X-Trail will be available in two engine forms and is expected to trigger a growth in sales volume which will subsequently be boosted by replacements for the Primera and Micra.
Neil Burrows, Nissan Europe marketing director, said: “One of the things we aim to do is develop a stronger Nissan brand and strengthen the franchise. We see the whole 4x4 range as one of our strategic product tools as we move forward over the next three-to-five years.
“Freelander will be the benchmark for the X-Trail's pricing. To compete aggressively, our prices will need to go head-to-head with it.
“The Land Rover is the one we have to aim to compete against in the compact 4x4 SUV sector and we'll also be targeting Honda CR-V owners in what is clearly one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. In terms of our own model range it is an additional presence sitting alongside Terrano and Patrol.”
Mr Burrows predicts Nissan will sell 2,500 of the new off-roader in its first six months in the UK life. That figure will climb to between 400 and 4,500 in 2002. That figure compares with the current total of 4,500 Nissan 4x4s - Patrol and Terrano - sold annually in the UK.
“We see X-Trail as an incremental model which will grow our share in the 4x4 sector and obviously grow our volume in a profitable sector of the market,” Mr Burrows said. And he pointed to new cars waiting in the wings which will see further growth in the UK.
“Over the next three years the new replacement for Primera and new Micra will instigate a product led, organic growth within the UK,” Mr Burrows said.