LUCA CIFERRI

Is this really a different Note?

Luca Ciferri is Automotive News Europe's Editor.Luca Ciferri is Automotive News Europe's Editor.
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GENEVA -- When I saw the new Nissan Note today I asked myself: Am I at the right auto show? Is this really the all-new Note that Nissan said would be dramatically different from the first-generation car?

Nissan promised that the new Note would become a mainstream subcompact hatchback that rather than another small minivan.

The first-generation Nissan Note (shown here in 2011) was 1550mm tall and 4100mm long.

That Note, which launched in Europe in autumn 2005, was 1550mm tall and 4100mm long.

The new Note, which Nissan refers to as a hatchback, is 1535mm tall with an unchanged length of 4100mm.

Does reducing the height by a barely noticeable 15mm really put the Note into another segment?

The new Note that debuted in Geneva today is 15mm shorter than its predecessor and the same length.

Nissan's European sales and marketing boss, Paul Willcox, thinks so. "The new Note isn't just a direct replacement for the current Note, it's a completely different car with a completely different place in the market," he said in a statement prior to the Geneva show.

Regardless of what the marketing message is, there is no way the new Note can be classified as having a "completely different place in the market." The car has not changed enough to be considered a player in a new segment.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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