Bosses at Nissan in Japan have called the all-new Primera 'the cornerstone of the company in Europe'.
Key UK fleet managers saw the car for the first time at this year's Fleet Show, but the saloon, hatchback and estate were seen in tandem for the first time in Frankfurt.
The new Primera features a mono-silhouette shape - instead of the traditional three-box saloon style - and internally the 'cockpit-style' dashboard layout features a 'central concentration switch' which links audio, driver information, DVD navigation and climate controls to one electronically managed keyboard and screen.
The seven-inch screen is also used to display what's going on behind the car from a closed circuit television camera mounted above the rear licence plate. The camera is activated when reverse gear is engaged to provide 'the ultimate parking aid' to prevent rear-end accidents.
Saloon and estate variants of the new Sunderland-built Primera will enter UK showrooms on March 1 next year and the five-door hatchback will go on sale on July 1 with a choice of 112bhp 1.8-litre and 140bhp 2.0-litre petrol engines and a 126 bhp 2.2 common rail diesel.
Fleets are expected to account for about 70% of total Primera sales with around 14% of business expected to be diesel. Mr Murfitt hopes the launch of the new car will increase Nissan's share of the upper-medium sector from about 3% to 5%.
Primera sales this year will be about 15,000 units and in the nine months of next year when the car is on sale, hopes are high that 18,000 units will be sold. (September 19, 2001)