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Nissan says no to Euro-spec Pulsar

Off the radar: After early speculation that it could make it to Australia, the European-market Nissan Pulsar has been ruled out for the local market.

New high-end Euro-hatch to get the Pulsar name, but Nissan Australia says no

19 May 2014

NISSAN has confirmed that it's Volkswagen Golf-rivalling small hatch will take the Pulsar moniker when it launches in Europe in the third quarter of the year, but don't expect to see it in local showrooms in the near future.

The company’s Australian arm has doused speculation that it could replace the current Pulsar sedan and hatch range that arrived here last year by saying that it will continue with its existing strategy to import the Thai-built duo.

“Nissan Australia does not currently plan to release the recently announced European-market Nissan Pulsar,” the statement said. “Nissan Australia will continue selling the current Australian-market Pulsar in both hatch and sedan format for the local Small car market.

Speculation that Nissan Australia could switch the Thai-built Pulsar for the new, more upmarket Euro hatch started in January this year when Nissan Motor Company global executive vice president Andy Palmer told reporters at the Detroit motor show that the new model would be a global car “everywhere but in the United States”, hinting at a possible Australian birth.

“I don’t think it could exist with Pulsar (in markets such as Australia’s) because Pulsar plays in that same space,” he said at the North American auto show.“Clearly the intention is that we have something that sits in the mainstream C-segment hatch market, and the poster boy for that right now is the Volkswagen Golf of course.” Nissan Australia will instead persist with the Thai-built models that are selling in middling numbers, despite strong early interest following the launch of the sedan in January and the hatch in June last year.

So far this year, Nissan has sold 3191 Pulsars to the end of April and is being outsold by the Holden Cruze (5915), Ford Focus (6091), and Volkswagen Golf (5962), while the Hyundai i30 has sold about three times as many units in the same period, and the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla in greater numbers still.

The Spanish-built C-segment contender has been touted as a Golf and Ford Focus competitor since it was confirmed early last year, but Nissan has remained quiet on styling direction and launch timing until now.

The Japanese giant has released a single darkened teaser image with the Pulsar flanked by the X-Trail and Qashqai crossovers, revealing a front-end design in keeping with its SUV siblings.

Nissan's V-motion grille is clear in the image, as is the headlight design that is now a Nissan signature and evident on the Qashqai and X-Trail.

The company is clearly looking to leverage off the popularity of the Qashqai that has been the brand's top-selling model by some margin in Europe for a number of years.

Few other details are available, but Nissan said more will be revealed when the covers come off the five-door Pulsar on May 20.

The new model will return Nissan to the C-segment hatch market after the demise of the British-built Almera that sold in the UK between 2000 and 2007 and was sold in Australia as the N16 Pulsar.

Nissan replaced the Pulsar with the ill-fated Tiida which failed to connect with buyers when it sold locally between 2006 and 2013 and was replaced by the re-born Pulsar last year.

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