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Diesel Nissan Dualis on back burner

Diesel don’t: Nissan’s petrol Dualis is selling strongly in Australia, but high demand for the diesel in Europe is preventing it from coming here.

Nissan still studying diesel Dualis but challenged by high Euro demand, lack of auto

Nissan logo21 Aug 2012

NISSAN has put the importation of a diesel variant of its popular Dualis crossover on the back burner, citing its popularity in Europe as an obstacle.

Nissan Australia corporate communications general manager Jeff Fisher said the diesel Dualis is “still in the mix”, but that a decision is still pending.

“It depends on what Europeans are doing with Dualis and the demand over there as well,” he said.

“For them, that has been a very high demand vehicle, so we haven’t been able to jump in as quickly as we might have done.”

Australian Dualis sales are up 42.5 per cent to the end of July, with 7345 finding homes, so Nissan is not exactly desperate to secure more sales by adding variants.

GoAuto understands the Renault-sourced 97kW/320Nm 1.6-litre diesel engine is the unit Nissan Australia is most interested in – and in the UK it attracts a £1600 ($A2406) premium.

“A diesel derivative would be a premium anyway, so the question is, is that where we want to go with Dualis?” said Mr Fisher. “We are assessing all of those angles.”

When launched in the Renault Scenic people-mover in May 2011, the engine was claimed to be world’s most potent 1.6-litre turbo-diesel.

In the Dualis – called Qashqai in Europe – it consumes just 4.5L/100km on the European combined cycle, but is not yet available with an automatic transmission, a significant factor against bringing it here.

Other diesel engines available on the Dualis/Qashqai in Europe are 91kW/240Nm 1.5-litre and 110kW/320Nm 2.0-litre units.

The bigger engine, which is only slightly more powerful than the newer 1.6-litre unit, is far less efficient at 7.0L/100km and exclusively paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The only engine currently available on the Australian-delivered Dualis is a 102kW/198Nm 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder that consumes between 8.2L/100km and 8.5L/100km depending on variant.

Former Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson last year told GoAuto only the standard five-seat Dualis would be in line to receive the diesel engine, leaving the seven-seat Dualis + 2 as a petrol-only proposition.

The company is now considering bringing in the heavily stylised Juke sub-compact SUV to Australia, which Mr Thompson said he would not import.

However, his successor, Bill Peffer, who officially took the reins on April 1, has apparently taken a different stance on Juke and is also interested in importing the next-generation Note, a Honda Jazz competitor also rejected by Mr Thompson.

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