The Nissan QASHQAI+2, unveiled at the British International Motorshow this week, takes Nissan into the heart of the family car market, pitching it against Zafira and Grand Scenic.
Jean-Phillipe Roux, head of marketing for the crossover vehicle said, "I think we will also see buyers moving from cars like Mondeo"
He admits that buyers probably don't really understand what a crossover is. "They don't wake up in the morning and decide to buy a crossover but they might wake up and decide to buy a QASHQAI, VW Tiguan or Ford Kuga," said Roux.
He says that current QASHQAI has been so successful because of its styling. "It's an emotional purchase, not a rational one," he says.
That will change with QASHQAI+2 which he describes as being an exciting car for the rational family man.
It's the sort of car that will appeal to existing SUV owners as well. "I wouldn't be surprised to see buyers coming from vehicles like Toyota's RAV4," he says.
He is forecasting full year QASHQAI+2 sales to be around 8,000. This means the two QASHQAI models between them will sell about 35,000 - or 40 per cent of total Nissan sales in the UK.
QASHQAI sales at 11,532 for the first half of this year are 40 per cent up on the same period last year. "QASHQAI+2 will help us keep that momentum going."
With new Sunderland-built Micra and a smaller A-class car, the Pixo - based on Suzuki underpinnings - due in 2010 Roux believes Nissan is in a strong position.
But he does admit that the QASHQAI name was something of a challenge to begin with. Now though the fact that the name stands out as something different is proving to be an advantage.Published 23 July 2008