New details of the next generation Micra and related products have been revealed by a senior Nissan executive.
The supermini will go on sale across Europe from November, and according to Vincent Cobee, corporate vice-president in charge of the V-platform on which it’s built, will have a very high level of standard equipment.
“Micra has a very strong brand image and we want to continue that,” Cobee told just-auto during a media event in Thailand. “We want it to be a city car with a lots of hi-tech features that give the owner a safe and comfortable drive.”
Keyless entry, push-button start, and a unique parking space measuring system will all be on offer.
Cobee ruled out a three-door Micra. “We came to the conclusion these customers were just people who wanted to pay less. So we have simply made the car as competitive as it can be,” he said.
Another C+C [folding metal roof] convertible is also looking unlikely.
“It’s always a complex engineering development and an expensive one. We believed we had a good and competitive product, but we came two years later than others. That body type is only really associated with one product [Peugeot’s segment-leading 206CC and 207CC].”
Thailand isone of four countries – China, Mexico and India are the others – where the fourth generation version of the popular supermini, called March in Japan, is being built.
Nissan will develop three cars on the V-platform, including the Micra. The others will be a 4.4 metre saloon that’s not for western Europe and a new compact MPV to replace the current Note.
Nissan is expecting sales of 300,000-400,000 a year of each, a million units in total. In the UK, the Micra will be priced from around GBP9,500 (US$14,600; EUR11,100), keeping it clear of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. A four-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating is likely.
The V-platform was developed by Nissan rather than the Renault-Nissan alliance. But Cobee said it was available for the French to use.
“I know they are considering it for a certain vehicle but that’s for Renault to announce,” he explained. The recent announcement that the next generation Twingo will be developed with Daimler and rear-engined means it’s not that car. It’s also not an EV, as the chassis hasn’t been designed to take an electric powertrain.
Cobee also answered criticism of the new Micra’s conservative design, saying it had to appeal to buyers in 160 countries.
“There are many opinions about styling and people are entitled to them. But this car is deliberately simple as an interpretation of modernity. People have seen Juke and Cube and have the opinion that Nissan is designing some very interesting cars, so I understand that this car comes as a surprise. But it’s a car that’s made for stress-free city driving, for people who enjoy responsible purchasing. People can say that’s it’s less edgy, but we believe it’s a very sustainable design.”