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Future models - Nissan - Pulsar

Nissan studying Euro Pulsar for Oz

Euro hatch: Nissan's VW Golf-baiting UK-built Pulsar hatch is being assessed for the Australian market.

Local Nissan execs to assess Euro Pulsar, but pricing, spec obstacles remain

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Nissan logo17 Jul 2014

NISSAN’S European Pulsar is under consideration for Australia as a replacement for the existing Rest of World (ROW) version.

While no decision has been reached, the as-yet unreleased five-door hatchback to be launched internationally at the Paris motor show will be one of a host of future Nissans that managing director and CEO of the Australian operations Richard Emery will assess with his team next month in Japan.

One of the key deal-makers or breakers will be whether the Euro Pulsar can be imported into Australia at a competitive price and specification against the top-selling Mazda3.

“It’s on our watch list,” he told GoAuto at the local launch of the all-new Qashqai compact SUV that is produced at the same Sunderland factory in the United Kingdom that will make the Euro Pulsar.

They also share most chassis and drivetrain components as part of the Common Family Module architecture that will underpin more than a dozen Nissan and Renault vehicles.

“As always with a global company like Nissan where you always have a variety of products available from around the globe, you don’t only have to look at the design and spec but also the cost implications, because obviously building cars in Europe is more expensive than some other parts of the world,” he said.

“The first question is: ‘Does the European Pulsar suit our market needs and opportunities and then can you get it in Australia at the right spec and price to make it competitive?’“So we’re certainly looking at it, as you would expect us to do. It’s got to work both on a visual/styling level as well as economically/financially.

“In August we’re going up to Japan to have a look at some future products and I’m sure that will be part of the mix.”

Meanwhile, the existing C12 Sedan/B17 Hatch ROW Pulsar sourced from Thailand continues to create challenges for its maker, specifically regarding buyer resistance towards the more expensive (and profitable) up-spec models such as the Ti and SSS.

While Mazda is struggling to meet demand for the circa $30,000 SP25 versions of the Mazda3, the opposite is true for the current Pulsar, which is selling most strongly as the base ST.

Furthermore, in a reversal of usual small-car trends in Australia, the sedan to hatch ratio is in the former’s favour at 55:45.

Nevertheless, it appears that if Nissan Australia can make the existing ROW Pulsar fire, it might yet see a reprieve.

“We will look at Pulsar ongoing,” Mr Emery said. “Whether it is a revised line-up and version of the current car, which is the immediate future, or whether there is an opportunity for us to take the European car sometime in the future, we’ll see. But it will have to work for Australia before we consider doing it.

“(With the existing Pulsar) we need to tidy up the stock mix first, then look at what are people after, where we have strengths and weaknesses versus the competition, and then adjust the line-up accordingly.

“I was thinking of doing that early next year once we got our stock position with it under control, but that’s probably needing to come forward now because we’re getting through the stock a bit quicker.

“We’re still doing well with Pulsar ST, but struggle a bit as far as the higher grades go. Clearly there’s still some work to be done. I’m talking ST-S, ST-L, Ti and SSS levels.

“We have to get the product message right so customers feel compelled to move into that product.”

With sales down an alarming 37 per cent to just over 5000 units in the first six months of this year, the ROW Pulsar is fighting for its life in Australia.

Over the same period, more than 23,500 Mazda3s and 22,000 Toyota Corollas have found buyers in this country.

The sedan version of the ROW Pulsar made its debut in January last year while the hatch followed in May.

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