Nissan Note, Micra, and Kicks possible for Australia

8 May 2017
 by 
, GoAutoMedia

Following the removal of the Pulsar sedan from its line-up last month, Nissan Australia has expressed interest in the Note and Micra hatches, as well as the Kicks SUV, to help fill the void in the Japanese company's sub-$25,000 light car range.

These new models would sit below the larger next-generation Pulsar that is currently under development, and expected for an Aussie rebirth.

Furthermore, Nissan's local arm may be tempted to import the successor to the Note e-Power petrol-electric hybrid – otherwise known as e-Note – in addition to the standard hatch.

According to Nissan Australia boss Richard Emery, a number of models from across the world remain under consideration for the local market.

Such a move would provide the carmaker with a point of difference in the light car segment, and it could hit the right note with buyers given its ongoing sales success in Japan since its release last year.

Its inclusion in Australia would also serve as the next step towards Nissan's stated goal of offering a 100 per cent emissions-free global line-up.

Current-gen e-Notes use a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine in combination with an electric motor, which helps achieve a fuel economy rating of 2.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

According to Nissan Australia boss Richard Emery, a number of models from across the world remain under consideration for the local market.

"Besides the Micra; there's the next Note out of Japan, European version of the Pulsar hatch, the American version of the Pulsar sedan, and then there's the new Kicks brought to market in South America last year," he said.

"We've been hugely successful with e-Note in Japan. And so it's certainly something we're keeping an eye on. They're at capacity with e-Note, but there is a next generation coming on that product."

However, Mr Emery confirmed that none of these proposed models will be sold Down Under before 2019 thanks to limited production capacity (Note) or delayed access to right-hand-drive automatic variants (Micra/Kicks).

The existing second-gen Note – which launched globally in 2013 – is slightly larger than the similarly packaged Honda Jazz.

"Any car that's available, we look at," he said. "(But there are) factors at play – specification, availability, pricing, supply. For instance, the new Micra is still only available as a manual.

"There is a whole range of products that would fit between $15,000 and $25,000 to market. If I talked in an ill-disciplined approach – ‘I want a bit of all of those' – then you finish up with some of the wrong cars.

"So we're making sure that if we look at that market segment, we have to figure out what is the market expectation for that product over the next five years, what suits, what's coming out of the Nissan world globally and what we can make work. That's simply the process we're going through at the moment.

"Whether it's 18 months or whatever, it's too early to predict."

The existing second-gen Note – which launched globally in 2013 – is slightly larger than the similarly packaged Honda Jazz.

It is based on the manufacturer's 'V' architecture, which underpins a variety of light and small vehicles from Renault-Nissan Alliance – including the Pulsar hatch that was dropped from the local range last year.

Several reports allege the Micra could be built in Indonesia from next year, which would open the door for a more competitively priced and specified version to hit Aussie shores.

Nevertheless, the next iteration of the Note is likely to break cover in 2019, with the hatch set to ride on an updated variation of the 'V' platform which is presently employed by the latest Micra.

Meanwhile, several reports allege the Micra could be built in Indonesia from next year, which would open the door for a more competitively priced and specified version to hit Aussie shores at some stage.

Currently, the new Micra – which shares its powertrains with the mechanically similar Renault Clio and Captur – is produced at a Renault-Nissan Alliance facility in France.

Should Nissan add the Note, Micra or Kicks to its diminishing passenger car line-up? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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