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Nissan Pulsar could make a comeback

Nissan Motor Company Australia managing director Dan Thompson says the next-generation Tiida could be known as the Pulsar. "The next generation is still several years out so it's probably too early to talk about the name," he says. "However, I understand the traction and equity of the name Pulsar. We will consider whether it is appropriate to bring back the name at that time."

Pulsar debuted in Australia in 1978 and gained a legion of fans with its sporty performance in some models. However, the company changed the name to Tiida in all markets except America 2007.

Critics claim the name has failed to gain market support. "There is still a lot of research that needs to happen before the next model arrives," Thompson says.

"Pulsar has a high general awareness but what does it actually mean to people? Pulsar has a strong link with Nissan. There is no doubt about that."

Nissan this month releases the Dualis 4x2 which is the fifth new product since January after Murano, GT-R, 370Z and Maxima. "It's been a big time for us," Thompson says. "All products have been ahead of our (sales) expectations. We have over achieved in every model."

The next new model is the Z Roadster arriving in the first quarter of 2010. The next-generation Micra will arrive in early 2011 featuring a full line up of variants, possibly including a "hot" model, Thompson says.

Nissan's light car has been hampered by a lack of models, being only available as a five-door auto. Despite the lack of variants, Thompson says the Micra is selling up to 500 a month.

He says Nissan would not import the funky Cube, even though it is a global car. "We have looked at it but it's not right for Australia at this stage," he says. "We're very much focused on performance in our brand. So there is better product for Australia than the Cube."

He says the 370Z and GT-R had "reinvented the brand as a sportscar brand". The GT-R had particularly sold well, exceeding expectations selling its 2009 allocation of 200 already.

Cube is not the right fit for our brand at the moment," he says. "There is nothing I have against the Cube, but we are not interested in bringing in every model available overseas. We don't want to make the model line-up too complex."

Meanwhile, Thompson says Nissan's luxury arm, Infiniti, would definitely come to Australia. "It's only a matter of time with its launch into Europe and the UK finally in right-hand drive," he says. "It's still a long way out. We will tackle it when the time is right. It's a perfect fit for Australia."

Thompson says that when Infiniti launched it would include "the entire line-up" as every vehicle was now available in right-hand drive. "It is a separate brand and would be handled that way with separate dealers and administration," he says. "It's an exciting brand," says the American who worked with Infiniti in the US about seven years ago.