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Nissan confirms rash of new models, including Qashqai

Trail blazer: Nissan’s new X-Trail will boast high-tech features such as active ride control.

All guns blazing for Nissan into 2014 as new model roll-out keeps coming

16 Oct 2013

NISSAN Australia today laid bare its new-model plans for 2014, confirming a new X-Trail, a Dualis replacement to be re-named Qashqai, a hybrid version of its new Pathfinder SUV and a Pulsar SSS sedan, all to be launched in the first half of the year.

The new-model announcements coincided with Nissan’s national dealer meeting at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, where the retail sales force also got the good news on pricing for the all-new Altima mid-sized sedan – starting at $29,990 plus on-road costs – and saw the upcoming American-built Pathfinder and British-sourced Juke compact SUV that both arrive in showrooms later this month.

The launch of Juke next week marks the start of a big nine months for the Japanese-based importer in Australia, with some of its biggest-selling passenger vehicles set for renewal.

The new Pathfinder, this time built on a monocoque architecture, will be next cab off the rank in late October, with the Thai-built Altima sedan hard on its heels in November.

Today, Nissan confirmed that the new X-Trail medium SUV that was launched globally at the recent Frankfurt motor show will make its Australian debut in the second quarter of 2014.

Boasting seven seats for the first time, the new X-Trail will be built on a new modular platform developed jointly by Nissan and partner Renault, and will boast high-end technology such as Active Ride Control – a device that detects bumps in the road and adjusts the suspension to cope (a form of which is just being launched in Mercedes-Benz’s new flagship S-Class).

Also due in Q2 of next year is a supercharged hybrid version of the new seven-seat Pathfinder, offering a more fuel efficient alternative to the regular petrol-powered models and helping to cover the absence of a diesel alternative any time soon.

The Pathfinder Supercharged Hybid combines a blown 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and continuously variable transmission (CVT), driving all four wheels.

Although fuel efficiency figures have not been released for the Australian version, expect about 8.7 litres per 100km, based on American data.

Prices for the hybrid version will not be released until closer to launch, but the prices for the petrol models start from $39,990.

One of the biggest surprises in today’s announcements was that Nissan Australia would drop its Dualis nameplate and replace it with the European badge for the new-generation of the British-built small SUV, Qashqai.

The Dualis tag was only used on the first generation of the vehicle in Japan and Australia, and so the move to rename it brings those markets into line globally.

The tongue-twisting Qashqai – pronounced cash-ki – took its name from a semi-nomadic tribe in Iran.

One of the challenges thrown up by the name change will be the junking of the brand equity in the Dualis badge and re-branding the model that is one of the company’s biggest sellers, rivaling the new Pulsar.

By contrast, Nissan is again dipping into is past for the well-established SSS badge, this time for the Pulsar sedan that will be powered by the same 140kW 1.6-litre direct-injected turbocharged engine as the Pulsar SSS hatch that marked the return of the famous badge back in May.

Again, no pricing has been given, but if Nissan follows its current format of pricing its Pulsar sedan model about $1000 above five-door hatchbacks, the sedan SSS should start at about $30,690 for the manual and $32,740 for the automatic (plus on-road costs).

Nissan says the SSS sedan will also arrive in the second quarter of 2014.

Nissan Australia’s acting managing director and CEO Peter Jones said his company was set for a big end to 2013 with the launch of Juke, Pathfinder and Altima.

“We look forward to taking that momentum into 2014 with these exciting new model launches,” he said.

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