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What's going on at Nissan? Japanese brand is losing sales rapidly as wait continues for 2023 Qashqai, X-Trail, and Pathfinder SUVs

Nissan has had a rough month, but the brand says good things are on the way.

Nissan, usually a contender when it comes to new-car sales thanks to a historically popular catalogue, is currently suffering in the sales charts.

Figures released this week show that Nissan sales are down by more than 33 per cent year-on-year, while its September tally was down by 33.1 per cent compared with September 2021.

The numbers are understandable, given Nissan’s Australian division has been waiting some time for new-generation versions of its most popular models, like the Qashqai, X-Trail, and Pathfinder SUVs. 

But its entire catalogue was deep in the red last month, with current models like the Juke, Patrol, Navara, and Leaf all experiencing deep downturns.

Nissan Australia says a combination of factors are causing these issues for its range. The brand’s representatives confirmed to CarsGuide that the Juke, Patrol, Navara, and Leaf were all being affected by the ongoing parts shortages issues plaguing the entire industry, but said much of this would be variant-based, and concerned buyers or those already on a waiting list should speak with their dealer for more accurate wait times.

Nissan dealers ran out of stock of the outgoing Qashqai earlier this year, and the old Pathfinder sold out in early 2021. Stock of the outgoing X-Trail appears to be running low in Australia, too, and Nissan has also lost its halo GT-R sports car.

Some of Nissan's core offerings are being affected by stock issues. Some of Nissan's core offerings are being affected by stock issues.

The Juke is down a whopping 41.9 per cent year-on-year, and even its current best-seller, the 4x4 Navara, is down 16.9 per cent.

There’s light on the horizon for Nissan though, with representatives explaining that there were “very promising” pre-order numbers for the new-generation versions of the Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder, all of which are due to arrive in the last quarter of 2022.

Each car is expected to launch with purely combustion variants only - the brand’s innovative ‘ePower’ hybrid technology is not expected to join the line-up until later in 2023. Unlike most hybrid models, the ePower setup drives the wheels only with electric motors, using the combustion components as a generator.

One thing is clear: regardless of powertrain, expect Nissan’s new SUVs to set you back more than before.

The Qashqai, which is sized somewhere between a small and mid-size SUV will start from $33,890 before on-roads, a $3300 jump over the outgoing base model, although it's packed with more technology, and will launch with a new 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder engine producing 110kW/250Nm, paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Qashqai range tops out at $47,390, an $8300 increase on the outgoing car.

The entry-model X-Trail jumps by $6085 with the removal of a base manual variant, now starting from $36,750 before on-roads. Again, the X-Trail will come with a hike in standard equipment, and initial versions will be powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 135kW/244Nm. The X-Trail also drives the wheels via a CVT. The X-Trail range tops out at $52,990.

The Pathfinder, however, will continue to be powered by a big 3.5-litre V6 engine (202kW/340Nm) although it swaps out the maligned CVT for a nine-speed torque converter automatic transmission. It will cost from $54,190 before on-road costs in Australia, with the range now topping out at $77,890.

One of the biggest pieces of news from this month’s sales numbers is the huge boost in electric car sales, although Nissan had no update on the arrival timing of its important Ariya SUV, which is still earmarked for some time in 2023. 

The Ariya is yet to have an arrival date locked in for Australia, but is earmarked for some time in 2023. The Ariya is yet to have an arrival date locked in for Australia, but is earmarked for some time in 2023.

The Ariya won’t be an EV price-leader either, positioned above cars like the Volkswagen ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6 overseas. In the US market, for example, the Ariya starts from the equivalent of AUD$67,500 for a front-wheel drive standard range (347km) version, or $73,850 for the e-4ORCE all-wheel drive version.

Stay tuned as we keep an eye on Nissan’s launch plans in 2023.