Nissan is 'uniquely placed' to benefit from the continued demand for crossovers in Europe, says the firm's European boss
5 November 2015

Nissan sales are booming in western Europe, but the brand won’t “force the market” in pursuit of pure market share, according to the company’s European boss.

Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan’s European region, said sales were up by 14% last year, giving the brand a 4% market share, and growth was running at around 9% for the first nine months of this year.

Achieving a European market share of 4-5% will be a “comfortable” position for the company, he said. “We want to stay in profit in western Europe, so trying to get to a 6-7% share would just be forcing the market,” he said, citing the risk of having to offer discounts and cheap PCP deals in order to hit increased sales targets.

Willcox also revealed that the next Micra, previewed by the Sway concept at the Geneva motor show in March, would be heading upmarket, with the new-generation model becoming a sister car to the current Renault Clio.

“The new Micra will be built at the Flins plant [in France] alongside the Clio,” he said. “It will become a direct rival for cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta.”

Willcox pointed out that Nissan has had the Micra brand in Europe “for 33 years” and acknowledged that this new model will move it markedly away from its city car roots. The current Micra - primarily engineered to be affordable in developing markets - has not been a sales hit in Europe.

Willcox said Nissan has “leadership in the crossover market” and expects the brand to continue to benefit from the soaring demand for this type of vehicle.

“Sales in the D-segment [Mondeo class] have collapsed and the cost of owning a premium car has been falling,” he added. “The versatility of the crossover format is what is driving sales.”

With three closely scaled crossovers in its line-up, Nissan is, Willcox suggested, uniquely placed to benefit.

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Our Verdict

Nissan Micra
Its ambition is to be a world player, so will it show world-class ability?

The Nissan Micra is a supermini offering low running costs but in most other areas is below the class average

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5 November 2015
Ghosn was so right. I remember thinking they would produce all manner of junk that wouldn't sell when he announced Nissans "niche" vehicle strategy, but he has turned "niche" into mainstream with Nissan. I laughed at the Qashqai and the Juke but there are so many of them on the roads. Now everyone else is scrambling to follow. Bravo.

5 November 2015
Always knew the Qashqai and the Juke (never understood why there’s so many Juke haters out there) would do well and it’s great for jobs up north. Seen pictures of what the MK2 Leaf might look like and with a potential range of 200 miles I’m sure sales figures will continue to increase, just need a plug-in smallest SUV. On the negative side the Pulsar is C***

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 November 2015
If the new Leaf has a 200 mile range and looks like the electric brother of the latest Qashqai then EV might finally be here.

5 November 2015
Is that the first Nissan car to be produced in a Renault factory in Europe?
I'm surprised they don't junk the Micra name, seeing as this new model will be very different.

5 November 2015
Wow. I look forward to wing mirrors being a thing of the past! Is there going to be an Electric version based on the Zoe?

5 November 2015
Walking wrote:

Wow. I look forward to wing mirrors being a thing of the past!

Throwback to 60's/70's, and wing mirrors were optional extras, and they were usually chrome finish and well forward on the wings. Door mirrors, trouble is there is too much tech in them nowadays, so expensive to replace, particularly if used as a width detector of last resort.

5 November 2015
I fear the styling will be toned down but I would buy the sway now as I think it looks great, had a mk2 Micra (bubble shape) and did 114k miles only replaced the exhaust back box and serviced it it - superb car!

6 November 2015
Let's face it, Nissan has an image problem. I still remember the old Nissans of the 80's and 90's (Bluebird and Sunny anyone?) and they were for the most part crock piece of shite. No amount of advertising nor PR exercise can ever erase the memories of those awful cars.

Only in this country and a few others in Europe does the brand sell in any numbers (and I wonder why?). But if you look at the most important country, Germany and other central European nations, customers wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

I guess design has something to do with it. Let's be honest- models like the Juke and the previous generation Micra are among the ugliest cars ever produced. Unless the Japanese get their act together, Nissan will forever be a fringe player in Europe.

6 November 2015
"Only in this country and a few others in Europe does the brand sell in any numbers " Nissan have increased sales in europe every year since 2007 and is fast catching Toyota to the extent they're probably be their equal this year,they sell twice as many cars in Europe as Volvo. They're doing quite well in China too.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

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