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Shanghai show: Nissan lifts the lid on born-again Pulsar

Shanghai Tiida: Nissan has unveiled its next-gen small-car in China, which is expected to go on sale in Oz with a resuscitated Pulsar nameplate in 2012.

Nissan Australia’s all-new Pulsar emerges as MkIII Tiida hatch in China

19 Apr 2011

NISSAN Motor Co used today’s Shanghai motor show opening to unveil its third-generation Tiida hatchback, which is expected to go on sale in Australia as the born-again Pulsar next year.

Presenting a bold new face with edgy triangular headlights and deep body-side sculpting, the MkIII Tiida is a far cry from the slab-sided current model, sales of which peaked at 13,756 in 2007 before declining rapidly to just 5491 sales last year.

Despite a cut-throat $17,990 pricetag in a booming small-car segment, Tiida sedan and hatch sales have continued to slide in the first quarter of this year, when sales of just 1092 represents a further 46.4 per cent year-on-year decline and a long way from the 20,000-plus Pulsars Nissan sold annually in the early Noughties.

Senior Nissan executives revealed at the Sydney motor show last October that Nissan Australia had been given the green light to dust off the Pulsar badge for the Tiida replacement, but no formal announcement has yet been made.

12 center imageThe redesigned Tiida hatch seen here will be produced in the Dongfeng Nissan Huadu Plant in Guangzhou ahead of its Chinese release in late May, before it is introduced in about 130 countries globally – including Australia – by 2014.

Nissan Australia has confirmed the MkIII Tiida, which rides on a 100mm-longer wheelbase that Nissan says liberates best-in-class rear knee room, will be released here in 2012, but will not confirm what it will be called.

Nissan says its new Tiida, which will be aimed at “young families who value quality life”, will bring class-leading levels of comfort and space, increased visibility and a premium interior feel promoted by a new floating centre cluster and wide “super-soft” armrests.

In China, the new Tiida’s mainstream engine will be Nissan’s 1.6-litre HR16DE petrol four, which receives a number of lower-emissions ‘Pure Drive’ technology to reduce fuel use and meet China’s more stringent third phase fuel-efficiency requirements, including the latest dual injectors and an Xtronic CVT gearbox with an auxiliary transmission.

Top billing under the bonnet, however, should go to the next Tiida’s new ‘turbo series’, for which Nissan has provided no details but says will make it the first Japanese car-maker to introduce a turbocharged engine in China.

Despite its lacklustre sales performance in Australia, the Tiida remains Nissan’s top-selling model worldwide and last year found 85,000 new homes in China, where Nissan was a pioneer in the compact hatchback market.

Of the four million vehicles Nissan sold globally last year, nearly a quarter went to customers in China, making it the company’s single biggest market.

Nissan started full-scale operations in China in 1993, when Dongfeng Motor Co Ltd was established, and established the Infiniti brand there in 2007.

Its total vehicle sales in China have surged from 94,000 in 2003 to more than one million last year and Nissan is targeting 1.15 million sales in 2011.

Nissan made a return to the top five in Australia’s sales charts last month and has posted a 19.3 per cent sales spike year to date in a market that is down 1.3 per cent.

It still has a way to go to achieve its goal of a 10 per cent market share and becoming Australia’s top full-line importer by the end of its 2012-2013 financial year.

However, it will be aided by the Leaf EV and all-new Patrol launches in the first quarter, followed by the Pulsar and K13 Micra-based Sunny sedan.

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