By the time the 20th century, the 21st has always been Nissan’s Japanese leaders had become accustomed to the feeling of despair.
The company had traveled to the edge of the existence of 1999 and the bankruptcy had been averted, only by a bold manoeuvre led by Renault’s Carlos Ghosn. The French manufacturer acquired a 37% majority stake in Nissan for a life-saving $5.4 billion (Â£4.33 bn).
What happened then, is an automotive legend.
Ghosn Foundation-shaking Nissan Revival Plan made to the company by the dangers of the culturally unthinkable in Japan: factories shut down, breaking up cozy and costly ‘keiretsu’ cross-share holding agreements with suppliers, reducing redundancy, and more.
But it worked out. To produce In a surprisingly short order, Nissan will return to the profit zone and started, desirable cars again under the leadership of talented designer Shiro Nakamura. But not in every quarter.
Several of the less than glittering cars were to be scrapped at the end of the development pipe, or significantly changed. One of these is the second generation of the Almera small family hatchback.
It was certainly a serious improvement to the curious barrel-body of the first-generation model, the interior was as welcoming as a broken-down bus shelter on a winter day.
The new version threw the eaten-to-many-cake-look, wearing bowls the rear lights as big as a salad and came up with excitements such as shopping bag hooks, load securing net, and more in the cab corners and edges as a Cheddar gorge cave.
It was also pretty neat in the chassis Department and had no serious errors, as a different rear-legroom deficit. However, the big problem was that it’s not about the brand, and the showroom appeal of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
Once again, Nissan was left with was questions, as ever enjoy the intoxicating success they had seen in the UK in the 1970s, as the Cherry and Sunny, which appeared regularly in Britain’s top 10 best-sellers.
Nissan’s focus-hunting sales targets, were in retreat, as the inaccessible refuge of a chase nightmare. But, despite this, the company is lining was masochistic for a third party pop under a Almera bullseye.
In 2002, its designers and engineers were hard, as chief of product planning, Pierre Loing, told a couple of years later. But Ghosn, now the steering is a robust recovered Nissan, cancelled the program in December.
“Merry Christmas!” was Loing is understandably bitter-sweet reaction to the news. Despite binning a lot of work, Loing knew that Ghosn was right.
The next problem was how to imagine a car decidedly more attractive than a shopping hookkitted Almera. The Ghosn way of the view on a blue sky is not to wait for a vision, but down and to understand what customers want, with a lot of research and analysis.
What emerged was that the C segment, in which the Focus, Golf and Almera were competition was already fragmentation to Minivans and four-wheel drives.
Further research revealed evidence that players are not necessarily the absolute versatility of an MPV, and that, while they liked the chunkily adventurous, high-riding appearance of a four-wheel drive, were you not the mass and complication of the breed.
So maybe it was something in between. From today’s perspective it seems to infer a fairly modest jump, but in the early 2000s, it was only a scientific guess.
“The Qashqai has given birth to a distinctive taste from the theoretical buyer’s emotional and functional needs,” explains product planner, Etienne Henry, in the year 2005. And at this point, two years prior to the project-P32L was ready to go in the sale, the Qashqai buyer was really only in theory.
“Back in 2007 with the introduction of the Qashqai was a risk,” says Nissan Vice-President for Europe, Paul Willcox.
â€œIt was the Definition of a new segment, do not exist, and therefore we were unsure what the reception would be. But it is also incredible, from Start-up through to today. We have numerous press awards, followed by the industry, our leadership and each participant brought a crossover in the segment.
â€œIt is clear that the consumers will love the Qashqai. You can tell that from the number we have sold. We will sell 250,000 cars per year, every year, and there are no signs of a decline in demand, which is remarkable.”
It may be a Nissan-to-tell-in-chief, but the numbers do not say he is wrong. Since the model’s launch in February 2007, Nissan has more than 3.3 million Qashqais of the two generations has sold in 137 countries.
Of which, 2.3 m, its primary market, and 261,429 were bought in Europe in the last year alone. For many, the Qashqai is a Phase in the people makes the driving a car life is tastier than it would have been, in the days when old-fashioned coupons, and rattling stands the only ways.
Some of these writers, the neighbours are a case in point: before children, a BMW 320d coupe, the journey occupied; to have children, it’s a Qashqai.
“When Qashqai was launched in 2007, it was unique in the market,” says Willcox. “It remained as the number one crossover, because it has remained true to its original ideals and objectives, because we have added technology through the car’s life.”
Nissan Sunderland plant has played a major role in the Qashqai’s success, this is the primary supplier. By the end of 2016, it 2,655,551 the 3.3 m total quantity produced.
Of which, 1,752,232 examples of the original model, including the seven-seat Qashqai +2. Not only the UK has produced most of the Qashqais, but much of the creative design and engineering work was carried out in the UK.
Of the 200 people who worked on the original car, 80% of them were resident in the UK, although their task was somewhat facilitated by the use of an existing platform.
By the time the second generation of the Qashqai was still in development, it is 500 people were on the project at Cranfield and it has helped propel Nissan’s European R&D centers to increase towards 50% of the employees.
By the end of 2015, sales of SUVs are achieved, a milestone in Europe, outselling super minis and small hatchbacks for the first time. Many models that have contributed to this, but there is no doubt that the Qashqai lights up the fire of growth.
These days, the quietly conducted a crossover seems a bit ordinary. But expect, that as a further measure of their success: the best ideas are those roots so deep that they become the norm.