By on January 10, 2014

2014-Nissan-Micra-6[2]

Multiple sources are reporting that, yesterday in Quebec, Nissan announced the return of its world supermini, the Micra/March, to the Canadian market.

The Micra has been missing from the Great White North for nearly twenty-one years now, but it’s never even been seriously considered for United States release. With the popularity of the Chevrolet Spark in California, perhaps Nissan will reconsider. Two odd notes about what would otherwise be a straightforward introduction:

* The phrase “Japanese quality” was used during the intro but I couldn’t find anything to suggest that the Micra will actually be built in Japan. Surely this would be a bit of a cost issue, as it was for Honda with the Jazz/Fit in Canada before they changed to Chinese sourcing.

* Globally, the Micra uses a 1.2L three-cylinder, but in Canada it will share the Nissan Versa Note’s 1.6L four-banger. Hey! Muscle Mini!

More details as they arrive.

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72 Comments on “Oh, So You Guys Have Avril Lavigne AND The Nissan Micra Now...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    The phrase “Japanese quality” was used during the intro but I couldn’t find anything to suggest that the Micra will actually be built in Japan

    La expresion “Ingeniera Alemana” se utiliza en muchas de las materias de VW, pero no encuentro nada que sugiera que la mayoría de sus carros se construyen in Alemania, y’all.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, here they carried their Japanese-ness like a chip on their shoulder. Guess it works, what are we to do?

      Plus, place of manufacture has nothing to do with quality or. the lack thereof. That has got more to do with the engineering that goes into the car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I find the term ‘Japanese quality’ just as offensive as ‘German engineering’; I’ve owned an Odyssey and a Passat.

      At this point I prefer Korean ‘junk’ or Chrysler ‘garbage’, and yes, some Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Cars are built to spec. It’s not Mexicos fault that VW has looser specs and tolerances for their Mexico plants, but it keeps already low costs lower.

      It’s also not the fault of the workers or the suppliers. If you were hired to provide 10,000 power window cables with minimal insulation and thin wire gauge, that’s exactly what you will provide.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I guess it’s more of a deal with how the manufacturer sees cost cutting.
        Put it in china or Mexico and get cheap labor, and while your at it, just cut component quality, squeeze out all the profit possible.
        Vs
        Build in America or Japan, well your already building in a place with moderate costs, why not just go the full mile and deliver decent quality.

  • avatar

    I bought a 2013 USDM Fit that was made in Japan (it’s a great car BTW). But these things happen. Apparently Honda continue to import them and sell alongside Canadian Fits. No idea why they would do that.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      No difference along the lines of trimline, etc? In other words, your country of origin was just luck of the draw?

      I can think of a few cases where cars (within a single trimline) like the MDX/Odyssey or Caravan/T&C were made in the US and Canada simultaneously. But that’s a lot different than US/Japan or Germany/Mexico, etc

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        A friend of mine who used to do PDI at the Canadian port of entry for Toyota showed me this once. Manual transmission Camry’s were still made and imported from Japan, whereas automatics were built in the US. If you parked both the cars side by side and did a blind inspection you could clearly see (albeit under pretty close scrutiny) that the Japanese-built car had better overall fit and finish. I’m sure there are myriad factors that contributed to this, but the end result was still the same…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The US-spec Fits are made in Japan.

      For some time, the Canadian-spec fits have been made in China.

      With the next model, both countries will be getting them from Mexico.

      The difference was supposedly determined by capacity management, although I suspect that it was also a test balloon to see how consumers in North America would respond to a Chinese-built car produced by a well-entrenched brand.

  • avatar
    prndlol

    I remember the 80′s Micra was not an uncommon sight in Toronto growing up. I think every single one was silver.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    The 1.6L would be nice, but the chic factor is nowhere near the Fiat500.

    The thing looks like a carbon copy of the Toyota Echo…from 2004.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ll bet the Micra will be built in Mexico. Nissan has the largest presence there out of any automaker, the trade agreements are good, and it’s close to latin America where this type of car sells well.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      You can’t swing a dead cat in Mexico without hitting a Nissan Tiida/Versa, or whatever they call it now.

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskerDaVinci

        It’s still the Tilda, I was in Mexico a few weeks ago and saw a metric crap ton of them. Same with Dodge Attitudes, aka, the Hyundai Accent with a few of the Hyundai badges replaced with Dodge ones. Seriously, there are still several Hyundai badges on it. It’s hysterical and not remotely convincing.

        • 0 avatar
          FuzzyPlushroom

          If I ever end up with an Accent, I’m making sure it’s ‘thoroughly’ rebadged as an Attitude. I was always amused by that little branding exercise.

          Also, it’s ‘Tiida’, for some awful reason. A tilde (~) means ‘approximately’ (~5 litres, for example) in English, while Spanish (and some other languages) have… well, you know what the eñe is. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Apparently the Micra is already built in Mexico, so I suppose that would make sense just for shipping and NAFTA purposes (although they’re also built in Thailand, like the Mirage, and a couple cheap Honda motorcycles, so I wouldn’t completely rule that one out either).

    • 0 avatar
      clockworkp

      It is already being manufactured in Mexico for the Latin American market.

      And I hope this is not the version Canada is getting because its crash test results were disastrous: http://www.latinncap.com/data/pdf/nissan-march-2-airbags-en.pdf

  • avatar

    Micra SE-R, with the Juke 1.6T motor in it. THIS MUST HAPPEN.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Nissan has really lost it’s quality since the 90′s. Most of thier offering in the past several years have seemed pretty sub-par, both on paper and in person.

    This little thing looks far better than the Versa. Needs something like a turbo 2cylinder engine. I wish they’d sell the Fiat 500 twin-air over here.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I was a big fan of the previous generation Micra (at least visually), it had an interesting design that came together really well. This newer generation looks a little more anonymous.

    I’m glad to see Canada getting more hatchbacks…they are perfect for our cities. It would be great for a lot of US cities too, but Americans are too busy trying to tell themselves that their Fiesta sedan is actually an S-Class.

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      The 03-09 Micra was well regarded by most of the automotive press in the markets where it was available. This one, not so much. There seems to have been a lot of de-contenting to bring the price down to third world market levels, and much was lost in driving dynamics.
      A shame. Between this and the Mirage, it seems as if North Americans will never get to known how much fun a small, light car can be.

      • 0 avatar
        clockworkp

        The current March and Versa are poorly constructed vehicles, built for emerging markets where they will compete with 20 year-old designs.

        Unfortunately there was a bit of a downgrade in the current generation in order to bring the price down – even though much of this cost cutting was not taken off the MSRP in Europe.

        European/Japanese units are better (if I am not mistaken the European model is imported from Thailand), while Mexican built units are terrible – even their structure was stripped down and low grade steel is being used. You can compare Latin NCAP test results with Euro NCAP test results.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Wait, are we sure this isn’t just a rendering of the 2017 Pathfinder?

    If I were one of those crime lab guys who used the magical aging software, this is what I’d project.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Jack its great to see you posting a regular story again.

  • avatar
    brettc

    We never asked for Avril, Chad Kroeger or the Biebs. They just occurred and the Americans turned them into monsters. Friggin’ way she goes…

    I assume the Micra will be cheaper than the Versa so I’m sure Quebecers will buy them up in stripper trim levels sans A/C. They picked a good place to announce it.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    Oh, So You Guys Have Avril Lavigne AND The Nissan Micra Now

    True….but am willing to trade both for pharmaceuticals

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Question for the northerners – in Quebec like the Key West of Canada?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve been to both and have no idea what you’re talking about. So I’m gonna say no, not it’s not.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      I have no idea what’s special or different about Key West to the Americans.

      Quebec feels and looks more European than the rest of Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Based on my experience, Quebec is the Pennsylvania of Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      nrcote

      I’m from Quebec (Montreal) and I went to Key West a few times (most recently in 2010). I would say they’re not the same. Key West could be like Vancouver BC, but I went to Vancouver only once. Still, they have palm trees growing outside in Vancouver, and lots of Priuses (or is that Prii?). Lots of palm trees in Key West, don’t know about Priuses. Another thing: Hemingway could have spent a winter in Vancouver, but in Quebec, no way!

    • 0 avatar
      Zekele Ibo

      Quebec is culturally / linguistically isolated from the rest of north America. English-language media has a limited impact on the majority of the population, and French-language media is very introspective. Many large corporations test marketing ideas in Quebec as it works well as a kind of lab-environment.

      For the vehicle market, the province is differentiated by the relative poverty of its inhabitants (in relation to other Canadian provinces, the population is not “poor” as such), the high-tax levels, the cultural isolation and the challenging climate which makes cars rust away to nothing in ten years. So Quebecers like cheap cars and small cars, often with stick-shifts and even with no A/C. Trucks are much less common than regular cars, Japanese and Korean cars are very popular – for example in Quebec City there are three large Mazda dealerships but only two Ford ones.

      The Micra will be launched across Canada, but primarily this is a Quebec-market car. Hence the launch in Montreal. Nissan has hired a local French-language TV personality (Pénélope McQuade) for the launch and presumably the local advertizing, I don’t know if there is an equivalent spokesman for the rest of Canada.

      I don’t know if the new Micra will sell well – I don’t see the point of having the “big” engine from the Versa for a disposable urban commuter car, unless the price is really low. It used to be the Hyundai Accent which was the $9995 special, but that car went upmarket, maybe the Micra will go for that ultra-cheap niche?

      (Note: I live in Quebec, but I’m not from Quebec and my first language is not French, so I have an outsider’s viewpoint.)

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        I find that it’s the Quebec “outsiders” that often give the most accurate assessments of Quebec in the context of the rest of Canada and the world. I work primarily with Quebec natives and have been told I’m not a Quebecois, despite having a birth certificate, several school diplomas and a near-fluency in a French dialect that the Europeans don’t understand, which state otherwise. Quebecois are often so cut off from the rest of the world by language, that they have no choice but to become indoctrinated by the local politics, and many are truly shocked to discover when they travel (for the small amount who do) that French isn’t spoken everywhere. They’re taught by the Quebec government – and for those living outside of Montreal, everyone around them – that everything English is bad, and that all their troubles are due to being victims of the “maudits anglais,” despite the prosperity that the city had in the 50s-70s when it was more open to English language. My father immigrated to Montreal from Switzerland in ’67 to see the World’s Fair and then we had the Olympics in ’76.

        In reality, Quebec is a culture which favours whining over working, bragging about how they’re “bon-vivants” compared to the stiffs in Toronto, excluding English-speaking businesses (which is basically all business which surrounds them), and then wondering why they have no money. And then there’s the rampant government corruption, which despite taxing the hell out of its inhabitants, can’t keep the road system from looking like a third-world country’s, bridge collapses included, but they do have the funds for a dedicated language police, whose sole mission is to infiltrate businesses in order to ensure that they’re speaking and writing in French.

        Bringing this back to cars, Quebec is a special kind of hell for them. The terrible roads will turn most cars into rattle-traps, and in Montreal, where nearly half of the province’s population lives, they will rust in about 10 years. 6 for Mazdas. Even college kids with riced Civics will often have a $500 winter beater to keep their summer ride looking nice. Well, that and because buying the mandatory winter tires would cost nearly as much as just getting a crappy car which already has a set mounted.

    • 0 avatar
      zeus01

      Quebec is like the whiny spoiled child of Canada. The referendum (if there’s ever another one) shouldn’t be to decide if Quebec will separate from Canada but rather, if Canada can kick that ultra-socialist parasitic province to the curb. If that ever happens Quebecers won’t be able to afford even a tank of gas to fill their Micras.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        No one takes a larger transfer payment!

        ” and the challenging climate which makes cars rust away to nothing in ten years”

        10 years? More like 5 in that environment. Seriously though, I visit a few times a year, it’s a beautiful place and very different from anywhere else on the continent.

  • avatar

    Funny how here in Brazil we never get world engines. Here the car comes with a 1.0 and a 1.6 16v, both Renault’s, as is the one in the one going to Canada and present in the Versão in the US.

  • avatar
    ern35

    Please try to be aware of or become so—the province of Quebec in Canada is more ‘in tune’ with cars, sports, and the arts than any other province in Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Well, ern35, that may well be so, but coming from Nova Scotia, I find it amazing in Quebec that the name Nova Scotia, which is Latin, is unknown by the worldly Quebecers. There it is known as Nouvelle Ecosse, a totally un-needed translation from Latin to French.

      What with the language laws, innate paranoia leading to requiring citizens to not wear any religious clothes in public service, and other intellectual dishonesty, I’d rather the province lead itself off into a corner, where its denizens can mutter to themselves what a wonderful place they’re living in. After they’ve paid their bills.

      The Micra is perfect for Quebec.

      • 0 avatar
        nrcote

        Well, wmba, even the province uses “Nouvelle-Écosse” on its Web site (http://www.novascotia.com/fr/home/default.aspx). Au Cap-Breton, the Cabot Trail is la Piste Cabot, a wonderful drive in any language. The next time I’m in Nouvelle-Écosse, let’s meet and have a Keith’s at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou. I’ll even rent a Micra if necessary. A blue one, of course!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I find it amazing in Quebec that the name Nova Scotia, which is Latin, is unknown by the worldly Quebecers. There it is known as Nouvelle Ecosse, a totally un-needed translation from Latin to French.”

        Probably for the same reason that Paris is Paris, Berlin is Berlin and Madrid is Madrid, yet Roma becomes Rome, Wien is transformed into Vienna, Firenze is changed to Florence, and Munchen becomes Munich — just because.

      • 0 avatar
        zeus01

        Well said!

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      … and Celine Dion

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      Quebec is the number 1 province in Canada when it comes to believing their own mythology

    • 0 avatar
      gosteelerz

      I stayed in Quebec City for a couple of days and very impressed with the level of driving skill. There is a nice combination of aggressiveness and competence, a nice break from driving in my hometown, Brampton.

      A lot of people use three pedals there, too.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      “Please try to be aware of or become so—the province of Quebec in Canada is more ‘in tune’ with cars, sports, and the arts than any other province in Canada.”

      Now if they could only become in tune with politics and economics, maybe they could take a look at how Germany does things – keeping their language but acknowledging the power and prosperity that come with also learning and speaking the languages spoken by businesses. It’s a shame that most francophone Quebecois don’t realize that the ones harmed most by the anti-English policies are themselves. When anglophones have enough of the BS, they can – and have been – just move to another English-speaking province, state, or country. Where will the francophone Quebecois go when there are no jobs left in Quebec? Why did even Parizeau send his kids to English schools?

  • avatar
    Atum

    Come on, Mitsubishi needs to be special with the Mirage. If Nissan sold the Micra, it’d sell well, making Mitsubishi even more depressed.

    But, why is everyone talking about traveling? I’m fine with the southeast, and as an adult, probably wouldn’t want to leave unless a job transfer comes up. Republican, nice climate, good house prices, nice houses, trees, variety of vehicles, and jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      A life without travel is one which is deprived of a special kind of education. You learn a lot about the world, and the different attitudes and possibilities within it, when you actually go out and see it. If you’ve never left the southeast, much less the US, there’s a whole lot you’re missing out on.

      If you don’t go out and visit other places, next thing you know, you’ll believe that the US is the most democratic and prosperous nation.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Glad too see you posting, Jack.

    Japanese quality, is carried on a disc or thumb drive and with robotics, can happen anywhere.

  • avatar

    These are all around here (the Netherlands). I must say, I like the looks better than the previous one. According to EU Auto related press, it’s supposed to be a good car, too. Now I may be somewhat of an idiot, but I’d love one of these with classy rims, nice leather (or vinyl for that matter), tinted windows, everything electric & automatic, making this mini into a true “supermini”. Like Renault did on the “5″ with the “baccarat” version, which had plush carpet and all other luxury that was top notch in Europe at that time…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Kind of makes you wonder if Nissan will build them in Mexico to Euro-spec and export them from Canada to Europe. Mexico to Canada to Europe might be a funky way to take advantage of the Canada-Eurozone trade agreement without riling up Canada’s NAFTA partners.


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