Nissan to offer the Qashqai in the United States as a smaller Rogue

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 17, 2015

Nissan responds to the increasing demand for the Rogue in the U.S. by tapping its Japanese plants to add 100,000 units to its annual output starting next year. This gives Nissan the capacity to sell more than 300,000 units of the compact crossovers in the U.S., which is slightly higher than half of what it sold only a couple of years ago. Sources also revealed other changes to the Rogue lineup.

They said that a hybrid version will be introduced in 2016. Meanwhile, the European Qashqai crossover will be sold in the U.S. as a more compact and more frugal version of the Rogue. Nissan will drop the cheaper Rogue Select. The European Qashqai has many similarities with the Rogue and is built on the same architecture but it is shorter than the American Rogue by 10 inches.

Its wheelbase is also 2 inches shorter. The Qashqai has a smaller rear cargo space than the Rogue but its rear design is more stylish. It’s not clear what powertrain will be used by the U.S. Qashqai. But a British car-buying website revealed that Nissan's European business unit had newly given the Qashqai a 1.6-liter gasoline engine that produces about 53 U.S. mpg.

Nissan has yet to comment on its product plans for the foreseeable future. There is a downside to making changes to Nissan’s factory in Kyushu, Japan, to cope with the increasing demand in the U.S. for the Rogue. Kyushu will have to stop production of the Rogue Select.

This is the lower-priced "previous generation" Rogue that is offered to customers as an alternative. With a base price of $21,010, the Rogue Select costs $2,195 lower than the 2015 base model Rogue. Sources said that the Qashqai version of the crossover will replace the market spot vacated by the Select.

In June 2015, Nissan sold 54% more Rogues (at 23,243 units) compared to the same month last year. During the first half of 2015, Rogue sales have gone up by 36% to 135,397. Fred Diaz, Nissan senior vice president for U.S. sales and marketing and operations, said that Rogue sales “haven't hit the ceiling yet.”

He believes that there’s more opportunity if the dealers get more units. Adding 100,000 to Rogue output at Kyushu is a solution on top of Nissan’s Smyrna, Tenn. factory’s plan to roll out more than 150,000 units annually.

A Renault factory in South Korea will produce up to 80,000 more units. It can be recalled that when Nissan made a decision to shift production to the U.S. in 2011, it predicted that a factory capacity of 100,000-120,000 units annually would be enough.

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