Nissan is targeting a minimum four-fold increase in its Australian small car sales after introducing a new-generation Nissan Pulsar.
The Pulsar had been part of Nissan’s local line-up since 1978, and built here in the early 1980s, but the badge has been absent since it was replaced by the Tiida in 2006.
The Tiida failed to match the enduring popularity of the Pulsar, hurting Nissan’s competitiveness in the crucial small-car segment.
Tiida sales peaked at 13,756 in 2007, well short of annual sales of the previous-generation Pulsar, including its last full year – 17,643 sales in 2005.
Nissan Australia is confident the return of the badge, and competitive pricing that starts at $19,990, will help the company become a force again in Australia’s biggest vehicle segment.
“I’m not going to disclose a specific figure [for new Pulsar sales targets],” said Nissan Australia boss Bill Peffer. “[But] Tiida did about 3000 last year and we want to at least quadruple sales with this new model.
“We want to be a credible, bona fide player in this segment. We recognise we haven’t done that in recent years.
“And we’ll get some help from the hatch in 2013 [when it arrives mid year].”
Consider circa-12,000 annual sales a conservative figure. Nissan Australia has higher ambitions, though the company says it’s being realistic in a segment where it must compete against the likes of the Toyota Corolla – 38,799 sales in 2012 – and the Mazda3 that was Australia’s best-selling vehicle last year with 44,128 units.
“I’m not committing to saying we’re going to beat Corolla,” says Peffer, “but long term we’d like to be No.1 in the segment.
“This is a killer segment. It’s large, there’s a tonne of product out, but we finally feel we have an offering that will do well.