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Nissan's new 2014 hatchback to target Golf, Focus set

By Tim Pollard (artist's impression by Christian Schulte)

Spy shots

05 November 2012 11:41

Nissan is set to re-enter the volume hatchback market after a decade's absence since the Almera disappeared from price lists in 2006. The new 2015 mid-sized hatchback will compete head-to-head with the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

It's a global car to propel Nissan back into the C-segment hatchback market and will sport a brand new name. No reprise for the Almera or Sunny, thankfully.

Why did Nissan pull out from the C-segment in the first place?

Because successive hatchbacks foundered and couldn't compete in volume sales against increasingly polished rivals from Europe's biggest manufacturers. That's you Focus and Golf.

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn took the bold decision to eject from mainstream C- and D-segment sales - bye-bye Almera and Primera - and instead chose to launch the Qashqai and Juke mini-SUVs.

It was a gamble that paid off. More Qashqais are built in the UK than any other car, and around 80% of them are exported. The product switch was timed perfectly as buyers flocked to roomier, more distinctive crossovers and it's taken rivals a generation to catch up in many cases.

But now the Qashqai is established in the top 10 sellers lists, in the UK at least, it's time for Ghosn and co to move back into the hatchback sector. Cue the newcomer you see depicted in our CGI above. We'll see it in 2014 ahead of showroom sales in 2015.

The new 2015 Nissan hatchback

Our artist's impression reveals a five-door hatch influenced by the recent concept cars at the motor shows, such as the monobox Invitation. It's not clear at this stage if a full suite of bodystyles will be launched, but officials have confirmed the five-door pictured.

The still-nameless new hatch will be assembled in Nissan's Sunderland, UK, factory and is one of the reasons that top brass unofficially predict that the north-east plant will soon produce more cars than the whole of Italy. It'll be a global car, not just for Europe.

The design is said to draw heavily on the Invitation and Qashqai and the full gamut of Nissan's current technology focus will be available: expect self-parking options, full-length panoramic sunroofs and the latest Low Cost Navigation unit, which has seen service in the Qashqai and other models and was one of the first affordable, fully integrated sat-navs on the European market.

The new Nissan hatchback will be co-developed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire in the UK, whose engineers will tune the ride and handling and 1.2- and 1.5-litre group engines shared from across the Renault and Nissan portfolio.

It's unclear at this stage whether the new model will have an electric option drawing on the experience of the Leaf and other EVs Chez Nissan.