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2022 Nissan Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder expected to propel brand up the sales charts, but can it overtake Volkswagen or Mitsubishi?

Nissan's Qashqai is one of its best-selling nameplates, and it will be refreshed soon.

Nissan Australia is in for a busy 18 months, preparing to launch three all-new volume-selling models that is expected to push the brand further up the sales charts.

Though timing for the already revealed Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder is yet to be locked in, it is likely the first of the three models will start hitting local showrooms in late 2021 or early 2022.

It is also unclear which order they will arrive in, but the X-Trail was first shown as the US-spec Rogue in mid-2020, meaning it could be the first to land to take on the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5.

The Pathfinder was next uncovered in February this year, followed closely by the Qashqai, with each model competing against the likes of the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9, and Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona respectively.

These three models are also set to capitalise on the success of Toyota’s hybrid strategy, with Nissan expected to confirm e-Power hybrid technology for each in line with its plans to have a third of its sales in electrified powertrains by 2022.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester said the unique engines are “yet to be determined” for Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder, but “certainly e-Power will feature in the Australian market in the future”.

Aside from the three crucial new models on the horizon, Nissan’s facelifted Navara ute also launched in March this year, with more variants such as the Pro-4X and Premcar-fettled Warrior expected to come later in 2021.

As the competitor against the best-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, the Navara is Nissan’s second-best seller (behind the X-Trail), reaching 11,486 units – or 30.0 per cent of the brand’s volume – in 2020 when it was essentially in runout.

Likewise, the Patrol large SUV also enjoyed a positive year, growing 44.5 per cent to 2820 sales on the back of more Australians looking to road trip as international travel remains off the table.

The Juke light SUV was also updated with a new-generation model last year, contributing 1048 units to Nissan’s bottom line.

Providing support for its bigger-selling SUVs is also three passenger car offerings – the all-electric Leaf, 370Z sports car and GT-R supercar slayer.

The Leaf will receive reinforcement in the tailpipe emissions-free space with the launch of the e+ variant landing later this year that boasts a larger battery for increased driving range, while the Ariya SUV could arrive in local showrooms sometime after its 2021 introduction in international markets.

As for the 370Z and GT-R, both nameplates will be updated with new-generation models in the near future, with plans for the former heralded by the Z Proto and rumours of the latter pointing to electrification as a way to boost performance further.

With its entire model line-up to be revitalised, Mr Lester said he expects a boost in popularity for the brand, though would not be drawn on how much all the activity would add to the bottom line.

“The ambition is certainly to continue to grow sales … the reality is we’re seeing really strong growth in the retail channel, and we want to keep that going,” he said.

“We’re going to have a very balanced portfolio view, so we’re still going to be a strong capable player in the fleet and government channels.

“We will continue to see, with more new models coming, certainly a growth in total volume.”

As for whether it will push Nissan up from its eighth-spot ranking last year (falling just 943 units short of seventh-placed Volkswagen), Mr Lester said the brand’s position in the Australian market is secondary to sustainable growth.

“Where that positions us, as a ranking, I want to grow a much more profitable business for our dealers here and deliver better product for our consumers as the main focal point, rather than worrying about what the specific rank is because if you cannot build that, your rank doesn’t matter, you lose your network, you lose customers,” he said.

“Our focus needs to be on how we deliver the best customer service, how we deliver the best products to those customers and how we can make our dealer network the best dealer network and the most profitable dealer network.”