NISSAN PULLS OUT OF EUROPE’S COMPACT CAR MARKET

Nissan has announced it will end sales of two compact cars in Europe and Russia, citing a consumer swing away toward utilities in the segment.

It follows General Motors’ announcement it would to cease production of right hand drive vehicles, and Honda’s decision to significantly cut its Australian Dealer network and adopt an agency model, as it has in New Zealand.

Nissan stopped building the Pulsar hatchback for Europe in June and will end production of the Almera sedan in Russia later this year, the company said.

The decision was made in response to “a rapidly increasing switch by European customers from traditional vehicle segments to crossovers,” Nissan said in a statement. “The story in Russia is similar,” a spokesman said. The electric Leaf is the only remaining non-SUV compact car sold by Nissan in Europe.

The Pulsar was launched in 2014 to give Nissan a competitor to cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, and fill a gap in Nissan’s range in Europe that had existed since the automaker ended production of the original Almera compact in 2006. Nissan predicted European annual sales of 64,000 for the Pulsar but last year the model sold just 25,221, according to figures from market researchers JATO Dynamics. The car was produced in Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, Spain.

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