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Nissan Australia comfortable axing Dualis badge

Name game: Nissan’s popular Dualis compact SUV gets the global Qashqai badge from next year.

Product more important than badge, says Nissan as it prepares to axe Dualis tag

Nissan logo23 Oct 2013

NISSAN Australia says it is confident that axing the Dualis nameplate and replacing it with the global Qashqai badge will not impact sales of its popular compact SUV when the second generation arrives in the second quarter of 2014.

The Japanese company employed a similar tactic in 2006 when it replaced the popular Pulsar name with the comparatively unloved Tiida, which sold in far smaller numbers than its predecessor.

The shift from Pulsar to Tiida took Nissan from a dominant place in the small-car segment to a position near the tail end, as buyers failed to warm to the boxy Tiida in the way they had with its predecessor.

Nissan has since apportioned part of the blame for this result on the decision to move away from a trusted name – and the equity that goes with it – to an unfamiliar one.

But Nissan Australia’s recently appointed interim managing director and CEO Peter Jones said he was confident lightning would not strike twice when the Qashqai rolls into town, saying that while the company has its work cut out marketing and establishing a new model, the quality of the new product will counter the demise of its old familiar nameplate.

“At the end of the day we were the last country to hold out (for Dualis),” Mr Jones told GoAuto this week, referring to the fact that other markets already use the Qashqai badge.

The decision to drop Dualis from the lexicon was made before Mr Jones’ appointment.

“There’s obviously discussion between Japan and us, but the name has worked well in New Zealand and the UK, so at the end of the day we examined the opportunity and took it. It’s a global name now.

“I think when you see this car you’ll find it’s a very different car to Tiida, and you’ll see it very soon.

“We’ve got a job to get the name out there now, there’s no doubt about that, but I think when you see the car you’ll understand that it’s the right car for the market. It will be the product that sells, not the name.

“It’s a decision that we didn’t take lightly, and it’s now up to me to sell it.” Nissan has sold 10,155 Dualis SUVs so far this year, putting it second in its segment behind the Hyundai ix35 (14,380). In 2012, Dualis was Australia’s favourite small SUV bar none.

The next-generation Qashqai will premiere at the Tokyo motor show in November. The seven-seater ‘+2’ variant looks set for discontinuation, with Nissan instead making the new-generation X-Trail its family-oriented soft-roader.

The tongue-twisting Qashqai – pronounced cash-ki – took its name from a semi-nomadic tribe in Iran.

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