Nissan trusts the recovery of sales in Europe to the new Qashqai. Gianluca de Fitchy, president of the brand in the Old Continent, answered with a resounding yes when asked about it in an interview with the. It is the most relevant model in the volume and profitability of Nissan and to drive the position of the brand in Europe.

Nissan is launching the third generation of this model which was a pioneer in the creation of the SUV segment and which has maintained the leadership for more than a decade. Of course, when it arrived it did not have more than 20 current competitors. Also, he explains that this car introduces the technologies that the customer is demanding of them, such as the autonomous driving assistant profile and it will be the ambassador of the power system.

The latter is a hybrid system that the brand already uses in Japan in models such as the Note or the Serena, the Note ePower being the best-selling variant of this model in its country of origin. It is not a hybrid solution. I say you have to try it because it is more like driving an electric vehicle. Fundamentally, it is 100% electric traction, according to De Fitchy.

Specifically, it consists of a gasoline engine that generates electricity that goes to the battery. This in turn provides the energy for the electric drive that ends up moving the wheels. The combustion engine is not associated with traction, hence the executive speaks of the smooth running of the Qashqai.

Of course, despite the comfort, this solution is hybrid and emits CO2 above 50 grams per kilometer, the limit that the European Union considers for a vehicle to be considered as low-emission. Also, in Spain, and today with the existing environmental labels, the Qashqai ePower would be considered ECO, below the plug-in hybrids that are zero emissions.

The new SUV with this innovative system will arrive in our country next year. Also in 2021 Renault will introduce the new Kadjar, its half brother in the Renault Nissan Alliance. Although the two extremes within it have taken different paths in hybridization.

While the French brand has developed the e-Tech versions, the Japanese opted for the ePower. Thus, Kadjar and Qashqai will be based on the same CMF platform but will mount different drives. The French will be able to count on plug-in hybrid technology; the Japanese car, no.

However, De Fitchy does not believe that Renault has a competitive advantage thanks to that alternative. The ePower will make Nissan a differentiated brand. We wanted this propulsion to be the standard for Nissan in Europe. However, the market moves very fast, so we look at all options that benefit the consumer. We have a mind open in this regard, but I consider our solution to be the most viable, sustainable, and value-added for customers today.

Regarding emissions, Nissan meets the COFFEE objectives thanks to the electric Leaf, a position that will benefit from the arrival of the Ariya, its first battery-powered SUV, in the second half of this year. That is why he said that they are monitoring all regions and “regulatory changes such as those that affect taxation that occur at the local level and that affect the final price of vehicles.

In this sense, he believes that access to the center of cities with combustion vehicles will be progressively prohibited, first in the big ones and then in the small ones. This will also affect the commercial vehicle market. For the manager, his brand is well-positioned in the growing last-mile delivery market. We have renewed the NV250, NV300, and NV400. And it is planned to replace the eNV200 the battery-powered van that is made today in the Barcelona Free Zone] with the eNV250  and to electrify the range.

Speaking of the closure of industrial operations in Spain, the executive affirms that they continue working to explain the reasons for leaving the country and collaborating with unions and governments to find an alternative. Initially, there was indeed a negative perception of the brand, but I am confident that we can progressively restore the position we had before.

As for the Spanish market as a whole, he expects that restriction will be lifted as of the second quarter, with which sales will recover. With the good running of the Juke and with the arrival of the Qashqai, Nissan hopes to erase the bad start to the year, in which its sales until February have fallen by 55%.

Qashqai is produced in the UK. However, the fact that a Brexit exit has been agreed gives them certainty and will ensure that this model does not lose competitiveness. Besides, there will be no tariff surcharge that penalizes it compared to its rivals made in the continent.