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Nissan Micra heralds 'new start'

Date: 05 March 2010   |   Author:

All-new Nissan Micra

Nissan's new Micra is being branded a "new start" for the Japanese brand in terms of environmental appeal.

The supermini will, from next year, come with a three-cylinder 95g/km petrol engine, making it a class leader among petrol models. The Micra's ultra-low emissions figure gives the Japanese brand some eco credibility ahead of the launch of the first purpose-built electric five-seat hatchback, coming at the end of 2010.

The Micra, revealed last week, will be launched as a petrol-only model, which makes the 95g/km version, due six months behind the rest of the range's launch in October, more remarkable. At present, the lowest-emitting petrol supermini is the Mini at 112g/km, while the current Micra's petrol engines don't go lower than 139g/km.

The huge CO2 reduction has led Nissan to decide not to slot a diesel into the new Micra. "There is a perception in the marketplace that diesel will be more economical and environmentally friendly and more financially beneficial, but when you break down the figures it certainly isn't when you can buy a petrol at 95g/km," Nissan's European vice president of sales and marketing Simon Thomas told BusinessCar. "We have to get that across to customers - the argument is very much in favour of petrol but there is a perception out there we'll have to address."

"Our European competitors have been betting on diesel, one or two of our Japanese competitors have bet on hybrid, we're betting on downsized gasoline engines," said Nissan product planning boss Andy Palmer, who also confirmed that the engine would also be used in two further Nissan models, a saloon and a replacement for the supermini-MPV Note. Palmer also described the new Micra as "less cute, a little more masculine and designed to have wider appeal" than its predecessor.