Nissan is expecting its new compact hatchback to help it achieve a goal of capturing a 5-percent share of the European market by 2016. Nissan’s European vice president of product strategy and planning, Etienne Henry told Automotive News Europe said in an interview that to reach the 5-percent target share, the carmaker needs new successful models capable of attracting new customers.
The hatchback will help Nissan compete in a segment where it quit eight years ago when it stopped selling the Almera in Europe. Nissan disclosed that its European market share -- including Russia and Turkey – was between 3.9 percent and 4 percent last year and expects to boost that this year and eventually achieve a 5-percent share by the end of its fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
The new hatchback will mark Nissan's return to cutthroat compact segment since stopping western European production of the Almera. Instead of launching another hatchback in 2006, Nissan introduced the Qashqai compact crossover, which has become Nissan’s best-seller in Europe. Nissan sold around 1.5 million units of the first-generation Qashqai in Europe from 2007 until 2013.
The hatchback will be facing strong rivals like the Volkswagen Golf in a segment which volume topped 2.4 million in 2013. Nissan Europe chief Trevor Mann told Automotive News Europe that that with the new hatchback, Honda has a good product, adding that if the carmaker is to grow in Europe, it needs to make sure it has good coverage of the key segments.
Nissan is spending EUR130 million ($178 million) to add an annual capacity of 80,000 vehicles at its Barcelona site in Spain to build the hatchback. Mann remarked he is not worried that new hatchback would cannibalize on the sales of the second-generation Qashqai, which was rolled out earlier this year.
He noted that the Qashqai has “defied what's normal,” as the original sales target was 130,000 units annually but the reached 160,000 units in the first year have been building 300,000 units. Nissan will start selling the new hatchback Europe after unveiling it at the Paris auto show in October. [source: automotive news - sub. required]