Nissan plans two small-car families

* Micra and Note on new V platform * Cube and Juke on B platform * Micra range is reduced...

Nissan plans two small-car families

Nissan plans to have two distinct ranges of small cars in future, based on two platforms and built in different areas of the world.

The new Micra, due in the UK in November, and a 2012 replacement for the Note will be created from the company's new V platform and built in emerging markets. There will also be a small four-door saloon for sale outside Europe.

Fewer versions of the Micra
This change of tactic means there will be a more restricted choice of Micras in future. There will be no three-door version, nor a replacement for the convertible Micra C+C.

'The C+C was expensive for us and its result in the market has not been fantastic,' says Vincent Cobee, the new Micra project director. 'The three-door was bought purely by people who wanted to pay less, not because they wanted a three-door.'

Meanwhile, the cars it describes as 'speciality vehicles', such as the Cube and the forthcoming Juke crossover, will use the current B platform and be made in the UK and Japan.

V platform to aid global growth
The V platform has been designed specifically so that Nissan can make light cars powered by efficient small-capacity engines that will be suitable for emerging markets.

The cars will be made in China, India, Mexico and Thailand to overcome local import restrictions. Nissan plans to sell the new Micra in 160 countries, including large parts of Africa, the Middle and Far East, and South America for the first time.

Explaining the twin-platform strategy, Cobee says: 'Our new platform has a narrower capacity range and is more focused in terms of weight.

'This platform targets cars with a maximum engine torque of 200Nm (148lb ft) and no third row of seats. The B platform allows for cars with engine torque of up to 260Nm (192lb ft) and cars with four-wheel drive and three rows of seats. The evolution of the B platform will cover more speciality vehicles in future.'

Cobee says that the V platform is currently destined to be used only by Nissan, but is available to its Alliance partner Renault. 'Renault is contemplating an opportunity to use it on some vehicles,' he says.