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Nissan Will Stay Out of Europe's Growing Minicar Segment

17 October 2015 - Automotive News

Nissan Will Stay Out of Europe's Growing Minicar Segment

Nissan has no plans to sell in Europe a minicar based on the Kwid, which has just been launched by alliance partner Renault in India.

The Japanese automaker is vying with Toyota for bragging rights as the best-selling Asian brand in Europe and an entry in the growing minicar segment would give Nissan a volume boost.

But Nissan Chief Performance Officer Trevor Mann said the company doesn’t think it can profitably sell a minicar in Europe.

"If you look at the volume and expected profit from these vehicles, I'm not convinced there’s a significant place for an A (minicar)-platform car in Europe," Mann told Automotive News Europe.

Mann said India would be a possible manufacturing location if Nissan decided to sell a minicar in Europe again.

Renault began sales of the Kwid in India last month. It is the first car built on the Renault-Nissan alliance’s low-cost CMF-A platform.

A Nissan spokesman said the Kwid was not engineered for sale in Europe.

Sales of minicars in Europe rose 7.4 percent to 632,010 in the first half, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics.

Nissan stopped importing the Pixo, based on the Suzuki Alto, into Europe from India two years ago. The Pixo went on sale in 2009 and Nissan touted its low emissions and cheap price, which started at 8,000 euros ($9,000). In the UK the Pixo was billed as the country’s cheapest car, selling at 5,995 pounds ($9,250).

Automakers typically share model development costs for minicars to save money. The Volkswagen Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo are essentially the same car, as are the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1.

Ford builds the Ka on the same platform as the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, but will go it alone on for the next model, which will be produced in India.

The Micra subcompact is the smallest car sold by Nissan in Europe. The Micra will be replaced next year by a new model built on Renault-Nissan’s new CMF-B platform.

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