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Nissan nukes Juke 2WD turbo

Range reshuffle: Nissan will pull the two-wheel drive turbo version of the Juke from its line-up, leaving just two variants of the quirky crossover.

Juke range cut back to just two variants to make room for larger Nissan Qashqai

16 Jul 2014

NISSAN will reposition the Juke model line-up with fewer variants to make space for the larger Qashqai launched this month, as it seeks to maximise the appeal of both compact SUVs while simplifying its range.

While the base Juke ST’s opening gambit of $22,090, plys on-road costs for the manual and $24,490 for the auto are expected to remain for now, the slow-selling ST-S 1.6-litre turbo manual from $28,490 will most likely disappear over the coming weeks.

The latter’s price also happens to be exactly what Nissan is charging for the new Qashqai ST CVT auto, which is slated to be the best-selling version of the newcomer by some margin.

Clearing the decks of any Juke-sized obstacle is set to give the Qashqai its strongest hand possible against the popular Hyundai ix35, Subaru XV and Mitsubishi ASX.

“We are certainly looking across the whole model range in terms of reducing the numbers of models we have for each product,” according to Nissan Australia managing director and CEO, Richard Emery.

“One of the solutions here is that for the Juke line-up the number of models will be pulled back from four to three.”

However far from harming its sales, Mr Emery said the Qashqai’s arrival should give the Juke a push.

“The Juke is in a very different segment for size and functionality… so in terms of the sort of customers (they appeal to) they’re very different so they do marry well together quite well,” he said.

“But it shouldn’t impact Juke. In fact we think it will actually help. Because of the style of product the Qashqai is, it certainly won’t take away from it.

They appeal to a very different demographic.

“We might find that people come in attracted to Qashqai thinking: ‘I haven’t even considered a Juke. But now that I’m here in the showroom that might suit my purposes better – and vice versa’.” Aiding the smaller SUV’s cause, the lack of all-wheel drive availability on the Qashqai will leave the flagship Juke Ti-S 1.6T 4WD from $32,490 as Nissan’s sole AWD offering in the compact SUV segment.

Launched last October, the British-built Juke has found 1243 buyers so far this year to average 207 sales each month, putting it behind the similarly sized Holden Trax (3220), but ahead of the struggling Suzuki S-Cross (906 units), Ford EcoSport (830 units) and Peugeot 2008 (202 units).

Nissan is also expected to rationalise the current Pulsar range in order to boost the appeal of the higher-end Ti variants and increase the model's overall sales.

However, the Japanese car-maker's local arm says that the all-electric Leaf hatch, that launched in mid 2012, is safe for now, even though just 79 units have found homes in Australia this year.

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