Nissan must have read, Sway concept hints at new Micra

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).Nissan_Sway-concept-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015

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.Nissan_Sway-concept-car-Geneva_Auto_Show-2015

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!

  1. Bart, I agree this is a promising first step towards a nice new Micra, one that could take the fight to the Fiesta, Polo, Clio etc. However, it’s far from certain this really good-looking concept will necessarily translate into a great production car, as Nissan has a history of showing off amazing concepts, but then botching the production car execution (Ellure concept vs. Altima production car, Maxima Sport Sedan Concept vs Maxima production car)

    1. Hi Krzysztof,
      the Maxima Sport Sedan Concept was indeed an amazing design, but I wouldn’t call the final result badly executed. For a production car, it’s still pretty good looking and no wallflower at all. If there were a market for large non-premium brand sedans in Europe, I’d love to see the Maxima in the streets of Amsterdam.
      I found the Ellure a bit so-so for a concept vehicle, and although the Altima is much less sexy than the Maxima, it still looks better than the Camry and Accord. There’s just a very limited bandwidth a midsized sedan can stray off the middle of the road design-wise, as the huge sales figures of those other two cars prove.
      If the step from the Sway concept car to the production-version Micra is similar to that of the Maxima, I think Nissan will have one of the best looking subcompact cars in the market.
      I suddenly realize that making a concept car is a delicate matter for a brand: make it too much like the final production version, and you’ll reveal too much too early and risk the design already looking “old” when it hits the showrooms, but making it too extravagant would increase the risk of disappointing those who had hoped it to go into production unchanged.

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