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Nissan reconsiders Juke

Box on: Nissan's Juke is back on the agenda if Nissan Australia can make the import cost add up.

Baby Nissan SUV may make it to Oz after all – if the import price is right

19 Oct 2010

NISSAN has indicated that its controversially styled Juke baby SUV is still in with a chance for Australian consumption.

According to Nissan Australia managing director Dan Thompson – who poured cold water on the ultra compact SUV just months ago – the Juke has re-emerged on the local wish list.

Getting the B-segment platform-based five-door wagon into Australia at a price that is viable and still profitable for Nissan Australia appears to be the hurdle that the Victorian-based product planners are facing, even though – unlike the UK-only built Dualis – the Juke is also made in Japan.

Further, Nissan is concerned that it would take some thunder (and customers) away from the company’s vital new small-car replacement for the Tiida, which is likely to resume the Pulsar nameplate when it arrives from 2012.

“We went back and had another look close to Geneva (in March this year), and we’re quite positive that the car can contribute to the brand here at Nissan,” he said.

“At the same time we still haven’t found – let’s say – the right economics for it to work and still respect the efficiency of the line-up that I would like to see, so at this stage I would say that we are still undecided.

“The Juke is now starting in Europe, starting in Japan, and starting in the United States – so we’ll continue to monitor it and make a decision sometime down the track.

“(If it does get the green light for Australia) it could be either/or from Japan. But we certainly do source the Dualis out of Sunderland, so our preference if we do decide to go down that track with Juke is to continue to source it out of the same plant. But as I said, no decision one way or another, but we’ve got the two options.”

12 center imageFrom top: Nissan Juke, Nissan Dualis and Nissan Australia managing director Dan Thompson.

Asked if he was worried about potential cannibalisation with the Dualis – which has only recently started to sell in meaningful numbers in Australia after a price readjustment, additional drivetrain options and an extensive facelift – as well as the X-Trail, Mr Thompson said the bigger risk lay with compromising Nissan’s future small-car plans.

“I don’t think there would be significant cannibalisation – certainly not with X-Trail (since there are) completely different consumer requirements for somebody getting into an X-Trail versus somebody getting into a Juke – but between Juke and Dualis there could be some movement between the two products.

“But for me it’s more of an outlook to the future when we have additional product and new product that is not here today that is going to be filling that more typical C-segment (small car) hatch space.

“With Tiida replacement, I am confident that the hatch could do the job that Juke could do.

“But, yes, with the really aggressive styling that the Juke offers, there will still be people who prefer that over a C-segment hatch, but I still think that you would face some cannibalisation that then questions whether the line-up will be efficient with all that product.”

Meanwhile, the diesel-powered Dualis appears to have been delayed for another nine months, with Nissan now indicating that it will not arrive in Australia until towards the end of 2011.

“It hasn’t fallen off the radar – timing is still to be determined. We certainly think there will be a market. It won’t be a big one … so we’re still quite positive about bringing in the diesel Dualis,” Mr Thompson said.

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