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Pulsar pushed back to 2013

Better late than never: Nissan will launch the Pulsar hatch in Australia two years after it was first presented at the Shanghai motor show as the second-generation Tiida.

Nissan Australia forced to stick with Tiida as it plans double-barrel Pulsar launch

29 Nov 2011


NISSAN will stage a staggered launch for its crucial new-generation small car – the reborn Pulsar – with a sedan arriving early in 2013 and the hatch following later in the first or second quarter.

Although the company told GoAuto last month that the new Pulsar could make it here earlier than expected in the final stages of next year with a single hatchback variant, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson said he had reverted to the original plan of launching the Tiida replacement in January or February 2013.

“The sedan will be coming first … and that will be opposite to the global sequencing for Pulsar hatch,” he told GoAuto this week in Tokyo.

“It will be a staggered launch … a matter of maybe a couple of months in between. It’s a great way to maximise a new model’s impact.

“We did it successfully with Dualis 4x4 and then 4x2, and more recently the X-Trail 4x4, then 4x4 diesel, and now the 4x2 version as well.

“We’ll always try to do something fresh with product to keep customers interested.

“(With Pulsar) the staggered launch is similar to what Holden has done to keep interest up in the Cruze, where it released the sedan first.”

12 center imageLeft: Chinese Nissan Tiida (to be called Pulsar here). Below: Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson.

The second-generation Tiida was first shown at this year’s Shanghai motor show in hatchback, with sales commencing not long after, but the sedan has yet to be revealed.

Pulsar sedan will probably be unveiled at the Beijing motor show in China next April – some 12 months after the hatch version – and Mr Thompson said its design will be one of the sedan’s biggest drawcards.

“It will be well worth the wait,” he said.

“That’s why we’re waiting to have access to the sedan as well as the hatch before we launch.

“We’re supremely confident that – next to Navara – the Pulsar will be the most important car for Nissan moving into the future.” The delay means that the unloved Tiida must soldier on longer than first envisaged, until the end of next year, even though supplies have been severely constrained by the devastating floods in Thailand.

Sales of the now-ageing Tiida are down almost 35 per cent this year to just 2970 to the end of October – a far cry from the 20,000 units Pulsar averaged annually a decade ago.

Pulsar’s tardy arrival also keeps the pressure on the Dualis hatch to keep flying the flag for Nissan in the premium end of the small-car segment against the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Mazda 3, but high demand overseas for the British-built crossover has constrained supplies to Australia – particularly for the successful 4x2 version.

While the next Pulsar will be built in Thailand, Mr Thompson is confident that production will not suffer the same shortfalls that have plagued Micra and Navara.

“The Pulsar was always intended to come out of Thailand, so Nissan has taken steps in Australia and globally as well as in Thailand to free-up capacity to support Almera (the Micra-based light sedan) and Pulsar.

“Not only did they move Australian Micra supply out of Thailand to Indonesia, they moved Maxima back to Japan and all of the D40 Navara assembly to Mitsubishi (in Thailand, as part of a co-up that will see the next-generation Navara and Triton twinned) over the mid to latter part of next year to free up the entire plant for nothing but light and small-car production essentially.”

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