Healthy pulse of peo­ple power

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­

IT’S easy to get daz­zled at a mo­tor show. I ad­mit to los­ing fo­cus as I fronted up to the fan favourites at the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show: the wicked As­ton Martin One-77, the lat­est Lam­borgh­ini Gallardo and the bold new Jaguar F-Type.

With the ac­tion over for an­other year, I pon­dered my pick for best in show. The Ford Evos con­cept car with four gull­wing doors? The Lexus con­cept with the gi­ant grille? The green-power Holden Volt?

No, no and no. My car of the 2012 show is the Nis­san Pul­sar.

It may be only a hum­ble lit­tle hatch but it’s the proof that Nis­san is fi­nally back on track in Aus­tralia and plan­ning to push hard and re­ward cus­tomers with a wide spread of new­com­ers, start­ing with the Pul­sar but also in­clud­ing the funky Juke and hulk­ing Pa­trol. Go back a few years. Nis­san ran off the small-car rails when it dumped the Pul­sar in favour of the ... let’s say ... un­der­whelm­ing Ti­ida, priced far too high for Aus­tralians, who see $20,000 as the cut-off for af­ford­able small cars.

Ja­panese man­age­ment had de­cided the Ti­ida was all we needed, de­spite its de­vel­op­ment as a cut-price Asian car, and it was also fine to walk away from one of the most pop­u­lar badges in the busi­ness.

Nis­san pro­moted the Ti­ida name as ‘‘ like the tide wash­ing a beach’’, a fairy­tale even­tu­ally de­nied by a Nis­san trump who said it was a made-up name.

Cars­guide went on the at­tack and a posse of Nis­san deal­ers headed to Ja­pan to plead for san­ity. But the Ti­ida stayed and Nis­san sales slumped.

Then head of Nis­san Aus­tralia Dan Thomp­son knew what was needed and promised the Pul­sar would be back in 2012. He lob­bied hard for the re­turn of the name and the car; now mar­ket­ing fire­brand Bill Pef­fer is run­ning with his legacy.

For the past five years, a lot of Aus­tralians have been miss­ing an af­ford­able Pul­sar (with a sporty SSS vari­ant). Now they can get what they want, in­stead of what Nis­san tells them they need, as peo­ple power scores an­other big win.

Nis­san Pul­sar

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