By on September 12, 2018

Nissan is ending sales of its last two compact cars in Europe and Russia, citing a the growing demand for crossover vehicles as the reason. The automaker stopped producing the Pulsar hatchback for Europe in June and says it will end production of the Almera sedan in Russia later this year. Both models are the sister car to our own Nissan Sentra.

The Pulsar was launched in 2014 to give Nissan a fighter for the competitive compact-featherweight category and fill a gap left in the brand’s European range in the wake of the discontinued N16 Almera. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the sales success Nissan hoped for. The Pulsar never quite managed to match the N16’s volume. Nissan’s decision to abandon it leaves the Leaf EV as the only non-utility compact sold by the manufacturer in the region. 

According to Automotive News, Nissan predicted European annual sales of 64,000 for the Pulsar roughly the same as the old Almera. However, JATO Dynamics claims the brand only managed 25,221 deliveries in 2017. This year was pointing toward even lower figures long before production stopped.

Nissan’s official reasoning for axing the models came down to “a rapidly increasing switch by European customers from traditional vehicle segments to crossovers,” according to a company spokesman. “The story in Russia is similar,” apparently.

From Automotive News Europe:

The Almera sedan is a Russia-only model launched in 2013 and was for a while was Nissan’s best-selling model in the country, reaching 46,225 sales in 2014. This year however the model dropped out of the top-25 best-selling list, compiled by the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Russia.

The X-trail midsize SUV was Nissan’s best-selling car in Russia through August, with 14,103 sales, followed by the smaller Qashqai SUV. The loss of the Almera will see Nissan’s Russian line-up switch to SUVs, except for the imported GT-R sports car. Russia’s car market is now more than 40 percent SUVs, according to Renault Group.

The Datsun brand, which continues selling low-cost automobiles is Russia, is also struggling with its smaller vehicles. Sales of the on-Do small sedan and mi-Do hatchback (both of which use the Lada Kalina platform) fell by 22 percent in the first eight months of 2018.

The Almera will continue to be built by the Renault-owned AvtoVAZ at a factory in Togliatti, Samara region, alongside various Renaults and Ladas, until its demise. Nissan’s Pulsar was manufactured at a plant in Barcelona, Spain through June.

[Image: Nissan]

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26 Comments on “Crossover Takeover: Nissan’s Compact Cars Leave Europe Indefinitely...”


  • avatar
    St.George

    So Ford gets roundly condemned for doing something similar here yet Nissan is ‘good to go’ for abandoning that segment in small car paradise Europe?

    • 0 avatar
      Ce he sin

      They haven’t abandoned it, the Micra is still on sale and as the latest model was introduced only last year it’ll be around a while yet.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, it’s not like everyone is abandoning those segments.

      Nissan in Europe (just like Ford in NA), can’t or just doesn’t want to spend the resources to compete.

      Note how Nissan isn’t totally abandoning the car segment in Europe and they certainly aren’t in NA.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Pretty sure Nissan will not come crawling to me and other taxpayers in 4 to 5 years over this short-sighted decision like Ford will. That’s one thing. I guess another is Nissan offers cars here still. So it’s a little bit distinguishable.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Because Ford can’t simply reintroduce cars to North America if it becomes apparent they’re in demand?

        Pretty sure building cars THAT LOSE MONEY would cause a company financial hardship, rather than concentrating ON VEHICLES THAT MAKE MONEY.

        But, you’re obviously an economic and automotive expert, so, tell us how building cars THAT LOSE MONEY is better for buisness and somehow prevents future financial issues.

        Oh, yes, the “when gas goes up!!!” argument. Because the F-Series stopped being the best selling vehicle, replaced by the Toyota Corolla, during the gas crunch? Right. Car sales rebounded a bit, but it was entirely temporary, and they’re further out of favor now than ever. And nobody bought Escapes, nobody embraced fuel saving measures on vehicles they needed or wanted, like turbo 6 cylinders in full size trucks and Hybrid powertrains in SUVs and turbo 4 cylinders in larger utilities?

        People do drastic things to save money during an economic downturn and/or gas crunch. Like instead of both a Camry and a Tahoe, they buy one Highlander or Explorer that can fill both roles. Many times, its a crossover that fits the family and their budget better than a sedan. We’ve already seen that over and over.

        But, Nissan isn’t stupid for this. Hell no! They’re not an American company, after all, obviously their decision is logical and based on fact. Totally unlike Ford, they’re just randomly guessing, throwing darts in the dark, totally clueless. And that isn’t biased thinking at all.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          Uh sure…Apart from that bailout thing when US manufacturers abandoned cars and all – sure. Just turn the tap and out comes a car….

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          What evidence do you have that the cars were losing money? Maybe we’ll start with that prior to dissecting your well, we’ll call it an argument I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Many feel Ford did this as a “wild” move to show Wall Street how forward they are. I don’t think the cars were losing any money at all. But I’m not an industry insider like some are on here.

            So if they were losing money how long has Ford been taking these losses? And if they’re losing money on cars then is everybody? So everybody is stupid for offering cars in their lineups?

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      They did the same 15 years ago (look up Primera and Almera), it’s nothing new to Nissan.

  • avatar
    Ce he sin

    No, the Leaf isn’t the last non-utility compact.

    There’s still the Micra, which was renewed only last year.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So not only do Europeans get the cars we want, they don’t get the cars we don’t want. Life is so unfair.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      You want a Nissan Sentra by another name? Go buy one and order some Pulsar badges off eBay.

      And who is this “we”? Got a mouse in the pocket? Because “we” couldn’t represent the market at large. Oh, you mean “we” as in people on the internet who say they want all these cars, but won’t buy them when they’re offered because the steering wheel is too thin or the back seat armrest feels cheap.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    so why are Europe and Russia so lucky?

    and why just the compacts?

  • avatar
    Styles

    The same happened here in NZ last year, all conventional sedans and hatches chopped. Altima, Pulsar, and Micra gone. GT-R and 370Z continue.

  • avatar

    The main difference of courses is that Ford is cutting cars in their home market. Nissan is just getting out of Europe. Ford is still the king of being awful.

    Ford – what a disgrace!!!

    Market Summary > Ford Motor Company
    Follow
    NYSE: F
    9.34 USD +0.030 (0.32%)
    Still under 10 – What a disgrace!!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Of courses! What a disgrace! Because the market here isn’t rejecting cars, only there! What a disgraceseseses!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Nissan isn’t getting out of Europe.

      They stopped selling compact-mid size cars about 15 years ago to concentrate on CUVs. (It was their Ford US moment)

      They’re still selling in Europe, and the Micra previous sub-compact has grown in size to be a compact.

      The Pulsar wasn’t a competitive product, got mediocore reviews. They’re stopping selling it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’ve seen the American land barge give way to foreign compacts give way to minivans give way to SUVs built on BOF give way to CUVs which will give way to….

  • avatar

    Nissan still sells Renaults in Europe.

  • avatar
    HaveNissanWillTravel

    Nissan nomenclature can be a little confusing because the Russian Nissan Almera is of course based on the Pulsar but the Nissan Almera in Southeast Asia is based on the Versa called the Latio but the Latio name used to be just for JDM Versas. Not so much based but is pretty much the same car. Just as the Renault Scala was just a different engined and fascia’d version of the Versa. They are all Nissan V-platform cars which are also based on the K13 Micra.

  • avatar
    thepolice1988

    I always thought that the Nissan Pulsar was completely pointless. Never saw too many of them, either.

    This is the list of cars it competed with:

    – VW Golf: obviously, and all it’s derivatives: Audi A3 (luxury), Seat Leon (fast in FR trim), Skoda Octavia (big and cheap),
    – Opel/Vauxhall Astra (cheap, surprisingly comfy),
    – Ford Focus (also cheap, surprisingly sporty),
    – several French cars: Renault Megané, Peugeot…, Citroen… (cheap, weird)
    – and Italian (Fiat…) compact cars (cheap, can be had in nice colors),
    – Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed (everlasting),
    – Toyota Corolla/Auris and Prius (boring but indestructible),
    – Honda Civic (weird looking),
    – Mazda 3 (very good but noisy),
    – Mercedes A-Class (expensive),
    – BMW 1-Series (rear-wheel drive)
    – etc., etc.

    The Nissan Pulsar didn’t stand out in any way at all, other than being a Nissan. So, good riddance, I guess.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    Actually, Nissan did this about 15 years ago in Europe. It was as shocking then as the recent Ford US car news is now.

    They axed the Almera compact hatch and Primera midsize sedan/hatch.

    They then concentracted on the crossover SUVs Qashqai (Rogue sport) and Juke, to great success admittedly.

    It was only in 2014 when they decided to get back into the competitive compact market, but the Pulsar was a forgettable product, and the Micra had grown in size to cater for most compact buyers, while also looking sharper and more competitive.

    The compact sector in Europe is safe, Focus is still selling well, Toyota are introducing a new Corolla, Skoda are rejigging their Rapid into a Golf shaped car.

    Just the Pulsar didn’t set pulses racing, or something like that what motoring journalists might write.


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