Nissan's Juke and Micra - cars for all
* Juke and Micra 'no conflict' * Funky and conservative options * Crossovers lead the way, though...
Nissan says its family of crossover cars will be complete when the funky-looking Juke is launched in September.
Since the introduction of the Murano in 2005 and the Qashqai in 2007, crossovers have grown in importance for Nissan and they now account for 50% of the company's sales.
That reliance on crossovers is set to increase when the Juke arrives.
Nissan's UK chief, Paul Wilcox, said: '80% of Qashqai customers were new to the brand and we expect Juke to deliver the same. Crossovers have become the face of Nissan.'
Funky Juke doesn't conflict with conservative Micra
Nissan will launch the new Micra around the same time as the Juke. It was revealed at the Geneva motor show earlier this month, and looks pretty bland compared with the radical Juke. However, Nissan sees no problem in having two radically different small cars at the same time.
'The new Micra is more conservative,' conceded Wilcox, 'but, unlike the Qashqai and Juke, it will appeal to existing customers from the current Micra and the Note market, who will be drawn to its strong value and low CO2 emissions especially the 95g/km version that will come five to six months after the launch.'
Battle of the sexes
Matt Weaver, project leader at Nissan Design Europe, said gender is another important differentiator between the two small cars.
While the Juke is said to be more male-orientated, with design elements inspired from motorbikes and diving gear, the Micra, says Weaver, will appeal to men and women.
'With the Juke we really pushed the envelope,' he said. 'It's funky and very provocative. The Micra is conservative, but it will appeal to both genders in an honest way.'
Nissan claims it has made the crossover sector its own over the past few years, so will it consolidate its position as a crossover car maker or develop new niches to entice car buyers?
'I see it as our duty to our customers to look into other areas and to develop them', said Weaver.