with the brand product that we have.

“[With] Dualis, as Pulsar comes on stream and takes a bigger role in that C-segment space [compared to Tiida], and with Micra and Almera filling the space below Pulsar, it was just becoming a bit crowded. And don’t forget that we also have Leaf, which is also a C-segment hatch.

“In our opinion, with Micra, Almera, Pulsar hatch, Pulsar sedan, Dualis and Leaf, you have six cars trying to fight over very similar Nissan customers, and customers don’t really differentiate by segment, so it’s very blurred with light cars, small cars and small crossovers.”

The Juke is a boldly styled small crossover vehicle built off a variation of the K13 Micra platform that will also underpin a variety of other Nissan as well as Renault-based models.

Available with front or all-wheel drive, and powered by a selection of 1.5 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, as well as a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel, it has successfully followed in the footsteps of Nissan’s pioneering Qashqai/Dualis by offering a more SUV-style alternative in the B-segment class against otherwise conventional rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Mazda 2.

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