It appears Nissan has read my post from last week, about how to become Europe’s best selling Asian car brand again, in which I explained my idea that the key to Europe for them lies in the subcompact car segment. The current Micra is a bit too small in size and its looks aren’t appealing enough to the European car buyer. The Toyota Yaris outsells the Micra by more than 100.000 units a year, thanks to being designed in and for Europe, and being produced here as well (in France).
At the Geneva Auto Show this week, Nissan has lifted the curtain from the Sway, a concept car that hints at a future entrant in the subcompact car segment, although Nissan won’t admit outright this will be the new Micra. Its bold design with the trademark V-motion grille, boomerang-shaped rear lights, and floating roof make the Sway a better fit into Nissan’s line-up, whereas the Micra stands out from the rest of the family like a sunburnt gingerhead Englishman in Istanbul. However, I can also see a little influence from Renault in the design, most notably the differently colored section at the bottom of the doors and the rear hatch, with its straight vertical section and the sharp edge around it. Fortunately, with the Kadjar and Qashqai, the design team at Renault-Nissan has proven its ability to keep the brands far enough apart for each to keep its own identity, even if they have to work from a common base.
At 4,01 meters in length, the Sway would also fit perfectly into the subcompact segment, as opposed to the Micra, which somehow falls between a minicar and a subcompact car sizewise. This proves Nissan has gotten the message to take the European subcompact segment serious if it really wants to crack this part of the market.
As almost always with a concept car, no official production plans will be released, but Nissan has already told us the next generation Micra will be built in the Renault factory in Flins, France, alongside the Clio and Zoe EV. Naturally, it will share its platform with the Clio as well.
I personally like Nissan’s current design language and the Sway is no exception. It looks very aggressive and sporty, but it doesn’t seem to compromise on interior space. When translating it into a production model, the lights will become a bit less futuristic, the suicide doors are likely to be dropped, as well as the two-tone paint job, but I hope they keep the originally styled C-pillar, the missing B-pillar and the pronounced belt line. It may be a concept, but if you look past those features, I think it actually looks pretty production-ready. Bring it on, Nissan!