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Nissan pins market share hopes on diesel strategy

Nissan is to boost its share of the rapidly expanding diesel market with the development of a diesel communications strategy.

The Japanese carmaker will take the first steps towards increasing its diesel offering with a new 136bhp version of its Renault-sourced 2.2-litre diesel unit. It will be shoehorned into the face-lifted Almera in 2003, with the aim to increase sales of Almera oil-burners from 2.4 per cent to 15.5 per cent.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, diesel car sales have continued to gain momentum in 2002. Demand is up 48.6 per cent over the year to date to account for 22.8 per cent of the market compared to 16.4 per cent a year ago. Total diesel registrations in the UK are up to 371,238 units, from 249,880. Despite the market growth, Nissan's diesel sales account for just 15 per cent of the company's total registrations.

Now, Nissan has revealed its new Micra will have a diesel unit for the first time in the model's history. Not only will it share its A platform with the new Renault Clio but it will also be powered by the small car's 1.5-litre dCi engine in either 65bhp or 80bhp variant.

Nissan's strategy could be similar to it's parent company Renault, which made huge progress with its dCi strategy by making 40 per cent of its dealer demonstrator cars dCi-powered. Promotion of the Laguna II was based entirely on diesel engines as the manufacturer tried - with some success - to change the public perception of diesel cars.

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