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Nis­san De­sign Europe boss Mamoru Aoki re­vealed more about the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process at Nis­san Lon­don that led to the launch of the ground­break­ing Qashqai.

Back in 2002, Nis­san had fi­nalised a con­ven­tional re­place­ment for the Almera hatch­back. Nis­san supremo Car­los Ghosn de­clared the pro­posal a good fit for the Euro­pean mar­ket.

But at the same time, the Nis­san Mu­rano had just been launched in the US to a re­sound­ing re­sponse. It was Nis­san’s first proper crossover and based on an up­mar­ket car plat­form. The im­pact made by the Mu­rano led di­rectly to Nis­san’s Lon­don stu­dio start­ing work on a C-seg­ment crossover con­cept for Europe.

As Aoki pointed out, Nis­san had a very strong rep­u­ta­tion for 4x4s and the Euro­pean C-seg­ment hatch­back mar­ket was – and is – ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive. It is this risk-tak­ing ap­proach to con­ven­tional wis­dom that, Aoki thinks, will en­able the pro­duc­tion IMX to spring open an en­tirely new seg­ment.

Mu­rano showed how a crossover could suc­ceed

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