Nissan has revealed the unveiling date for its delayed new-generation Qashqai compact SUV, the automaker's best-selling model in Europe.
Final preparations are well underway for the introduction of the third-generation Qashqai next spring, ahead of its sales launch later in 2021, Nissan said in a statement on Friday.
The replacement for the current Qashqai, which has been on sale since 2014, was due to be unveiled in September but reports at the time said Nissan had delayed its production start by six months, largely due to setbacks caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
The future of the Qashqai had been subject to speculation after Nissan cast doubt on the future of the model’s production plant in Sunderland, England, because of the UK’s uncertain Brexit plans.
Nissan had confirmed the model for Sunderland in 2016 but had warned it could reverse the decision if tariffs were imposed on exports from the UK to the European Union. Nissan said in June this year that the plant would be "unsustainable" if Britain leaves the EU's single market without a trade deal.
On Friday, Nissan confirmed that the new Qashqai would be available with the company's E-power hybrid drivetrain that has proved popular in Japan. The technology reduces fuel consumption by using a small gasoline engine to act as a range extender to charge a battery.
The Qashqai E-power model will have a power output of 188 hp, Nissan said, without revealing more details of the drivetrain.
The E-power version of the Nissan Kicks small SUV that was recently launched in Japan uses a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine, but the Qashqai could use a bigger engine.
The addition of the hybrid would give Nissan greater ability to fight back against key rival Toyota. About 90 percent of European sales of Toyota’s CH-R compact SUV are hybrid versions.
The Qashqai was once Europe's top-selling compact SUV. Last year the spot went to the Volkswagen Tiguan, according to Automotive News Europe's analysis of segments. Qashqai sales in Europe fell 40 percent to 99,532 units in the first nine months, figures from JATO Dynamics market researchers show. VW Tiguan sales fell 33 percent to 133,044.