The Nissan Almera has been dropped from the Australian importer’s local line-up due to poor sales and the market’s lack of love for the small sedan genre.
Touted in August 2012 as the beginning of the “renewal of the Nissan Australia small car line-up”, the introduction of the Almera from $16,990 (plus on-road costs) was designed to challenge the Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris small sedans, having a larger boot than both of them.
“We expect Australian families would also be convinced of the Almera’s advantages of space, economy and practicality,” told then-Nissan Australia CEO William Peffer at the time.
Fast forward 20 months, however, and the Almera has managed just 236 sales in the first half of this year, down a staggering 82.5 per cent on the volume garnered in the same period of 2013.
The Almera represents the first discontinuation of a model line since new Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery took the reigns in February this year.
Emery was previously celebrated as a Mercedes-Benz Australia general manager of sales, presiding over huge growth for the German brand in this country.
“To get it to the volumes we’d need the margins would be so small,” Emery said, adding that Australains simply were not interested in the light sedan market.
He admitted that the Almera did little to help Nissan’s brand image and that, given the low volumes, Japan HQ were not concerned about the local decision to drop the car.
The Almera also largely sold to the fleet and rental car market. It is the latest victim in a long line of dropped small sedans, including the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Mazda 2, all of which have been cancelled in recent times.