The bold bet by Nissan

Le pari audacieux de Nissan


Last April, I wrote an article titled Death has been declared sub-compact, in which I covered the abandonment of the segment by several automotive manufacturers.

In sum, it was a question of too low profitability for the manufacturers and the disinterest of the public to a means of transport, minimalist. To name a few models missing in recent years, consider the Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, Nissan Micra and Versa Note, as is the Prius c at Toyota.

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Nothing remained, therefore, in 2020 as the Chevrolet Spark, Honda Fit, the duo Korean Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio, Mitsubishi Mirage and the Toyota Yaris, which has recently transformed, becoming a clone of a Mazda2 sold elsewhere in the world.

Killed in battle

However, we learned recently, the definitive abandonment of this Yaris newly landed, but also the Honda Fit, which it will no longer be available in North America. The two cars which have both experienced their hour of glory, especially in Quebec, and that on the used market, still retain a great value. In the case of the Yaris, Toyota had even chosen not to offer it exclusively in Quebec, knowing that the vast majority of the market share of canadian were there. However, although the Province has responded positively to this new offering from Toyota, it was utopian to believe that we could maintain a model for Quebec, which is of course a very small percentage at the north american level.

While in 2019, the Yaris is not sold as a 6-256 units in the country, of which 3 515 in Quebec, there was a time when Toyota manages to sell about 35,000 units annually, the car is even sometimes found in the top 10 of canadian sales. However, it seems that the disinterest of the public preferred to turn to a Corolla for a few dollars more per month, has been due to the smaller Toyota.

Then, it is necessary to understand that the japanese automaker, which manufactures its Corolla in north america, also has an interest in promoting greater use of this last, rather than a Yaris, less profitable, and that it must necessarily import from France or Mexico. Besides, it’s the same for the Honda Fit, manufacturing in mexico, while the Civic is assembled in Canada.

So here we are, not remain so in 2021 as the Chevrolet Spark, which lives on borrowed time, both the Korean and the Mitsubishi, which will have the same right to small cosmetic changes. Now, against winds and tides, Nissan chooses to return to the charge in this segment with a sub-compact sedan, the Versa.

A car available for a little over a year for our american neighbours, who prefer precisely the sedan to the hatchback models. However, because the Micra was the end of life and that it was impossible for Nissan to continue its production for Canada, the manufacturer has chosen an alternative solution, in order not to lose this new customer base acquired over the years, and that between 2014 and 2019, has provided around 50 000 Micra.

Its place

Believer hard as iron to the market in the subcompact car, the strategists of Nissan Canada say they are even happy to see disappear is the competition, one after the other. In fact, Nissan will have to compete with the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, both cars are serious, but which lose also a lot of ground compared to the past. In fact, these two manufacturers are placing more emphasis on their compact cars and their new stars respective, as are the Hyundai Kona/Come and Kia Seltos.

Aware that products such as the Kicks and the Qashqai also have a capital importance for the expansion of the brand, people of Nissan believe, however, that there is always a place of choice for the small car in the traditional way. It is not a matter of the offer not carry out any promotion, only in the context of a more comprehensive product range. The aim is to sell and obtain large market shares, as it has done with the Micra. Now, it is clear that the format of sedan, the new Versa, which shares its technical and structural with the Kicks, not charm, not the buyers in the same way as the Micra. It will therefore have to use strategy in order to seduce them, which implies, of course, a bill falling well below that of the new sedan Sentra.

In closing, it should also be mentioned that with the sudden desire of a wide public to abandon public transport in favour of a motor providing a controlled environment, it is clear that manufacturers will be able to take advantage of them. However, many of these people use the train, the subway and the bus for a question of money, which leaves, of course, to believe that many of them will opt for a vehicle at a low cost. Turn to a used vehicle, or choose instead a small new car like the Nissan Versa? To follow…

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