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Nissan drops Altima and Pulsar
Leaf, 370Z and GT-R only passenger Nissans left after Altima and Pulsar chopped
6 Apr 2017
NISSAN has dropped the Altima mid-size sedan and Pulsar small sedan from its Australian line-up, leaving the Leaf EV, 370Z sportscar and GT-R supercar as the only models left in the Nissan passenger vehicle range.
The loss of the Altima and Pulsar leaves Nissan without a sedan in its line-up, which is now predominantly SUVs – namely the Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail, Pathfinder and Patrol, as well as the Navara pick-up.
Nissan has cited the costs associated with bringing the two models into line with Euro 5b emissions standards as the reason for choosing to discontinue the current range of models.
However the Japanese car-maker has not ruled out bringing them back into the Australian line-up in the future, saying the two models have been removed from the local portfolio “for now”, and that “plans for new models are well advanced”.
Nissan Australia managing director Richard Emery has previously indicated that the Pulsar sedan will be returning Down Under when the new model arrives in a couple of years in a chat with GoAuto last month.
“It is 18 months to two years away, the new car, which we are heavily involved in, in terms of its price, specification and what our requirements are. It is actually a key global car for the company,” he said.
“It is kind of the one car that is sold everywhere. In that context, we are deep in conversations about that car. I don’t think they are even going to show it until early 2019 or even late next year. I think it is a couple of years away. We are certainly a couple of years away for Australia.”
Mr Emery also indicated that the next couple of years would represent a big product push for Nissan, with a number of new models arriving in 2018 and 2019.
“There is a generational shift in our product plan from late 2018-19 onwards, and our opportunity for our product offering in Australia expands quite a bit,” he said last month. “There are probably too many for us to choose from.
“Obviously, we have got to home in on what is going to work best for us. So there is a lot of pre-work being done at the moment about what might suit Australia. And, might I add, what won’t.”
As for the Altima, it is unclear if the mid-size sedan will be reborn given the decline in the mid-size passenger car segment and the growing preference for SUVs.
So far this year Nissan has recorded just 154 sales of the Altima, trailing segment leaders such as the Toyota Camry (4389), Mazda6 (898) and Ford Mondeo (846).
In 2016 it recorded 890 sales, again well off the pace of the Camry (26,485), Mazda6 (4369) and Subaru Liberty (3495). It even trailed lower selling models such as the now defunct Holden Malibu (1005), Hyundai i40 (978) and the Kia Optima (1358).
In September last year Nissan committed to another two years of Supercar racing with the Altima, but Nissan says that it is still business as usual for the Supercar racing series, and that the removal of the vehicle from its consumer line-up does not affect its Supercar Program.
It is also possible that the Pulsar hatch, which was discontinued before the sedan version, could be replaced by the new-generation Micra light car, which was revealed at the Paris motor show last September.
“We would like to be in that segment, for sure,” Mr Emery said. “That car in its current form doesn’t have all of the elements that we need, to be honest – and those elements are as broad as specification, pricing base and availability.
“That car is certainly on our watch list and consideration set. At this point in time, there is a fair bit of water that has to go under the bridge before we make that live for Australia. I think it is going well in Europe.”
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