By on October 5, 2010

When Renault released their second generation Megane, people’s reaction pretty revolved around three words. “Whisky”, “Tango” and “Foxtrot”, if you know what I mean. I remember when I first saw it my first thoughts were “My goodness! It looks like someone’s made a massive dent in the back with a cricket bat.” But what did I know? It was voted European Car of the Year in 2003, was the first small family car to achieve a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, and went on to become a sales success. Now let’s look at Renault’s partner, Nissan. When the Juke came out, the reaction was pretty much the same to the Renault Megane. “What in the name of all that is holy is that?!” And now. the Renault-Nissan alliance has done it again.

AutoEvolution (I wonder if there’s an “AutoCreation” website? You know, “teach the controversy” and all that.) reports that in the first four months of being on sale, the Nissan has taken (or sold) 50,000 orders for the Juke. In Japan, 20,000 wanted one. This was particularly satisfying because Nissan had only forecast to sell 1,300 per month. In Europe, demand was even higher with 30,000 orders placed. “The demand for Juke underlines customers’ warm reception towards its innovative concept and value, breaking barriers in what is considered an all new category” said Akihisa Suzuki (insert your own joke here), Nissan’s Global Chief Marketing Manager for the Juke, “It is not surprising that its stylish design captures people’s heart. Delivering a whole new experience by integrating the appeals of a sports coupe and crossover, drivers will be amazed by its agility and smart body motion control through advanced technology.” Management types do talk a lot of twaddle, don’t they? (Ed – No we don’t!). It’s appears that despite the “WTF” design, the Juke is a firm hit. Man alive! I feel like I’m the victim of a really cruel, practical “Juke.”

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43 Comments on “The Juke’s On Me. Sadly...”


  • avatar
    Brian E

    I think the Juke’s sales are mostly due to its solid fundamentals – it’s a smallish car with an elevated seating position and plenty of scoot from the 188hp turbocharged engine despite getting excellent fuel economy (27/32 in FWD CVT). Just think how much better it’d be selling if it actually looked good.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I hope this powerplant moves to the Cube/Versa/Sentra. They will sell zillions.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Just more proof of the utter lack of taste of so many people. I guess the ‘fundamentals’ do add up to most buyers, but my GOD it’s ugly. Oh well, hats off to Nissan for figuring out that is what people want to buy.
    Note to all other car makers: Do you want sure fire sales? Make your car as pig ugly as humanly possible!

    • 0 avatar
      Libertyman03

      Ugly = Controversial. A talking point. Instant sales success.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I always defended the quirkiness of the xB, Element, xD, Aerio, and sometimes even the Cube.
       
      But thing is just objectively ugly. Not even quirky or cute or eccentric. They got away with doing this with the butt-ugly Versa (nee Renault Tiigo), but only because that car is spacious and CHEAP. Good luck with long-term sales on this one, Nissan. People still buy with their eyes before anything else.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Yes, but almost 47,000 of those customers thought they were ordering the cell phone of the same name. No, you can’t back out of your deposit.
     
    Fundamentally sound vehicle, but right up there with Pontiac Aztek and Lexus SC430 in the looks department.

  • avatar

    I dunno, I like Cube in person. Maybe this is not too bad either.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I like the Juke in the same way I like the first generation xB, with sort of a morbid curiosity.

  • avatar
    Libertyman03

    I’m not surprised the car is surpassing sales expectations. Yes, yes, the fundamentals are good. Great, many might argue. I think what it comes down to IS its controversial looks. People love to be the center of attention. Just being able to point to your Juke and say, “Yeah, that’s mine.” would be enough. If people can buy a Cube, or a US Honda Accord, or a current Ford Focus, or any other horribly ugly car in such large quantities, why wouldn’t they buy the Juke?
     
    PS: Didn’t Pontiac sell lots of Azteks?

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Not quite as odd looking as an Aztek, but still odd.
     
    188 HP out of a 1.6L is impressive – but is it available without the CVT?

  • avatar
    G.D.

    The only people truly startled/confused by this success are the ones without vision.
    You know who you are.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Only a public school mental weakling would consider this thing “stylish”.
    These are the same people who view politicians as mommy (Democrat) and daddy (Republican).

    • 0 avatar
      Selektaa

      What is it with you and public schools?  Just because someone’s parents didn’t shell out thousands of dollars for a pre-college education doesn’t make them mentally inferior.  I have no doubt there are millions upon millions of public school graduates who could run mental rings around you.

  • avatar
    ott

    Nice video. Now do a smallblock chevy! Oops,  I mean ChevROLET…

  • avatar
    Monty

    Yes, the design is polarising. Yes, one person’s gold is another person’s garbage, but the Juke is definitely a stand-out design.

    Yet, the B & B complain like a shrill mother-in-law when designers stay within the confines of “conventional” design.

    Can’t have it both ways. I applaud Nissan for the cojones to release the Versa, Cube and Juke. At least they’re not boring.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Here’s a novel idea.
    Maybe those 50,000 people don’t think that it’s ugly. Maybe rather than crying about every new car that doesn’t look like a late 60s Chevy, these people are actually willing to buy something that looks “different”.
    Those 50,000 include people who are “not from here”, meaning that they probably weren’t “breeched in the back seat of ’68 Galaxie 500″.
    Or maybe it really is just that ugly and the buyers have bad taste. I’ll make up my mind when I see one ‘in the metal’.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Carlos should order this engine available into the Versa pronto:  simple car with a a big heart. Inexpensive, simple & unpretentious. An antidote to a GT-R.
    Then go back to Brazil, have a Skol on the beach and rest a bit.

  • avatar
    Mercennarius

    I don’t know why anyone would think this thing WOULDNT do sell well! Its exciting, efficient, cheap, different, utilitarian, turbo, fun, good quality, and new. Their target demographic will eat this thing up.

    Its not like the Pontiac Aztec which was lame, inefficient, not too cheap, boring, and terrible quality.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I think it looks cool.  Certainly different looking in a world of crushing sameness. That alone is a reason to buy one.  When I was a kid, large cars had different and outrageous styling.  Now most large cars are mostly interchangeable “luxury” cars, they are all beige or silver, looking identical.  Vive la difference!

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    ok whatever these are preorders anyway, don’t believe until these things are actually leaving the lot…

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    May I humbly display my geekness by expressing my wonder at that video. Please realize that the IQ displayed in the design of the engine, along with the production of that video, required more IQ points than have been in the combined IQ of the senate, congress, and all state legislatures since the beginning of the universe.  Scientists and engineers rule.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    just looked at Nissan site. Its not uglier than many other cars. Sort of like a bulldog version of Murano. Better looking than any pickup truck later than 1960.
    The engine is in the base vehicle. Cool. Prefer 6m.
    If you want pretty buy a Dino 246.

  • avatar
    Styles79

    As one who has seen the Juke in the flesh (red metallic JDM spec) I must say I like it. I don’t think it quite comes across in the pictures as well as it does in the metal.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Are you saying that this is not the new Mediocre? Imagine that.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Speaking of Suzuki, I saw a Kizashi in the flesh today. Pretty nice car, as the TTAC review said – I particularly liked the rims. I was somewhat surprised when a largish, scowling 50-something lady emerged from the car, wrapped in five layers of wool overcoat, and shuffled sullenly into the supermarket.
     
    Not really the demographic I’d been expecting…

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    This car is all kinds of awesome and it’s about time someone said F U to the focus groups.  That is all.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Juke is everything the Dodge Caliber should have been.
     
    It seems to be a good car, I hope Nissan sells a lot of them.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    I hate to admit it, but I like it.  Controversial?  Yes.  Great specs in a good package that appears to work.  I’d be curious to drive one, FWD with the 6-speed manual.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Maybe GM could have made the Aztek a success by naming it the Juke.  Or maybe the Pontiac Joke.  As in ” the joke’s on you.:

  • avatar
    Disaster

    I keep looking at the pictures, hoping to find something that sparks people’s love for this car.  Can’t find it.  Having said that, it isn’t Astek ugly.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I saw one at a storage facility, it looks a little top heavy and cartoonish, but I didn’t want to stab out my eyes. My overall impression was that it would look at home on the set of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Wouldn’t buy it but would love to drive it.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Now that I’ve seen that movie, I know how to make my own frickin’ engines.
    I’ll sell them for less and put Nissan out of business.

  • avatar
    nathan thurber

    I cannot see the styling ever growing on me.

  • avatar
    niky

    I’ve never thought the Juke to be ugly. Controversial, yes. Ugly, no.
    Either you slavishly stay within the boundaries of three-box/two-box styling and frontal fascias that are so anthropomorphic that manufacturers plaster them with “goatees” and “smiley faces” or you do something truly unique and push car design and public tastes in a different direction.
    And I think it needs pushing. Too many manufacturers are playing it safe. After a brief fling with Bangle’s flame-surfacing, new cars are becoming slab-sided again. If Mazda’s smiles get any bigger, I’d be afraid their cheeks would crack from the strain. It goes beyond reason that we are now living in the age of projector headlights and LEDs and most light fixtures are still depressingly square (except at the edges, where they’re bleeding off into the fenders).
    The Juke is only ugly if you tend to personify your car and expect it to look like an actual breathing human being. But as a machine, it’s exotic looking, with flowing curves and lots of neat little details. Heck… I’d be tempted to buy one when it comes here… even if it is a Nissan…


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