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Next-gen Nissan Micra and Juke to move closer

Sporty future: Nissan's 2017 Micra and Juke will have a sportier design to the current generation models.

Nissan pondering sportier Micra and a boxier Juke as it strives to widen the appeal

11 Sep 2013


THE next-generation Nissan Micra is likely to move away from the bug-eyed “friendly” look of the last two iterations for a “sportier” one, as Nissan aims to lure younger buyers into the brand.

The current model’s upright stance, soft curves and anthropomorphic front end styling are likely to give way to a longer, lower and more streamlined design, to give it a more aggressive visage against rivals such as the Peugeot 208.

Furthermore, and in key contrast, the highly successful Juke crossover’s styling is set to be toned down a little while growing in key exterior dimensions when the Mk2 model comes on stream at around the same time as the next Micra in about 2017.

Among the changes mooted for the Juke II include a less pronounced coupe-like roofline to ease entry/egress, liberate more rear-seat headroom and allow for greater cargo-carrying capacity.

Both changes are said to be a direct response to customer feedback on the existing models, even though Juke sales have far exceeded initial forecasts since it was launched in 2010.

Speaking to GoAuto at the Nissan 360 global model showcase near Los Angeles this week, Nissan North America’s design vice president Taro Ueda revealed ongoing discussion within Nissan as to just how “mainstream” the cars can go before they begin to lose their unique appeal.

“I believe that great design should lead customers … not be dictated by them,” he said.

“When we launched the Juke we had no customers so we could do what we wanted. But now it is so popular we have lots of customers that we have to consider for the next one.” While the existing K13 Micra has found a strong following in southern Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain, sales have not performed to expectations in key countries like Germany and the United Kingdom.

The Micra and Juke are only two weapons in Nissan’s light-car arsenal globally.

Currently, the Honda Jazz-like Note and offbeat Cube are tailored to the upper-end of the B-segment in Europe and Japan respectively while the recently unveiled Datsun Go will service the bottom end in markets such as Indonesia, India, China and South Africa when sales commence early in 2014.

The B-segment will play a vital role in Nissan’s quest to boost profitability and global market share to eight per cent by the end of March 2017, as part of its ‘Power 88’ plan.

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