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Having already withdrawn the Pulsar from the UK market, its cancelation across Europe leaves the smaller Micra hatchback, the Leaf EV and the 370Z and GT-R as Nissan’s only non-SUV or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.