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Nissan set to unveil Micra with a boot

Putting the boot in: The all-new Micra hatchback will soon be joined for the first time by a light-sized sedan.

New Nissan global light sedan to debut in China ahead of 2011 launch

12 Oct 2010

A NEW global small sedan that could provide another string to Nissan Australia’s mini-car bow is set to be revealed at the China International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou in December.

Although Nissan has revealed scant details of the car, the light sedan is thought to be closely related to the latest Micra, which is set to be previewed at this week’s Australian International Motor Show in Sydney on Friday ahead of a mid-November local launch.

A sketch showing an attractive but conventional four-door car was released today with the announcement that Nissan will lift the wraps from the sedan in China, where Nissan makes vehicles in partnership with Dongfeng.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan MY2011 Micra.

It is the first time Nissan has premiered a global model in China, underlining the increasing importance of the world’s biggest car market.

GoAuto understands Nissan Australia is still considering its options on the new sedan, which potentially could go into production alongside the K13 Micra hatch in Thailand, as well as in China and possibly India.

Despite overseas reports that the new sedan is the replacement for the Tiida and its alter-ego, the North American Versa, GoAuto believes the so-called New Global Sedan is smaller, built on Nissan’s Type V platform that underpins the Micra.

A separate Tiida replacement – called ‘TR’ – is also under development for launch in 2012. This is expected to be bigger than the current model that straddles the light and small-car segments.

Up-sizing the Nissan small car will create more market elbow room for the Thai-built Micra, which was revealed earlier this year at the Geneva motor show in its European guise, called March.

Nissan Australia has big hopes for the Micra, with managing director Dan Thompson telling GoAuto in April that the company hopes to triple sales with the new model.

Mr Thompson also confirmed that the range would be expanded from the current five-door model to multiple body styles with a range of engines and transmissions.

Those models will include a three-box sedan – just like the New Global Sedan in the sketch released today by Nissan Motor Co.

So far this year, Nissan Australia has sold 6267 Micras in its run-out phase – up 60 per cent on last year.

Its share of the light-car segment has grown from 4.5 per cent last year to a handy 6.2 per cent.

By comparison, its Tiida stablemate has slid 21 per cent to just 4395 units so far this year, despite price cuts of at least $1000 across the range and equipment upgrades in March. Last year, Tiida sales also slid 29.1 per cent.

In March, Mr Thompson promised the 2010 ‘Tiida Replacement’ (TR) would not only be a genuine small car but also a top-three contender in sales.

Mr Thompson told GoAuto the TR would effectively end Nissan’s segment-straddling strategy formulated when the C11 Tiida was developed in the middle of the last decade, which necessitated positioning the current Micra below the Tiida as well as the larger J10 Dualis above it.

“The Tiida Replacement will be a proper C-segment small car, covering the entire segment with all offerings that once again competitors are bringing to market – except for diesel, as we have no plans for diesels in the small car segment,” Mr Thompson said.

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