“It’s a similar situation to when Mercedes went into the volume sector with A-class,” he says.
But Oliver Spalding, UK product manager for Murano, Patrol and Terrano, says training on the cross-over model will ensure smooth sales of all of Nissan’s growing 4x4 range. He is also confident of supply of the California-designed Murano, which is built in Japan, despite strong demand in the US where it has sold 100,000 units in two years.
UK Murano sales (starting in February) will be limited to 1,000/1,200 next year and Spalding says orders total 125 ahead of the marketing programme. Murano showroom display details have yet to be finalised.
The Murano’s suspension has been tuned for Europe, where a single 3.5-litre V6 version will be sold in two colours (metallic or pearlescent paint is the sole option). Styling cues relate it to the 350Z.
Nissan plans a bigger share of Europe’s growing 4x4 market through the widest range (possibly seven, if a production Quashqai concept is added to Navara, Terrano, Patrol, X-Trail, Pathfinder and Murano).
Its UK 2005 target is 24,500 4x4 sales, compared with 9,871 in 2002, and a segment rise from sixth place to third.