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Nissan battles on with SSS

Finger on the Pulsar: How our graphic artist Norm Robinson thinks a Pulsar sedan might look.

Nissan Australia waits on word from Japan over the new generation SSS Pulsar

21 Dec 2001

NISSAN Australia is waiting on the thumbs-up for a new generation SSS Pulsar from headquarters in Japan and also the word on whether it will be a hatch or sedan.

Nissan Australia boss Leon Daphne confirmed last week a proposal is with Nissan's product planners in Japan, and said he was confident it would get the go-ahead.

If the Pulsar SSS is approved it is expected to go on sale in late-2002, priced around the $28,000 mark, lining it up against the Mazda 323 Astina SP20 and Ford Laser SR2.

Nissan's product planners are working on mixing and matching a variety of engine and transmission options to come up with the right combination of performance and value. The capacity of the engine is not yet finalised, although the previous generation had a 2.0-litre four.

"I can't say when exactly (the green light would come) but we are working pretty consistently on it and my expectation is we will be successful in our discussions with Japan," Mr Daphne said.

But he would not express even a personal opinion on which body shape would be preferable - sedan or hatch.

"I'd prefer not to say just in case it doesn't come out that way. I'll love whatever we get," he said.

There is some chance it will be a sedan as the hatch is built in England which means the export costs could be too high. The sedan Pulsar is manufactured in Japan.

Mr Daphne said development costs were also an issue for Nissan Australia to consider.

"The problem .... is no-one besides Australia wants an SSS - a hatch, sedan or any type of sporty variant. So we haven't got any friends to help us share in the development costs," he said.

Nissan continued with the previous N15 series Pulsar SSS for a number of months after the release of the current N16 sedan but sold the last of them in January, 2001.

Nissan would like an N16 SSS to produce around 180 sales per month, roughly replicating N15 SSS performance, despite an increase in competitors in the market. If the Pulsar SSS sedan does get the go-ahead it could soon be joined by a Civic Type-R sedan.

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