Big Qashqai sales rise expected
21 November 2011
Nissan is expecting a significant increase in Qashqai sales following the introduction of its new lower-CO2 1.6-litre dCi engine. It replaces the outgoing 2.0-litre dCi, although one larger 2.0-litre dCi engine will remain on offer with an automatic gearbox.
Marketing director Steve Mclennan told BusinessCar: "There's instrumental potential for the new engine, especially for the core user-chooser market. At the moment, we only get about 3% of this, but the middle ground of power and low emissions is the battle ground for fleet users. We're expecting it to account for between 1000 and 1500 more cars a year and 70% of that increase will be fleet user-choosers."
When specified with a stop/start system the standard Qashqai 1.6 dCi emits 119g/km and produces 128hp. When asked about the possibility of a more powerful diesel, Mclennan claimed there was scope to introduce a more potent version of the 1.6-litre unit. "The market has moved away from outright performance and power to power and efficiency married to torque and refinement, so we don't think we're missing much of a trick," he said. "But, there's always potential to upgrade the unit further, so as long as we don't sacrifice efficiency for outright performance, we'll look at all possibilities."
Mclennan also confessed that crossovers have been a hard sell to eco-conscious customers in the past because of their size and perceived thirst: "Crossovers haven't always been synonymous with low running costs and eco-friendliness, so it's been a challenge, but one we've answered."