The first quarter of 2020 was rough for vehicle sales, but that dry spell seems to have come to a close for Nissan Canada. The automaker reported strong sales for the first quarter of 2021. Here’s a look at the sales figures and the hottest sellers.
Compared to the first quarter of 2020, Nissan Canada’s sales were up by 29.4 percent. In terms of raw numbers, during the first quarter of 2020, Nissan saw 19,663 sales. In 2021, Nissan made 25,082 sales during the same time frame.
Once again, the Rogue held the honour of being the automaker’s hottest-selling model. This year, Nissan sold 9,218 units of the all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue. 2020 only saw 5,518 sales, which when compared to 2021, translates to a whopping 67.1 percent increase. The latest generation of the Rogue gained completely refreshed styling, inside and out. But the changes were more than skin deep — it also gained the comprehensive Nissan Safety Shield 360 driver-assist technology suite as a standard feature across its entire lineup. It’s even slated to gain a turbo engine.
In addition to marking the start of the nameplate’s eighth generation, the 2021 Rogue attracted drivers with its family-focused features. “The all-new Rogue was purposefully designed to meet all of the needs of today’s young families,” stated Mike Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. Marketing and Sales.
THE STYLISH KICKS DRAWS IN YOUNG DRIVERS
In March of 2021, the Kicks saw its strongest month of sales yet. It moved 4,423 models, which constitutes an uptick of 66 percent compared to 2020. For 2021, the Kicks added standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as larger touch screen options, with the goal of attracting younger buyers who enjoy staying connected on the go. In addition to its tech updates, it gained an updated interior, new colour combinations, additional wheel styles, and available LED headlights.
THE COMMUTER-FRIENDLY SENTRA
The Sentra also saw quite a boom — with 2,245 models sold, its sales increased by 92.9 percent. For the latest model year, the fuel-efficient Nissan Sentra gained standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Top trims added available Wi-Fi connectivity and NissanConnect remote services.
The all-new 2021 Rogue has no doubt been a strong driver for sales. And with the 2022 Frontier on the horizon, it seems that the automaker’s upward sales trend will continue.
Looking for Your Next Family Vehicle? Check out the 2021 Nissan Rogue
Ever wanted a little more efficiency from your Nissan Rogue?
Well, it seems that there’s a new three-cylinder turbo engine in the works for the popular crossover. And according to Nissan Canada, it’s not the only model that’s about to go turbo. Here’s what we know so far.
According to EPA estimates, this upcoming three-cylinder dynamo will deliver 30 mpg under city driving conditions, 37 mpg on the highways, and up to 33 mpg combined when equipped with front-wheel drive at the base trim level. With all-wheel drive, the figures stay the same, but with a slight decrease in highway fuel economy — it’ll get 36 mpg instead of 37. On higher (and heavier) trims equipped with all-wheel drive, these figures drop to 29 mpg city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.
Here’s how the other Rogue engine stacks up, for comparison purposes. At the base trim level, the current four-cylinder Rogue offers 27 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. With AWD and a higher trim level, those figures drop to 25 mpg on the city streets, 32 mpg when cruising on the highway, and 28 mpg combined.
So, where else will we see this efficient turbo mill? It’s too soon to tell, but it seems that Nissan has plans to explore its options. In response to an inquiry by CarScoops, Nissan Canada stated, “We are planning a small pilot program with a potential new powertrain, utilizing the 2021 Nissan Rogue.” It’s expected that the turbo-powered mill will make its way to the rest of the North American market.
About the 2021 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue was fully redesigned for the latest model year. Its updates include an available motion-activated tailgate, class-exclusive Tri-Zone Climate Control, and a newly available wireless smartphone charger. It also offers new available ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link, a driver-assist tech tool that allows for the intelligent cruise control feature to reduce speed based on upcoming curves and junctions on the highway.
Next signals signal a new business approach and the changing of the culture of the automaker
Nissan exported its Datsun small cars to become the automaker’s ambassador brand in North America 60 years ago, but not before replacing Joseph “the Prince of Darkness” Lucas’s electrical systems with reliable Japanese components.
Innovative engineering helped make the British Austin-inspired Bluebird a minor curiosity when it landed here. By 1971 Datsun was the top-selling import automaker in Canada, offering exceptional cars like the Datsun 510 and the 240Z sports car. In an alignment with its global brand, the Datsun nameplate was replaced with the Nissan badge in 1985.
The 1990s weren’t kind to Nissan. Financial difficulties prompted it to form an alliance with France’s Renault in 1999, which paved the way for Carlos Ghosn to bring his cost-cutting skills to Japan. He spearheaded an aggressive downsizing campaign that brought Nissan back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Ghosn stepped down as Nissan president in 2017 and was dismissed outright in 2018 following his arrest for allegedly underreporting his income to Japanese authorities. Ghosn’s fall from grace – he had been an executive rock star in Japan – seemed to cast a shadow in showrooms. Nissan’s global sales fell 10.6 percent last year, although it may have had more to do with the automaker’s ageing product line.
Enter Steve Milette, president of Nissan Canada, who joined the firm in 2017 as vice-president of sales operations. He acknowledges that Nissan needed a deep rethink, which formed the basis for the Nissan NEXT product plan, unveiled earlier in 2020. Glimpses of the next-generation Z sports car, the Ariya electric crossover SUV, and redesigned Kicks, Rogue and other models have piqued buyers’ interest.
“Nissan NEXT is our transformational plan. Not only does it signal a new business approach, it’s also about changing the culture of the company,” says Milette. Central to the plan is the launch of 10 all-new and redesigned models over 20 months – an ambitious timetable that promises to make up for lost time.
Canadians have already seen some of the new wheels gathering in Nissan’s showrooms. The official launch of the redesigned Rogue – Nissan’s biggest volume seller – got a rousing reception from Nissan dealers.
“The new Rogue goes head-to-head with the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, yet it’s a class above in terms of fit and finish, along with its luxury cues,” says Milette. “It’s generated a lot of excitement and positive media coverage for us.”
The redesigned Sentra arrived at the worst possible moment – just as the pandemic lockdown began in mid-March – yet sales of the compact sedan grew by 44 per cent right out of the gate, Milette points out. The 2021 Sentra has already received a boost in content, while the sporty SR variant features a manual transmission at a time when the stickshift may very become a museum piece.
Sometimes corporate plans require culling the field. The diminutive Micra subcompact has been unceremoniously dropped from Nissan’s lineup – production ended in Mexico in December 2019 – although dealers had enough stock to sell it through 2020.
Budget-minded buyers might lament the demise of the $10,000 Micra, but Milette says Nissan has resurrected the Versa sedan as the replacement entry-level model – although its starting price of $16,495 doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
Milette counters that the 2021 Versa is packed with value, including air conditioning and helpful driver-assist safety features such as lane departure warning and pedestrian detection. It’s also a considerably bigger sedan than the tiny Micra hatchback.
“The all-new Versa is part of our one-two punch in the sedan segment, offering the subcompact Versa and compact Sentra to buyers on a budget,” explains Milette. “Our dealers also saw an opportunity for fleet sales with the Versa.”
Milette notes that Canadians are a little more preoccupied with the “quest for value” than our American neighbours, which is why Nissan is keen to plumb the economy end of the market. The redesigned 2021 Kicks represents another entry-level product, this time in the hot-selling subcompact crossover segment.
“One of the effects of the pandemic is the movement towards low-cost commuter vehicles,” says Milette. Having embraced the work-at-home trend, city dwellers are relocating to the countryside – a groundswell that has more Millennials taking up car ownership for the first time. Nissan wants to be their car company with affordable “gateway” models like the Versa and Kicks.
Nissan is more than just economy cars, of course. It’s revamping its entire lineup with an eye to sparking excitement in a brand that’s sometimes been overlooked by shoppers. To do that, Nissan revisited its legacy nameplates.
It may not have broken the Internet, but the Z Proto reveal in September certainly generated some buzz. Video of a pearlescent yellow sports coupe carving up a test track has been viewed 1.4 million times, representing more than a few driving enthusiasts pining for a sleek, twin-turbo sports car.
“They could have made another SUV. We are glad they didn’t,” reads one grateful post online. The retro-styled Z is expected to be released in the first half of 2022.
Just unveiled is the 2021 Armada luxury SUV, a true body-on-frame sport-utility that’s more chiselled and hard-edged than the outgoing model. The Frontier mid-size pickup will be redesigned for the first time in 16 years, powered by a new 3.8-litre V-6 that debuted in the 2020 model. And slotting between the little Kicks and the compact Rogue is the Qashqai crossover, the 2022 version sporting the Rogue’s headlight treatment and a more tapered greenhouse.
Key to Nissan’s future – and that of every automaker – is electrification. But unlike many manufacturers, the Japanese company has a past in this segment. After all, it’s the maker of the world’s bestselling all-electric car, the Leaf.
“We just marked the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Nissan Leaf, with one-half million sold around the world to date,” notes Milette. “As pioneers in the EV space, we’re committed to electrification.”
Leafs have accumulated 16 billion kilometres to date and kept an estimated 2.5 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Milette adds. Nissan intends to build on its momentum by selling one million electrified vehicles by 2023, thanks to its upcoming model, the Ariya.
This all-electric crossover will feature a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and two battery choices: standard 65 kWh with an output of 160 kW (215 horsepower) and a battery range of 321 km, or a 90 kWh pack with 290 kW (389 hp) of output with a range of 482 km. Not to mention the Ariya looks very cool.
Beyond its revamped product line, Nissan is striving to change the customer experience.
Its new Nissan Studio provides consumers with an up-close look at the bestselling models on display in a futuristic “product salon.” Physical vehicles are surrounded with an array of technology and accessory feature displays. The interactive website lets visitors speak with experts in real-time, and participate in one-on-one sessions or live product group tours in either English or French.
“Our showrooms will be different,” says Milette. “The recipes of the past are not the recipes of the future.”
Dual electric motors give driver enhanced control and acceleration
Nissan today launched the all-new Note e-POWER AWD compact car, with dual electric motors that give the driver enhanced control and acceleration.
The car comes exclusively with Nissan’s e-POWER electrified powertrain and is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in early 2021. The introduction of the all-wheel-drive model follows last month’s launch of the two-wheel-drive Nissan Note, which went on sale today.
The Note AWD’s electric motors in the front and rear deliver power to each wheel, resulting in a new level of driving experience. Increased rear-motor output enables a powerful standing start and mid-speed acceleration in a variety of driving conditions, such as snowy or wet roads. The car’s all-wheel control also enables accurate cornering and stable, smooth deceleration, with regenerative braking available on all four wheels.
Both the 2WD and 4WD models feature the second generation of Nissan’s acclaimed e-POWER electric powertrain. e-POWER offers linear and exhilarating acceleration that is unique to the 100% electric motor driven system, which has now been extensively redesigned and optimized. The system produces more power, a higher-quality driving experience, improved efficiency and cabin quietness.
Since December 1, people across Canada have a unique opportunity to discover Nissan’s latest products from the comfort of their living room, office or anywhere else thanks to a new virtual experience called Nissan Studio.
The two models initially featured are the Sentra compact sedan and the completely redesigned 2021 Rogue compact SUV. Others will be added early next year.
Nissan Studio is an interactive website that lets visitors speak with product experts in real-time, ask questions in a private setting, and participate in one-on-one sessions or live group tours.
“The consumer experience has changed significantly over the past year, and we’ve had to adapt how we connect with our customers in response,” said Adam Paterson, director of marketing, Nissan Canada. “The Nissan Studio signifies our evolution into this space, allowing us to bring the best of the showroom into the homes of Canadians everywhere.”
Visitors can explore the vehicles to learn about their various features, specifications and interior amenities, but also check out various accessories and options offered at the dealership. Obviously, this is no substitute for a test drive, but for everything else that comes before the sale, you no longer have to be there in person.
The service is available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week until March 31, 2021.
Nissan Canada has announced it is expanding the availability of its Safety Shield 360 suite of advanced driver assists by making it standard on 11 models for the 2021 model year.
According to Nissan Canada, the suite’s six features – forward collision detection with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear automatic braking – are already included in the Sentra, Leaf, Maxima, Qashqai and Titan.
What we know for sure is that, for 2021, Nissan’s Kicks, Rogue, Pathfinder, Armada, Murano and Altima will add Safety Shield 360 to their entry-level models. Some of those cars were already standard with some advanced driver assists or could be optioned with them, so here’s a model-by-model look at which features the base models of each of those vehicles gain in their adoption of Safety Shield 360.
Nissan’s Kicks subcompact crossover gains automatic high beams in its transition to the 2021 model year. The 2020 version already includes the other five elements of the company’s safety suite.
The 2021 Rogue compact utility vehicle has an all-new design. The Rogue’s outgoing 2020 model has forward automatic collision detection with automatic braking, but the new version gains a pedestrian detection function. Also new to the 2021 model are auto high beams, lane departure warning, and rear automatic braking.
Nissan’s five-seat mid-size SUV offering, the Murano, currently only comes with basic forward collision detection with automatic braking. For 2021, its base model gains a pedestrian detection function, plus the other five Safety Shield 360 items.
New to the mid-sized, three-row Pathfinder are forward pedestrian detection (it already had collision detection with automatic braking), rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, automatic headlights, lane departure alert, and rear automatic braking.
The full-size Armada SUV already boasts rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning with auto-braking. For 2021, Safety Shield 360 brings forward pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.
Finally, the 2020 Altima family sedan comes standard with only forward collision warning with auto braking, so the 2021 version adds automatic high beams, lane departure warning, forward pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Was it worth the wait? That’s the big question surrounding the Nissan Ariya, the Japanese automaker’s all-electric crossover that was launched today during a virtual event at the Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama.
Along with Tesla Motors, Nissan has been at the forefront of the global, decade-long EV charge with its affordable Leaf model, which as of this writing is closing in on the half-a-million sold mark. For fans of that model, and the automaker itself, it’s been a long wait for the next Nissan EV.
Nissan’s first all-electric CUV has arrived and while it will still be some months before we get the opportunity to drive the Ariya, the specs that were released today, along with a few dozen exterior and interior images, are very encouraging indeed.
Here’s what we do know:
The Ariya will be available in either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive configurations and will come with two battery choices: a standard 65 kWh with an output of 160 kW (215 horsepower), torque of 221 lbs.-ft and a full-charge range of 321 kilometres; and a long-range 90 kWh pack with an output of 290 kW (389 hp), torque of 443 lbs.-ft and a range of 482 km (ranges are preliminary Nissan estimates). Each battery pack is available in either the two-wheel or four-wheel models.
A centrepiece of the Ariya’s drivetrain technology is that all-wheel-drive system, dubbed e-4ORCE. As with the Leaf’s revolutionary e-Pedal system, which introduced the concept of one-pedal driving, this twin electric motor represents a big leap forward for AWD EVs. It is, according to Nissan press notes, “the progeny of the Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque split system.”
The system is designed to apply independent brake control at each of the four wheels to maximize the cornering force generated by each one, in addition to optimizing front and rear torque allocation. All this promises to provide a very direct steering input feel, all the while managing power output and braking performance. And, regenerative torque is distributed to all four wheels.
In addition to having e-Pedal, the Ariya also comes equipped with the latest iteration of Nissan’s advanced driver assistance technology, ProPILOT Assist 2.0. This form of driving assistance, working with a full suite of active safety features, allows for some hands-off driving and hints at that autonomous future we keep being told is coming soon.
There are no such subtle hints to that future when it comes to the Ariya’s cabin, described in press notes as a ‘lounge’ and embracing a design philosophy that Nissan refers to as ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism.’ Looking at the images of the interior, particularly the thin seats and spacious legroom front and rear, the Ariya appears to be the first production vehicle to incorporate the autonomous cockpit we have seen in concept vehicles of the past half-decade.
The Ariya’s all-new EV platform — called the Alliance CMF-EV — allows for a flat and open floor, and designers took full advantage, even moving all the climate control components that are typically located by the front occupants’ feet to the empty space in the crossover’s front hood.
To enhance that sense of minimalism, the Ariya’s instrument panels are devoid of buttons and switches. Instead, capacitive haptic switches allow for the same mechanical feel by vibrating when touched. And the two horizontal display screens running across three-quarters of the dashboard complete that futuristic, yet very functional, feel. Another nod to our possible autonomous future is a centre storage box and foldout tray that provides room for a laptop, or a meal.
The adjustable centre console can be moved to suit the driving conditions — from ‘I’m in full control’ mode to ‘stop-and-go one-pedal’ mode – and features a small, fit-in-your-palm shifter and haptic drive mode controls.
Which brings us to the exterior, which isn’t that too far removed from crossover design in 2020, but still with enough interesting nuances to tell you something is different about this vehicle. Most notable is the front grille featuring a shield that incorporates a 3D traditional Japanese kumiko pattern. It’s not just for show though, as it provides a stylish cover for sensors used for driver assistance functions. Thin LED headlamps feature four 20mm mini-projectors and are arranged in Nissan’s V-motion design language, albeit a new, EV-inspired one. Likewise, the rear of the Ariya gets some special treatment, including a one-piece light blade that gives a blackout effect when in park and a consistent red illumination when in use, day or night.
Ariya is offered with six two-tone exterior paint combinations, each sporting a black roof, and three full-body colours.
Pricing has yet to be released, and it’s expected to go on sale in Canada in the latter part of 2021.