2012 Nissan Versa: It's Always Sunny In Guangzhou

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
2012 nissan versa it s always sunny in guangzhou

Despite being introduced to the US back in 2006, sales of Nissan’s Versa are hardly slacking with age. Sales of the Versa have increased every year since its introduction except for last year, when volume dropped by about 2,000 units, and this year the subcompact sedan/hatch has already set a new annual sales record. Even the newer, arguably better-looking Kia Soul hasn’t been able to unseat the Versa from its perch as king of the subcompacts, having sold only about 60k units this year to the Versa’s 89,500. But despite this continued success, Nissan is replacing the slightly geeky-looking Versa with this, the 2012 Nissan Sunny, which has just been unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in Southern China.

The Versa’s replacement is clearly a sedan first, and it sports a far more sophisticated exterior look than the high-roofed Versa. Inside, the Sunny continues in the Versa’s utilitarian footsteps, betraying the sedan’s humble Micra-based roots. This Chinese-market version of the global Sunny will be built by Dongfeng-Nissan, and US-market versions will likely retain the Versa name (though its production site is as yet unknown). But are subcompact buyers looking for slick sedan looks, or is the Versa’s unapologetic utilitarianism central to its appeal? Nissan’s betting that a little refinement will pay off, but history (and the Toyota Echo) seem to indicate that American subcompact buyers are typically looking for more practicality than a sedan can offer.

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  • Niky Niky on Dec 21, 2010

    Subcompact sedans make a lot of sense outside the US, where they're basically bought as family cars instead of "solo" cars. Yes, you can carry a whole lot of baggage in the Honda Fit when you fold up the back seat, but when you have three kids back there, that's a whole different ballgame. The Honda Fit sedan, the "City" has 500 liters of trunk space. That's more than the Civic. That's enough to stuff three dead bodies into if you're Chinese Mafia. Ford's booty-licious Fiesta is a reaction to this. Mazda's Mazda2 has a big-rumped sedan version, too. And the sedan cures two of the Mazda2's biggest ills. The first is the ABS issue... the sedan's heavier rear end keeps the rear tires planted and stops the ABS from hyperventilating as a rear tire comes off the ground in a corner. The second is the annoying competence of the Mazda2 hatchback. It's firmly planted, despite being very playful. The Mazda2 sedan, on the other hand, is easier to hand-brake turn than a Miata on ice.

  • Dave62 Dave62 on Jul 10, 2011

    What a third world offering; it looks like it was designed by the best minds that India had to offer in 1980! The rear quarter panels are so damn large that its seems as if rear ass is lower than my 50 year old butt; but nothing can drag that low!

  • Dukeisduke I don't know that I'd call the 5.0 Coyote motor "venerable". Maybe you were thinking of the Windsor V8?
  • Kwik_Shift Isn't a Renegade a Fiat 500X? Could that not be the discouragement?
  • FreedMike Soon to be trending on Youtube: "Aftermarket supercharger F150 cars and coffee crash".
  • Lou_BC Vehicles tend to "soft fail" i.e. a component gradually wears to the point of complete failure. Sure, some rather abrupt failures occur but not typically in the steering, brakes, or wheel bearings.
  • MaintenanceCosts Curious about this number for certain Toyotas, particularly the Sienna and RAV4 Prime. Both still seem to be almost unobtanium, especially in fully loaded configurations, a couple years after their introduction.