Nissan: lower medium Ford Focus rival on the way
30 October 2013
Author: Rachel Burgess
A new lower medium Nissan model is set to transform the fleet landscape for the brand when it arrives next year, following the runaway success of its Qashqai.
The conventional model to rival the Ford Focus will be a three- and five-door hatchback offered in petrol and diesel units, and will be built in Barcelona, exclusively for the European market.
"We are not currently there in Europe in this segment," said Raoul Picello, Nissan vice-president, sales operations. However, in the meantime, he added that the new Note is a very important business vehicle, particularly in daily rental, with fleets increasingly downsizing to superminis from lower-medium or upper-medium vehicles.
Meanwhile, Picello said that business take-up of the electric Leaf had been phenomenal since its launch two years ago, accounting for 80% of its 75,000 sales worldwide: "The main driver is cost of ownership. It is also easier than with private customers to resolve the issue of charging points.
"We've had a test drive programme running throughout Europe for the Leaf - you need to be in close contact with the technology to understand it."
The entry-level Leaf recently launched, meaning a lower price point, was a direct result of fleets expressing desire for a more basic vehicle, added Picello, and has improved accessibility to the car.
Nissan will also launch its all-electric e-NV200 mid-2014: "For proximity fleets and SMEs in metro areas, it is a great opportunity to reduce cost of ownership."