‘Quality over quantity’ for Nissan
AGEING models and slim margins have led to the demise of the Nissan Micra, Pulsar hatch and diesel Y61 Patrol in Australia.
The brand will do without the light car, small hatch and SUV for 18 to 24 months once existing stocks run out later this year.
Nissan Australia boss Richard Emery says the move is an extension of his “quality over quantity” approach to the business since taking on the top job in 2014.
The decision to drop the Y61 Patrol wagon and crew-cab and the Micra is largely based on their age and the need to upgrade the engines to meet Euro 5 emissions if they were to continue to be sold locally after November 1.
The axeing of the Pulsar hatch range reflects the competition within the smallcar market. In a segment where hatches are the dominant sellers, Nissan says only 45 per cent of its Pulsar sales are fivedoors.
Emery says the business case merited killing off the underperforming models “though I have no doubt some of our rural dealers will have a tear in their eyes over the Y61”.
He says the short-term focus is to offset the projected loss of 6000 sales by improving sales of its Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder SUVs.
“We don’t need extra models in the market, we need to do a better job with the ones we’ve got,” he says.
Emery cites rising Pathfinder sales and a backlog of orders for Y62 petrol Patrols as examples of how and where the brand can grow.
“I’ve said before I thought the Y62 was priced arrogantly (when it launched in 2013) … we did a disservice to that car. When we repositioned it (trimming $23,000 from the price), it took off and now we’re having problems getting enough.
“Four years ago we were selling 250 Pathfinders a month and I was having to spend on promotions and incentives to do it. Now Pathfinder is up around 500 a month.”
Emery is still keen to sell Nismo performance models but says global demand for the go-fast Nissans means the factory needs time to transition from being a race and component supply outfit to be a major car maker.
“Nismo could be here as quickly as six to nine months or as long as 15,” he says.
The intention is to sell NSport (“wings and wheels versions”) and Nismo versions of the remaining range.
On the way out: Pulsar hatch (left), Micra (above) and diesel Patrol