LONDON – Nissan's bigger Micra hatchback will help to cover the product gap left after the automaker axes its Note minivan in Europe.
Nissan unveiled a new-generation Micra with greater emphasis on roominess and exterior design at the Paris auto show last week. The hatchback will be sold alongside the Juke subcompact SUV. Nissan will end European sales of the Note, its third offering in the subcompact segment, early next year.
Having three offerings in the small-car sector was distracting for buyers, said Nissan Europe's head of sales and marketing, Guillaume Cartier. "I use the image of the casino. If I bet on many squares I never win a lot. Now I'm betting on one square," he said at the Paris auto show.
The Micra has grown in size to become one of the biggest in the segment, Nissan said.
The striking angular design of the new car also helps Nissan to build its brand, something that the current Micra and Note were not achieving, Cartier said. "If we want to perform, let us focus on the core and make sure we invest to have the best-in-class car," he said. "The current Micra is more a mode of transportation than a passionate car."
The new Micra will be offered with safety technology such as lane-keeping assist, which Nissan said is a first in the segment. Engines include a 1.5-liter diesel unit and a 0.9-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline.
Cartier said the new Micra will cost more than the current car, without giving a price.
The latest Micra will be built for European markets at alliance partner Renault's factory in Flins, France. It will be the first Nissan model to be produced in one of Renault's French factories. The current Micra is imported into Europe from India.
Nissan will halt production of the Note at its factory in Sunderland, England, next spring as the new Micra rolls out across Europe.