Nissan has big plans to expand its SUV line-up into the 2020s, building on its major successes with the Qashqai and Juke. And the first additional model will be revealed in just a few weeks’ time in a segment many see as the potential next big sweet spot in certain key markets.
This might be a report which concentrates on Nissan Motor but a certain Renault model must firstly be acknowledged as the Japanese company’s next chance to expand its footprint in crossovers. The Renault in question is the Kwid, a car which for the moment is built only in India. There, it recently did the unthinkable, by outselling every Hyundai model during the month of March, grabbing fifth place in the process. If you have the right product, slick marketing and keen pricing there are clearly big opportunities for relative newcomer brands.
Now the Alliance is to add a reskinned Kwid for Datsun, the production version of the i2 project, seen two years ago at the Delhi show as the redi-GO concept. The little Datsun will be manufactured on the same line at the RNAIPL plant in Oragadam as the Kwid. Both these models use the low cost CMF-A architecture. Depending on how well the i2/redi-GO sells, Nissan is reported to be considering another crossover for Datsun, but not for a few years yet.
Before we examine the global B segment, it’s worth remembering that Nissan and Mitsubishi are partners in the NMKV joint venture for Kei class models. Thus far, only five-door hatchbacks and tiny people movers have been the resultant products but it’s only a matter of time until a crossover or SUV appears. These would join today’s Mitsubishi eK Wagon/Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi ek Custom/Nissan Dayz Highway Star, replacements for which are due in 2019. These all use a common NMKV architecture as would the small SUVs.
The wildly successful Juke is now in its last 12 months of life. The replacement will look even more like a concept car than the original and it has to, now that Toyota has the similarly sized and even more oddball C-HR on the launchpad. Juke II will be mainly manufactured at Oppama and Sunderland. It will use CMF-B.
Nissan has a clever idea up its sleeve, which is to expand the strategy of offering buyers the choice of an SUV or crossover in the larger C segment, down to the Juke’s class. The company believes that it won’t ever see the big numbers that the Micra used to sell in from the next model (due out later this year) but that’s fine. Buyers will instead be tempted away from other brands with the choice of the Micra, Note, Juke and possibly an additional B-SUV. This might use the Sway model name and it would share a lot with Brazil’s imminent Kicks, which is to be revealed this May.
There is currently a capacity issue with Sunderland but it seems likely that the Note will be phased out of production there possibly as soon as 2018. Should the second generation Leaf and its Leaf Cross derivative be made in England’s northeast, then this almost guarantees that the Note is for the axe; unless of course the plant is expanded once more. The crossover version of the new Leaf should have a range of 350km or more, sources claim, with even the standard car’s batteries said to be rising in capacity towards 300km.
As the W32S Qashqai and W32R X-Trail/Rogue were only released in 2013, these will not be replaced until 2019/2020. An updated CMF-C/D architecture is to be the backbone of both and there will likely be a low-roof ‘Qashcoupe’ added to the mix to take on Volkswagen’s future Tiguan CC.
One size up, the P42M Murano continues to sell well in North America but there are no plans to reintroduce the model to Europe, a region where the old shape Murano failed badly due to its lack of four-cylinder diesel power. Despite its recent launch (2014), it uses the aged Nissan D platform but come 2020, the fourth generation model shifts to the refreshed CMF-C/D. The similarly sized P42K Pathfinder SUV is due to be replaced in 2019 or 2020. Smyrna in the US would be the most likely main production hub but St Petersburg should be another build location. Like its Ford Explorer and Toyota Kluger/Highlander rival, the next Pathfinder will stay a monocoque design.
At the top of the tree, we find Nissan’s sole ladder frame SUV, the Patrol and its new US market twin, the Armada. These are built in Japan by Nissan Shatai, though there is also some assembly in Nigeria, and the current shape Y62 series models should remain in production until 2020. The older generation model, which dates from 1995, is also still built at the same Kyushu plant. It should be phased out towards the end of the decade. Both will be succeeded by a new body-on-frame model which should feature a lot of aluminium and also form the basis for the follow up to the Infiniti QX80.
Likely future Nissan crossover/SUV global range, smallest to largest:
- redi-GO (codename: i2), CMF-A, Start of Production (SoP) May 2016, Oragadam (India)
- small SUV (Suzuki Hustler rival) for Japan, NMKV1, 2017, Mizushima (MMC plant, Japan)
- Kicks, Alliance V, SOP June 2016, Resende (Brazil)
- Sway, to be confirmed, CMF-B, 2018, Sunderland (England)
- Juke 2, CMF-B, 2017, Sunderland (England) & Oppama (Japan)
- Leaf Cross, CMF-B, 2017, Oppama, Sunderland (TBC) & Smyrna (USA)
- Rogue/X-Trail, CMF-C/D Evo, 2017, Kyushu (Japan), Smyrna, Bangna Trad (Thailand), Dalian & Huada (China), St Petersburg (Russia), Busan (Korea)
- Qashqai, CMF-C/D Evo, 2020, Sunderland, Dalian, St Petersburg
- Qashqai Coupe, to be confirmed, CMF-C/D, 2019, Sunderland
- Murano, CMF-C/D Evo, 2021, Canton (USA), Xiangyang (China), St Petersburg
- Patrol/Armada, Patrol 8 platform, 2020, Kyushu