Europe boss predicts annual volume of 200,000; analyst disagrees

Nissan expects Qashqai to match predecessor's sales success

Europe boss predicts annual volume of 200,000; analyst disagrees

A new Qashqai is built every 61 seconds at Nissan's factory's in Sunderland, England.
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SUNDERLAND, England – Nissan's Europe boss, Trevor Mann, says the second-generation Qashqai crossover will match the success of the original model, which consistently ranked as one of the region's top 10 vehicles in sales.

Mann told Automotive News Europe in an interview that he expects Nissan to sell about 200,000 Qashqais a year in Europe.

Consultancy IHS Automotive is skeptical. "We forecast the numbers will fall on competition and the roll out of the [Nissan] X-Trail," IHS senior analyst Ian Fletcher said.

The new version of the bigger X-Trail SUV will offer a seven-seat configuration for the first time, replacing the discontinued seven-seat Qashqai+2.

In addition, the market for crossovers in Europe has expanded greatly since the first Qashqai arrived in 2007. Most of the new crossovers are smaller and less expensive than the Qashqai, such as the Renault Captur and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka. The Qashqai even faces competition from its small, cheaper sibling, the Juke.

IHS forecasts Qashqai sales in Europe will peak at 180,500 in 2015 and dip to 148,000 the following year.

Production begins

Nissan has started serial production of the new Qashqai at its factory in Sunderland, northeast England. The new model, which updates the previous crossover's understated SUV looks, is more fuel-efficient, roomier inside and slightly lower to the ground than the car it replaces.

The Qashqai also is the first Nissan to be built on the compact module family platform (CMF) shared with alliance partner Renault, the company said in a statement today.

By 2020, the platform will underpin 11 Renaults and three Nissans, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the unveiling of the Qashqai last November. The other Nissans to use CMF are the new X-Trail compact SUV, due this summer, and Nissan's yet-to-be-named compact hatchback that is scheduled to debut before the end of the year.

The success of the Qashqai – 1.2 million sales in seven years and a seventh-place finish overall in 2013 European car sales – has boosted the fortunes of Nissan's Sunderland plant, where the model will be produced around the clock on three shifts. The plant also builds the Juke subcompact crossover, Note subcompact and Leaf EV. Last year built more than 500,000 cars were built at the plant, 80 percent of which were exported, Nissan said.

In a statement UK Prime Minister David Cameron praised Nissan's 534 million pound (600 million euro) UK investment for the Qashqai. The Qashqai was also designed and engineered in the UK. Nissan will move some Qashqai production out of Sunderland in 2015 when it builds the car in Russia for the first time.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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