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Future models - Nissan - Micra

$13,500 Micra likely

Big expectations: Nissan's next Micra will be a "home run" in sales, says Nissan Australia.

Nissan says five doors for the price of three will triple Micra sales

22 Apr 2010

NISSAN is poised to offer the base version of the next-generation Micra light car for as little as $13,500 when it is launched at the end of this year, to take on the likes of the upcoming Hyundai i20, Holden Barina, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris.

The aim, according to Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson, is to eventually triple or even quadruple sales numbers, from around 400 a month for the current-generation K12, to between 1200 and 1500.

It will give the company far stronger representation in the third biggest new-car sales class in Australia after the small-car and compact SUV segments.

“We can deliver a five-door manual that will compete with the (others’) three-doors,” Mr Thompson said.

At launch, the Micra will boast a full range of models, in both manual and CVT automatic variants, to give Nissan a level of light-car class coverage that has been lacking in the current K12 model.

“Micra is the first breakthrough all-new core model to be introduced in 2010, that will take us from a state today where Nissan only plays in a very small niche part of the light segment, specifically as our current K12 Micra is a five-door auto-only,” he said.

“But this Micra will have the entire light-car segment covered – multiple engines, multiple transmissions, multiple models – the whole lot.

“It will represent quite a significant sales rate for us – it’s almost tripling the sales rate that we have had with the K12 over the last 12 months or so.

“It will take us from a level where we do about 400 to 500 Micras a month to the next level, which is between 1200 to 1500 Micras per month. We expect the Micra to be top three in its segment.”

12 center imageLeft: Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson.

A sedan version is waiting in the wings, Nissan has revealed, should the market for three-box four-door light cars take off in Australia.

“We will wait and see how that market goes,” Mr Thompson said.

However, as we reported earlier in April, the as-yet top-secret mini people mover due in 2012, based on the next Micra’s ‘V’ (for versatile) platform, is unlikely to reach Australia.

Nissan would not divulge specific K13 Micra details, including whether the all-new HR12 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines in normally aspirated 59kW/108Nm or supercharged direct-injection 72kW/142Nm outputs will be part of the Australian packaging.

Both engines will be available on European versions of the Micra – which, by the way, come from India rather than the Thailand plant that will make our cars.

Since its release in December 2007, the existing Micra (sourced out of Japan) has only been available as one model grade – with a 72kW/137Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox, with the only option being the choice of a ‘City Collection’ pack that brings side and curtain airbags, a better audio system, and alloy wheels.

Nissan believes that giving consumers more choice, at both below and above the current model’s $15,990 price point, will drive Micra sales in Australia.

Helping that out will be less avant-garde styling (which, in the K12, has proved divisive according to one Nissan insider), as well as a reduction in the female-orientated marketing that has become a hallmark of the current Micra series.

“It does need to become more male to female balanced as far as positioning is concerned, because we are after more volume,” Mr Thompson said.

The K13’s initial sales spurt in Thailand is encouraging for Nissan Australia.

“This car is an absolute homerun for us. It’s just been globally unveiled in Geneva, and it just went on sale in Thailand four weeks ago, and they have had tremendous success … they took 8600 orders in just three weeks,” Mr Thompson said.

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