Trevor Mann, Nissan’s Europe boss, says the second-generation Qashqai crossover will match the success of the original model, which consistently ranked as one of the region’s top 10 vehicles in sales.
Mann said in an interview that he expects Nissan to sell about 200,000 Qashqais a year in Europe, but consultancy IHS Automotive is skeptical. “We forecast the numbers will fall on competition and the roll out of the [Nissan] X-Trail,” IHS senior analyst Ian Fletcher said.
The new version of the bigger X-Trail SUV will offer a seven-seat configuration for the first time, replacing the discontinued seven-seat Qashqai+2.
In addition, the market for crossovers in Europe has expanded greatly since the first Qashqai arrived in 2007. Most of the new crossovers are smaller and less expensive than the Qashqai, such as the Renault Captur and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka.
Nissan has started serial production of the new Qashqai at its factory in Sunderland, northeast England. The new model, which updates the previous crossover’s understated SUV looks, is more fuel-efficient, roomier inside and slightly lower to the ground than the car it replaces.
The Qashqai also is the first Nissan to be built on the compact module family platform (CMF) shared with alliance partner Renault, according to a company statement. By 2020, the platform will underpin 11 Renaults and three Nissans, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the unveiling of the Qashqai last November. The other Nissans to use CMF are the new X-Trail compact SUV, due this summer, and Nissan’s yet-to-be-named compact hatchback that is scheduled to debut before the end of the year.
The success of the Qashqai – 1.2 million sales in seven years and a seventh-place finish overall in 2013 European car sales – has boosted the fortunes of Nissan’s Sunderland plant, where the model will be produced around the clock on three shifts. The plant also builds the Juke subcompact crossover, Note subcompact and Leaf EV.
Via Automotive News Europe