Nissan’s ‘Doing A Ford’, Gets Out Of The Passenger Car Game – Only In Europe

Nissan is the latest automaker to be switching away from passenger cars and towards SUVs – though not in North America, like Ford did, but in Europe and Russia.

According to Automotive News Europe, the Japanese automaker is discontinuing the Pulsar hatchback in European markets and the Almera sedan in Russia. The company cites “a rapidly increasing switch by European customers from traditional vehicle segments to crossovers,” upon which it will now rely more heavily in those markets.

Nissan launched the Pulsar in 2014 as a rival to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. ANE reports that the manufacturer sold just over 25,000 of them across Europe last year – far from its annual goal of 64,000 units.

Likewise, the Almera launched in Russia in 2013 and was once Nissan’s best seller, but has since dropped in the rankings to also-ran status, which made the decision of dropping it quite easy for Nissan’s execs.

Having already withdrawn the Pulsar from the UK market, its cancelation across Europe leaves the smaller Micra hatchback, the Leaf EV and the 370Z and GT-R as Nissan’s only non-SUV or crossover passenger cars in the market. The case is even more blatant in Russia, where the GT-R is surrounded by a field of crossovers.

It’s quite a different story in North America, however, where Nissan appears to be taking advantage of Ford and FCA largely departing from the passenger-car market. Here it offers the Versa Note hatchback and the Versa, Sentra, Altima and Maxima sedans, in addition to the Leaf, 370Z, and GT-R. Moreover, its lineup includes the Kicks, Rogue Sport, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder and Armada crossovers, the Frontier, Titan and Titan XD pickups, and the NV200 and full-size NV vans.

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  • ▶️ ProtectOurHeritage ◀️

    The Pulsar hardly pulses racing. It had to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Honda Civic. The styling looks so dated, even when it was launched, that it didn’t stand a chance. How could a large manufacturer get it so wrong?

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      The Almera preceeding it was its blueprint.

      • ▶️ ProtectOurHeritage ◀️

        You’d have thought they would have learnt their lesson.

  • jfalckt

    Blimey, Nissan saw the future too? It really is a case of change or die

  • jfalckt

    Crossovers are the last hurrah of our current automotive manufacturers, consumers desire/want them, but legislation and increasing autonomy will put the nail in that coffin very quickly. Us humans need to adapt, fast, embrace it also, it’s not the end, just a little bit of a different way around the corner.

  • Able

    Nissan products are absolute trash, and the sheer arrogance of Ghosn makes them even worse. They’re so bad that here in Australia, Nissan doesn’t sell a passenger car – every model here is an SUV (+ the Z and GT-R) because nobody bought the passenger cars when they were sold here (Pulsar/Sentra, Almera/Versa, Altima/Teana, etc). The only relatively okay car the brand makes is the Qashqai, but even that is let down by a rubbish 2.0-litre engine and awful CVT automatic transmission.

  • Nissan’s decision to stick to an all-crossover is wise IMHO since their cars have been uncompetitive anyway.

  • Price of success

    Suppose it’s not that unexpected, Nissan did genuinely get in early on this current European-market cycle – it has been 12yrs of Qashqai success and two decades of R&D starvation for their European-market cars (except GT-R and Leaf).

  • YUDHA BAGASKARA

    pulsar is already dead from its launch

  • erly5

    Nissan were the first to abandon this segment (and the one above) in the UK when the Qashqai was originally introduced by dropping the Primera and Almera. Their decision to re-enter the small hatchback market was understandable but to do so with such a lacklustre product as the Pulsar was bewildering. Even more bewildering was the embarrassing hype from Andy Palmer at the time of the Pulsar’s launch that it would challenge the class leaders on looks, driving ability and quality. Not in the least surprised at this announcement.

  • Vassilis

    The Micra is pretty cool. I hope they don’t touch it.

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