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Nissan axes Micra four-cylinder

Four no more: Nissan's 56kW 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine will now power the entire Micra range, after a move in production from Indonesia to India.

Switch to Indian production leaves Nissan Micra a three-cylinder-only proposition

28 Jan 2013

THE popular Nissan Micra range is now exclusively three-cylinder, with a production switch from Indonesia to India forcing the company to drop the four-cylinder option.

Nissan Australia’s move to source its smallest and cheapest car from the sub-continent means the 56kW/100Nm 1.2-litre three-pot previously limited to the base ST variant is now standard across the line-up.

This results in a substantial drop in power for the mid-range ST-L and the top-spec Ti, both of which previously featured a 75kW/136Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder.

There is no drop in price despite the drop in power, with the range continuing to cost $13,490 plus on-road costs for the ST, $15,490 for the ST-L and $17,490 for the Ti. These prices are all with a five-speed manual gearbox, with the optional four-speed auto adding a further $1500.

Instead, Nissan Australia has added extra features to both, with the ST-L picking up 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, passenger-seat bag holder and a driver’s armrest. The Ti now comes with a rear spoiler.

All variants also get automatic headlights with levellers, a new seat design and rear armrests as additional standard equipment.

The switch to the three-cylinder is likely to shave a small amount from running costs, with the 1.2-litre using a claimed 5.9 litres per 100km of fuel compared to 6.5L/100km for the 1.5 when matched to the manual gearbox. This increases to 6.5L/100km (versus 6.6) with the four-speed auto.

Several of the Micra’s key rivals are also three-cylinder-only propositions, including the just-launched Mitsubishi Mirage (57kW/100Nm 1.2-litre), Volkswagen Up (55kW/95Nm 1.0-litre) and Suzuki Alto (50kW/90Nm 1.0-litre).

The expected shift in sourcing to India comes earlier than expected, with Nissan Australia CEO Bill Peffer telling GoAuto last August that any such move would be unlikely to take place until at least mid-2013.

It is understood the Purwakarta facility in Indonesia struggled to provide the right numbers and/or model mix for Australia.

The Micra joins fellow light-car contenders including the Suzuki Alto and Hyundai i20 in being sourced for Australia from India.

In 2012, the Micra with 9162 sales was Nissan’s fourth-biggest-seller in Australia behind the Navara ute and the Dualis and X-Trail SUVs.

This put it well ahead of its main rivals at the bargain-basement end of the light-car segment – the Alto (3998) and Holden Barina Spark (1278) – but the launches of Up and Mirage in recent months promises to make life tougher for the baby Nissan this year.

While Micra has carried the flag for Nissan’s passenger range in Australia in recent times, this is set to change with this week’s launch of the new-generation, re-born Pulsar, which will replace to unloved Tiida in the small-car segment.

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