By on January 18, 2011

After a less than enthusiastic welcome, Nissan is pulling its Made in Japan Cube from the European market, less than a year after its introduction. Journalists loved the car. But customers hated its shape and high price.

Nissan hasn’t ruled out reversing this decision when the exchange rate between the Japanese Yen and Euro improves, Autotrader reports from the UK.

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33 Comments on “Nissan Takes Its Box Back...”


  • avatar
    Jimal

    I’m a little surprised by the lack of enthusiasm in Europe for the Cube. They seem to embrace quirky vehicles (hello, Fiat Multipla? Renault Avantime?) more than we do here in the U.S. I haven’t seen too many of these around here, but I know someone who owns a Cube and she loves it.

    How does Nissan do overall in Europe with their more pedestrian models like the Micra or the Primera?

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Shocked!  Shocked I tell you, shocked!  Don’t those Euros know style when they see it.

  • avatar
    strafer

    Is it just this Nissan or all box cars that Europeans don’t like?
    Seems Kia Soul sold well in Europe so guess they must be price sensitive.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I don’t understand why, in the land of cars like the 2CV that oddball designs won’t sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      If only it had a Renault/Peugeot/Citroen badge on it… Then it would be deemed another one from a glorious line of “un quirkie voiture francais” (not sure about spelling, but could care less). The way it is badged though, it is just another plug-ugly Japanese ganja-flavored design attempt.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Amen, Acubra Though I would guess by your presence here that you agree ttac is a cut above junk auto journalism.

    • 0 avatar

      What part of “costs too much money” is difficult to understand? All this tells is that Japan cannot make cars domestically and sell overseas. Same thing happens, for example, to European LSAs on U.S. market. When Euro climbed before the PIGS crisis, I saw airplanes climbing from $80k to $125k in the span of months.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    From the post: “But customers hated its shape and high price.” I would probably agree on the shape, but I’m willing to be the high price is what really caused the car to be taken off the market. Some things just don’t translate from one culture to another, Fiat Multiplas notwithstanding.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Energy is already a luxury good in Europe. You don’t need to be a genius to know that pushing a shed down the highways isn’t a good use of premium priced energy. Any journalists who loved the cube should be replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Don’t be too harsh on those motoring hacks.
      They are now are just like kids, spoilt with a new toy every week or two. So naturally these infantiles with questionable tastes are falling for weird in-ya-face stuff that decent people would avoid.
      I stopped reading any motoring press once it became fashionable among them not to know how a car works and to see build quality as a combination of tight shutlines and soft-touch plastics only.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Suppose your goal was to sell magazines. Wouldn’t you want to employ writers that were capable of attracting and retaining an audience? You and I have both stopped buying auto magazines as intelligent, knowledgeable journalists have been replaced by hipster dufuses. I know of others who’ve lost interest as well. Advertising revenues are down and subscription prices are approaching zero. The combination can’t be good for the bottom line.

  • avatar
    obbop

    The curvature of the Cube’s fender lines and a few other areas reminds me of those I’ve seen upon some newer Ford pick-ups…. more-so Fords of a few years back but not OLD pick-ups.
     
    Considered those Ford pick-ups to be ugly with a u-g-l-y.
    Yeah, I know, should be an “an” before “ugly” but the pros proclaim it is okay to go with what sounds right to the writer.
    Still confused as to the rule of where to place the “possessive” mark—>  (‘).  Cubes’  Cube’s  One of those is correct but I am unsure and am too old to remember the rule….. even if I could figger’ the dern’ rule out!!!
    I DO know the “curvy” Ford truck is, to me, ugly.
    Blechhhhh!
    Then there were the MANY reports I read across Web message boards of Ford V8 engines spitting spark plugs at high velocities due to too few threads hugging the spark plug threads.
    Despite the pro-Ford naysayers denying the Disgruntled One his opinion despite reading HUNDREDS of folks writing of their own experience I shunned Fords.
    However, I would not shun a Cube due to its’ (has to be its’ due to it’s being a contraction meaning “it is” but not all of writing can be “logiced” out in that manner.
    I need/require/want a demure/lithe/lovely/sensuous secretary clad in short skirt and ample cleavage to toil nearby and assist my grammar as needed.
    My wants are simple within the shanty.
    Anyway, would shun the Cube since other conveyances offer more interior living space if vehicle-based living is forced upon me in the future.
    Before tottering off a brief reminder; if the opportunity arises eat a scaloni dinner. A luscious blend of scallops and abalone; lightly breaded and sauteed (that’s lightly/quickly fried here in hillbilly heaven).
    For the traveling herd barreling down I-5 in NorCal look for the Patterson exit and head east into the center of “old town.”
    If Mils restaurant is still there they have a mighty-fine scaloni meal.
    I believe they are still there and offer the meal. It’s been a few years since I was there.
    Other locales have the incredible edible so call around or do a Web search.
    Not a real common meal.
    No source here in the road-kill empire.
    Possum porridge y’all?

  • avatar
    stryker1

    High price? Really? Don’t these things start at 12 and 13k?

  • avatar
    stuki

    Just for geekiness, if nothing else, car designers could become more open to the possibility that the off center driving position in passenger cars, just might make form-follows-function dictate asymmetric window placements and sight lines, as well. Just a thought.
     

  • avatar
    strafer

    Kia Soul seems to sell well in Europe, is it much cheaper than this Cube?

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    What’s the right word for a design that says “Ok, Aztec, I’ll see you and raise you one.”?

  • avatar
    neevers1

    It’s the single ugliest car made currently, I can’t imagine why someone would buy such a car.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    they’re shaped under the box fish, which is very energy efficient. See many of these driven among Vancouver though.  Some are Kia not sure the breakdown.
     

  • avatar
    Emro

    Clarkson loved the old one :D
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT8w5Gupmjw
     

  • avatar
    M0L0TOV

    I think what killed the Cube was the lack of a diesel option in Europe. I think that was the biggest complaint amongst them all.

  • avatar

    The European market is a crowded place, not only for small/medium cars. But in the small cars area price DOES matter. Daihatsu suffered the same problem in Europe, although they have been there with reliable cars and a reliable dealership for a long time.
    There is note one Nissan model doing exceptionally well in Europe, BTW (from Micra to 350Z). Tough, well established competition, I’d presume, combined with a thin dealer network and no competitive edge.
    Some cars / some makes don’t fit in some countries. Ask the French or Italian why they have given up the US market.
    @CJinSD: You are right.
    @zZakmann: You are wrong. As opposed to the the Cube, the 2CV design goals only marginally had city dwellers in mind. The car was supposed to carry some people/and or potatoes or other deliveries to the local farmer market and back, instead of using the contemporary horse & carriage combination. So, this “oddball design” offered a real benefit at its time. Compare this to the Cube’s benefit and decide for yourself.
     

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Nissan Cube has been available in Canada for a couple of years. I have seen exactly one on the road.

  • avatar
    chitbox dodge

    The Cube is just further proof that Nissan’s design team have lost their ever-loving minds. Who in the world signs off on a concept of asymetry on anything? And while they’re at make the rear bumper section look like it comes from an 80″s sentra and mount the far-too-small headlamps what seems to be about about 10 inches off the ground. Oh and throw in a tall roof, but make the windows really small porpotionately with big honking bevels all around them.
    It’s like they wanted to go after the 1st gen Xb crowd, but didn’t really understand what made “that box” so like-able.

  • avatar
    obruni

    it isn’t the design that is hurting the cube, its the price.
    the Cube is currently priced at 17,400 euros for a base petrol, and 19,600 for a base diesel.
    with options, it can easily go up past 22,000, if you include things such as Nissan’s Connect system.
    in comparison, the Soul starts at just over 15k, and has more powerful engines (both petrol and diesel). There is also the Daihatsu Materia, which is related to the first generation Scion xB. Its a lot closer to the Cube in engine specs, starts at 15k, and has cheaper options. For example, you can order a Connect-like system in the Materia on the base model for 1200 euros. To get the connect system in the Cube, you have to spec the top model trim.
    the only weirdo boxes that are priced near the Cube are the Toyota Urban Cruiser and the Renault Kangoo Be-Bop (yes really!). Both are also flops over here.
     

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I am actually a little sad it is exiting the market. Sure, might not be to everyone’s taste but the automotive landscape becomes one bit blander every time a quirky car like this is killed off.
    I also really liked the Multipla – the design was a sticking point, granted (although the facelifted version was perfectly OK) but what other car under 4 metres in length offered such roominess (with six seats and a reasonable boot)? I could sit extremely comfortably in the back with two other people next to me, and I am 6’4”. Given that an equal stint in say an Audi A4 or 3 series BMW would most likely require a visit to the chiropractor I see that as a major asset. On top the car was built around a spaceframe, had a very wide track and was a hoot to drive, even though it’s engines were only around 100-110hp strong.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    This car’s styling is too obviously a ploy to appear different. It tries too hard to look bizarre. There is really no enhanced function making the Cube appear as it does, and asymetry takes this auto style over the cliff, when it could have been an Xb contender.

    The Juke also goes over the styling cliff.

    I have noticed how old Pontiac buyers seem to gravitate towards Nissan over the past decade, and I sense that the old blatantly bizarre Pontiac look seems to have been embraced by Nissan. Perhaps there is a need for odd looking cars in the market. Perhaps there is a need for cars with oversized fender-topping clear plastic jewel tail lamps the size of bumpers. But as I recognize it, these styling affectations are embarrassing, faddish and makes a brand appear totally disposable.

    Styling in the manner of the Cube, Juke and other Nissan offerings is like Tabasco Sauce. While it is appreciated as a break from the ordinary, it quickly becomes too much on a daily diet. While P.T. Barnum and Bailey Circus can regularly use one of their vehicles, the rest of us have no need for an obvious clown car as our daily commuter.

    Aztek, Pacer, ’74 Matador, F-10 and other deliberately flamboyant car designs have shown auto manufacturers that too much is too much.

    • 0 avatar
      Banger

      There is really no enhanced function making the Cube appear as it does, and asymetry takes this auto style over the cliff
       
      Well, actually, there’s quite a lot of function in making it look the way it looks. It’s tall, the wheels are pushed way out at the corners of the “box,” and the result is massive interior space. More backseat legroom than our old Sentra, which was a longer car. More headroom than most vehicles three times its size, which is important for folks as tall as me and allows seats to be mounted at a sane height instead of making you feel like you’re falling in a bucket every time you get in.
       
      And as for the asymmetry, it has the benefit of decreasing your blind spot over the outboard shoulder. The other side, you couldn’t do a “bilnd spot check” out of that side anyway. As a Nissan guy told us, “You’re not an owl. Your head won’t turn that far.”
       
      I would say the Yen/Euro conversion rate has a lot more to do with this than the styling. You’ll notice the Cube is seldom advertised in Nissan’s national US ads. I suspect this is because the Yen/USD conversion rate is similarly disadvantageous for Nissan, but they don’t kill it off in the US because they realize the Cube brings in some nontraditional customers. It also has won over existing Nissan supporters– perhaps not in droves, per se, but it has. My wife has been a fan of Nissans for years, and the Cube was top of her list for car shopping.
       
      She bought a “Bitter Chocolate Pearl” Cube, FWIW, and loves it. It’s well appointed (standard cruise, leather steering wheel, etc.), solidly put together, and miles more practical in everyday use than any three-box sedan we’ve ever owned. Everyone is surprised at how roomy it is and how easy it is to get in and out of.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      You should consider that what you insist is odd might be ‘interesting’ to some others. Even if the Pacer, Matador, F-10 were not commercial successes, they make the auto world a little richer than if they had not existed.
      Not all of us subsist on a ‘meat and potatoes’ diet. Or should all new cars fit into the Camry/Corolla silhouette?


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