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Official: Nissan to reinstate Pulsar name

Back: Nissan Australia will return to its roots by applying the Pulsar badge to its fortcoming Tiida-replacement.

Iconic Pulsar nameplate to return to Nissan range as soon as late next year

28 Oct 2011

NISSAN Australia has confirmed its crucial Tiida-replacing small car will wear the venerable Pulsar nameplate when it is launched here as early as the fourth quarter of 2012.

Managing director and CEO Dan Thompson affirmed one of Nissan Australia’s worst-kept secrets when he repeatedly referred to the brand’s next-generation small car as ‘Pulsar’ at a press event earlier this week.

“Pulsar has a very special place in our plans and I think Aussies hearts and minds,” he said. “So we have massive ambitions with Pulsar hatch and sedan and we’ll invest all of our resourcing into Pulsar covering quite a broad spectrum.” When asked afterwards by GoAuto whether this meant the return of the Pulsar name was locked in, Mr Thompson said: “It will be over the next couple of months confirmed… We’re at the final stages.” According to Nissan Australia head of corporate communications Jeff Fisher, the brand’s crucial next-generation contender in the small-car segment – Australia’s most popular – could also appear here earlier than expected in the final stages of next year.

Mr Fisher said that a single hatchback variant could be available here in late 2012, although the full range would not be available until early 2013 as previously projected.

Nissan’s global small car has been on sale in China – where it retains the Tiida name – since May, and will be rolled out in about 130 countries globally by 2014.

12 center imageLeft: Chinese Nissan Tiida (to be called Pulsar here). Below: Nissan Almera sedan.

The Pulsar will be offered in Australia in both sedan and hatch body styles, while a diesel-powered option is also under consideration alongside the regular petrol variants – a first for the brand in the small-car segment here.

Nissan has massive expectations for its replacement for the unloved Tiida, previously stating that it expects it to be a top-three seller in the small segment currently dominated by the Mazda3, Holden Cruze, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla.

The current best-seller in the segment – the Mazda3 sedan and hatch range – has clinched 31,439 sales to the end of September (source: VFACTS) and is fighting a tight tussle with the Holden Commodore to be the nation’s overall top-selling vehicle for 2011.

In comparison, Nissan has sold just 2593 Tiidas so far this year for a segment share of only 1.5 per cent – a long way from the company’s stated goal of a 10 per cent segment share for Pulsar.

Nissan’s battle to boost its next-generation small-car into the upper echelons of sales in its segment will be made even more challenging by the arrival of the Australian-designed and manufactured Cruze hatchback variant in November, and new iterations of the i30 and Corolla during 2012.

Other new arrivals in the busy segment next year will include all-new Subaru Impreza and Honda Civic models and the return of General Motors’ Astra – this time with Opel badges.

Mazda also unveiled its heavily-facelifted Mazda3 range last month, with fuel-saving SkyActiv engine technology and price cuts among the changes, while Ford should gain better supply levels of the all-new Focus released in August.

Earlier this month, meanwhile, Nissan confirmed its upcoming Micra-based sub-Pulsar light sedan would be called Almera when it arrives here in the first half of 2012.

Both the Pulsar and the Almera will be crucial players in Nissan’s quest to become Australia’s top full-line vehicle importer by March 31, 2013 and to hold a 10 per cent overall market share (it currently holds 6.7 per cent YTD).

Nissan sold 964 Micras last month for a 10.2 per cent share of the light-car segment, but overall it holds only a 7.2 per cent share YTD. The company expects the Almera sedan to play a pivotal role in lifting that to 10 per cent in 2012.

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