Kicks is rapidly becoming a major global model

Kicks is rapidly becoming a major global model

The first of three features examining current and future Nissan brand models, took an in-depth look at passenger cars. The second now examines crossovers, SUVs and pick-ups. The final instalment, to be published on 28 April, will focus on MPVs/minivans, Hybrids, EVs and PHEVs.

Crossovers & SUVs

P12C, the Juke, is a 4,135mm long B-SUV. This 4,135mm long crossover was previewed by the Qazana concept at the Geneva show in March 2009. The production model followed at the Geneva show in March 2010. Its first facelift premiered at the 2014 Geneva show.

This model took over from the Micra at Nissan's UK plant, build starting there in August 2010. At Sunderland, the Juke is built on Line 2, with the Nissan Leaf joining it on that line from early 2013.

The Juke uses a lighter, re-engineered version of the third and fourth generation March/Micra platform, renamed 'Renault-Nissan Alliance A'. The third generation Nissan Cube also uses this architecture. Indeed, the Qazana concept's wheelbase was identical to that of the Cube, as is that of the Juke.

The car went on sale first in Japan (June 2010). There, it is built at the Oppama plant on the same line as the Cube. With the exception of Indonesia, where Juke assembly started in late 2011, cars for Japan/Asia and North America are made at Oppama.

Nissan Europe started selling the UK-built Juke in September 2010. Japan-built cars for the USA followed one month later. Nissan does not sell the Juke in China but instead there is an Infiniti version of the car for that market only. This is the ESQ.

A second generation Juke should have its world premiere at the Frankfurt IAA in September, with production commencing from the fourth quarter. The logical architecture would be Alliance CMF-B. 

According to a September 2013 just-auto.com news report, Nissan would build a small SUV in Brazil at its Resende (ree-ZENdee) plant. The Kicks model name was confirmed in January 2016 - the company showed a concept with this badge at the São Paulo motor show in 2014. Two years earlier it had revealed the similarly sized EXTREM, another design study for a B segment SUV.

The 4.3m long Kicks, which was announced and revealed to the media in May 2016, is a rival for the Ford EcoSport, Renault Kaptur and others in the B-SUV segment. The first plant to build it was Aguascalientes in Mexico, with Resende added earlier this April. China's Dongfeng Nissan joint venture will also begin manufacturing the Kicks from later in 2017 and it should be built in India beginning in May 2018. The Kicks is restricted mainly to modest income markets.

Sales began first in Brazil in August 2016, followed by Mexico, and Latin American left-hand drive markets later in fiscal year 2016 and then countries in the Persian Gulf. Ultimately, it will be introduced in more than 80 countries. Nissan is expected to start exporting the Kicks from Mexico to the US and Canada for the 2018 model year.

The Kicks should have a facelift in 2020. The second generation model is due in 2023 or 2024. It should have the Alliance V platform of the current Kicks replaced by the more modern CMF-B. This was introduced earlier in 2017 by the Nissan Micra.

The Terrano is another small or compact SUV. A restyled Renault/Dacia Duster, it was launched in India and Russia, its main markets, from October 2012. Terrano build takes place solely in India. This is alongside the Duster at the Alliance's Oragadam plant. A facelifted version went on sale during March 2017.

As the Terrano has been a slow seller, it is not expected to be directly replaced. Production should be wound up during 2019.

There are two models in the C/Compact segment, with one of them, the Rogue, being hugely successful in the USA. Firstly though, the smaller of the two, which is sold as the Qashqai in Europe and most other regions. It is, however about to be added to the line-up in the USA, where it will be sold as the Rogue Sport, a smaller and cheaper model than the Rogue.

In June 2011, Nissan announced that its Sunderland plant in the northeast of England would be the main global production location for the second generation Qashqai. The vehicle was designed and engineered in England.

In April 2012, Nissan stated that the next Qashqai for the Russian market would be made at its St Petersburg plant: Sunderland in the UK was the source of build of first generation Qashqais for Russia.

Series production of the second generation Qashqai at the Sunderland plant (Line 1) commenced in December 2013. The car's motor show debut was in Brussels in January 2014. It was launched across Europe in Q1, 2014.

Chinese production commenced in October 2015. This is part of the Dongfeng Nissan joint venture and takes place at DFL's Dalian plant.

The Qashqai for North America is built in Japan at a Fukuoka prefecture plant. This, the 2017 Rogue Sport had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January 2017, going on sale in the USA four months later.

As NNA calls the car the 2017 Rogue Sport, a facelifted version will appear for North America's 2018 model year. This is logical given that a facelifted Qashqai had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March.

Nissan Canada chooses to use the Qashqai model name rather than Rogue Sport. The vehicle is also new for that country's 2017 model year from May.

In March 2016, Nissan Europe revealed plans to raise production at the Sunderland plant from 2017. This was done by modifying Line 2 at the plant.

The third generation Qashqai/second generation Rogue Sport is due for release from the third or fourth quarter of 2020. It should use an evolution of the current model's architecture, which is CMF-C/D. Nissan confirmed in October 2016 that it would build the next Qashqai at Sunderland, along with the future X-Trail. Other plants which make the current Qashqai/Rogue Sport should also switch over to the new model in late 2020 or during 2021.

W32R, the replacement for the X-Trail and the second generation Rogue, were folded into one project. The X-Trail was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013, with North America's 2014 Rogue simultaneously shown to the media in the US on the same day.

Nissan stated in 2013 that nine plants would eventually build these models. Japan was the first market: sales commenced there in December 2013 with a 2.0-litre petrol engine fitted as standard. The home market is supplied by the Nissan Motor Kyushu plant. Western Europe is also supplied by Kyushu: sales commenced in July 2014. In March 2014, Nissan Europe revealed plans to build the X-Trail in Russia from 2015. In fact, build began there in December 2014. Nissan has a capacity of 100,000 vehicles per annum at St Petersburg, having spent the equivalent of 167m euro during 2013 and 2014 to double the factory's capacity.

Production for North America would switch from Japan to the US, Nissan announced in January 2011. In June 2013, Nissan said Rogue production would commence 'in the fall'. This was then confirmed as November (2013). The standard engine in the Rogue is a 170hp 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit. A CVT is also standard. Unlike the first generation model, the current Rogue is available with up to seven seats. It is now Nissan North America's best selling vehicle, having overtaken the Altima.

Meanwhile, the X-Trail went on sale in China in February 2014, having entered production at Dongfeng Nissan's Huadu plant during the previous month. A second Chinese factory added production in October 2014. In June 2012, Nissan had announced plans for this new facility in the north eastern city of Dalian.

In July 2012, Renault revealed that Renault Samsung Motors would also build the Rogue replacement. Production at RSM's Busan plant in South Korea commenced in September 2014, with the first exports to the US following later that month. Busan has an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year of which 80,000 is for the Rogue. In October 2012, South Korea's steel major Posco said it would supply RSM with steel plates to be used for Nissan's then next generation Rogue SUV.

One of Nissan Motor's Thai plants near Bangkok added production of the current X-Trail in November 2014. The model was added to a second Japanese plant during 2016: Kyushu.

The current Rogue was the first model from Nissan Motor to use the Renault-Nissan Alliance's Common Module Family architecture. CMF consists of four variable modules - engine compartment, cockpit, front underbody and rear underbody.

Therefore, Renault's statement added, "CMF is not a platform; it can involve several platforms. A platform is a horizontal segmentation; a CMF is a cross-sector concept".

The Rogue had a facelift for North America's 2017 model year. The revised model had its world debut at September 2016's Miami auto show. This revised model then went into production at one of Nissan China's JV plants earlier in April. In 2016, the PRC was the X-Trail/Rogue's second largest market after the USA with some 180,000 units of the model sold in China.

The next generation of the Rogue/X-Trail should use an update of the CMF C/D architecture upon which the current models are based. These SUVs will again be manufactured in multiple plants, with Sunderland in England being confirmed as one of them in October 2016. This will be the first time that any generation of X-Trail has been manufactured there. Production is due to start in late 2019.

As the US was easily the world's largest market for the previous generation Murano, it came as no surprise when Nissan North America stated in January 2013 that its Canton plant in Mississippi would build the replacement model. Formerly, cars for North America were sourced from the Kyushu plant in Japan. Production of this crossover commenced in November 2014 and the plant also exports to over a hundred countries.

Nissan assembled the previous Murano in Russia, and in China too, via a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor. The China-made model was not a strong seller but nonetheless the replacement model is also made locally. Production commenced in August 2015 but Dongfeng Nissan dropped the price for the new generation model in an attempt to boost sales. 

In March 2014, Nissan Europe revealed plans to build the then next Murano in Russia from 2015. Due to the economic crisis, production did not get underway until June 2016. Both 3.5-litre V6 and hybrid variants are made at the St Petersburg plant.

The fourth generation Murano is due out next year. It should again use a FWD/AWD platform. That is likely to mean the current Nissan D architecture will be replaced by CMF-C/D.

The P42K series Pathfinder was announced by Nissan North America in July 2012. The twin of the Infiniti QX60 (formerly the Infiniti JX), the Pathfinder was new for North America's 2013 model year. It is a rival for the Ford Explorer, Honda Piilot and Toyota Highlander.

Unlike the previous Pathfinder, which had a separate chassis and a latter frame, the current one is a unibody design. It is also front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, whereas the old model was rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.

The only engine for the current Pathfinder in North America is a 3.5-litre V6, whereas the former model could be ordered with a 5.6-litre V8.

Nissan revealed its Russian-made Pathfinder (and Pathfinder Hybrid - see below) at the Moscow motor show in August 2014.

A facelift was announced by Nissan North America in July 2016. This was the main news for the region's 2017 model year Pathfinder, along with a revised 3.5-litre V6 which gained 24hp (now 284hp). No major changes are expected between now and 2020 when the replacement model is due to appear. This should have CMF-C/D as its basis.

Y62, the seventh generation Patrol, was unveiled at the Abu Dhabi motor show in February 2010. It is a rebodying of Y61, the previous generation model, so has a ladder frame chassis.

Nissan North America's powertrain plant in Decherd, Tennessee exports engines to Japan for installation in the Patrol at Nissan Shatai's Kyushu factory. The closely related Infiniti QX80 is also built in this plant. Neither vehicle is available in the country where they are made. Previous generations of this big 4x4 had been sold in Japan as the Nissan Safari.

Unlike its rival the Toyota Land Cruiser, the big Nissan isn't available in Europe. Instead, it mainly sold mainly in the Middle East, Russia, China and, since January 2013, Australia.

Nissan's local partner, Stallion Group, would begin building vehicles in Nigeria from 2014, the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced in October 2013. Stallion already produced commercial vehicles at a plant in Lagos. The same facility has had its annual capacity expanded to 45,000 units. It would assemble a range of cars, light duty trucks, pick-ups and vans, according to the October 2013 statement from the Renault-Nissan Alliance. 

Initial assembly of the Patrol commenced in April 2014, with ramp up taking until August, by which time NP200 and Almera assembly at the same plant had commenced. Stallion, a Dubai-based firm, also assembles vehicles in Lagos for Volkswagen.

Nissan North America introduced the Patrol for the region's 2017 model year, but the model name is Armada. The old-shape Armada went out of production at the end of the 2015 model year and so there was a gap during the first part of CY2016 when Nissan did not offer an Armada. 

The 2017 Armada premiered at the Chicago auto show in February 2016. It is powered by a 390hp 5.6-litre V8 linked to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. NNA began selling the 2017 Armada in July 2016.

A V6 became available in the Patrol in Middle Eastern markets from September 2016. The 4.0-litre engine has outputs of 275 horsepower and 394 Nm.

Production of the long-lived Y61 series Patrol finally ended in December 2016. 

The Y63 Patrol/Armada is due to be introduced in 2020 and will likely use a new separate chassis platform. Logically, this will be shared with the next Infiniti QX80 and Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero/Shogun.

Pick-ups

The current shape of Nissan's mid-sized pick-up is known by various names. The model was revealed as the NP300 Navara at an event in Japan in June 2014. It was initially being built at a plant near Bangkok: the previous model was built in the same country by Mitsubishi Motors at its Laem Chabang plant. Samutprakarn had an initial capacity of 75,000 units per annum but moved to 150,000 upa during 2015. The standard engine in many markets is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder Renault-Nissan Alliance diesel. Its codename is YS23.

There is a Renault version of the Navara, with an NP300-based pick-up for Mercedes-Benz to follow. This was announced in April 2015. An investment of US$600 million was made at Renault's assembly plant in Argentina, converting it to full manufacturing. The company says it will build pick-up trucks in Renault's industrial complex in Córdoba, on a dedicated pick-up assembly line. The new line will be capable of producing 70,000 pick-ups per year. The first vehicle to be assembled will be what Nissan's April 2015 media release termed "the all-new NP300 Frontier by 2018".

In January 2015, Nissan announced that it would build 50,000 units a year of the NP300 Frontier at one of its Mexican plants. These vehicles are for Mexico and other markets in the Americas. The US and Canada, however, do not (yet) receive this model. It should replace the old shape Frontier there for the 2018 model year. The Frontier sold in the US and Canada dates to 2004. In fact, this vehicle is also available in Mexico as a cheaper alternative to the Frontier and is badged 'Frontier Pro-4X' there.

Nissan Europe's NP300 Navara had its public debut at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2015. The division noted something unusual about the model in its media information: the Double Cab has a five-link rear suspension, which is claimed to be 20kg lighter than the previous leaf spring layout. However, the King Cab features "a substantially updated version of the leaf spring design fitted to the previous generation model". This is said be 7kg lighter and allows "a 3.1 per cent improvement in rear wheel approach angle and delivers a reduction in road noise". The engines for European markets are 118- and 140kW versions of the Alliance's 2.3-litre DCi four-cylinder diesel. The higher output unit has two turbochargers. Both RWD and 4WD variants are available, as are six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions.

The Navara will also be manufactured by the Zhengzhou Nissan joint venture. Nissan made this announcement in conjunction with displaying the truck at Auto Shanghai 2017 earlier in April.

There should be a facelift for the Navara/NP300 Frontier in 2018, with the next Frontier/Navara/NP300 due for release in 2023. It should use an evolution of the current model's platform. Following the May 2016 announcement of Nissan Motor becoming the largest shareholder of Mitsubishi Motors, the Navara will donate its platform for the next generation Mitsubishi L200/Triton.

The Titan, a large pick-up, is, like its rival the Toyota Tundra, sold mostly in North America. The second generation model entered series production in November 2015 for North America's 2016 model year.

The 2016 Titan XD was the first variant to be revealed. Its Cummins diesel engine produces 310hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. NNA gave out no further information on the 2016 Titan at the 2015 Detroit show. The XD is in a segment that NNA sees between the traditional 1500 and 2500 classes (half ton and three quarter ton). The first deliveries in North America took place in December 2015.

Gasoline-engined Titans would not go on sale until the second quarter of 2016, Nissan revealed in August 2015. These trucks premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2016. They are powered by what was a new 5.6-litre Endurance V8. It produces 390hp, whereas the old unit of the same capacity had an output of 317hp. The Titan 5.6 and Titan XD 5.6 have a standard seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Nissan announced further details concerning the half-ton Titan in February 2016. New for North America's 2017 model year, it is aimed at the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.  There are single cab, king cab, and crew cab bodies, and 5.5-, 6.5-, and 8-feet bed lengths. While the Titan and Titan XD look similar, the Titan Crew Cab is for example 14.7 inches shorter than the Titan XD Crew Cab and has an 11.8 inch shorter wheelbase. The 2017 Titan went on sale across North America in summer 2016. Single Cab variants did not become available until October 2016.

King Cab trucks debuted at the Chicago auto show in February 2017, new for the 2017 model year in Titan and Titan XD forms.

A facelift is due for the 2021 model year, to be followed by a third generation model in 2024. This truck should have a new platform.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as model codenames, are available in PLDB from QUBE.

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