The Nissan Qashqai is not an SUV. But it is certainly not an off-road vehicle and certainly not a boring compact middle class. It is a compact crossover that you see everywhere these days. Look out the window and there is bound to be a car like this on your own street, maybe even in your own driveway.
Fifteen years ago, however, a crossover was still a rarity. Not everyone realized that Nissan had come up with something very clever with the Qashqai. In 2006, the curtain was lifted off the Qashqai at the Paris Motor Show. People were amazed not only by the appearance, but also by the name. Qashqai, how do you write that? And what does it actually mean? Is it an exotic drink from Japan, preferably to be ordered on a balmy summer evening?
The Nissan Qashqai was a gamble
Nissan knew better. The brand still had the Almera in the price list, but it did not stand out among the many competitors. What are you doing then? The idea: to compete with cars like the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus, you don’t have to make a shameless imitation. Nissan thought it was time for a stir, the segment had to be shaken up with something that nobody knew yet. The Almera successor therefore became a car that – in the positive sense of the word – resembled nothing.
It was exciting whether the Qashqai would catch on. When a draft version was presented in 2004, the press was not over enthusiastic. Was this the best of both worlds (suv and hatchback) or the opposite?
Nissan decided to persevere, despite the criticism. And that was wise. The Qashqai – not named after an exotic drink, but after an Iranian nomadic people – turned out to be the best of both worlds. The seating position was higher, so you had a better view of the road. At the same time, the dimensions were compact, so you did not have to worry about narrow streets in an old city center, or searching for a parking space for hours. Moreover, he looked just a bit tougher. There was even a four-wheel drive version, so that the Qashqai could weather any snowstorm.
Surprising milestone for the Qashqai
Although Nissan suspected the Qashqai could be quite a success, there was some surprise when the first orders were placed. The brand hoped for 100,000 orders a year, but once the compact crossover hit the showroom in 2007, things went much faster.
“After four years, six months and 23 days, one million Qashqais had been built”
In the first year of sales, more than 5000 Qashqais were ordered in the Netherlands alone. The delivery time was up to 15 months. If it continued like this, the predicted number of 100,000 models sold per year would easily be surpassed. That is why additional people were hired at the Sunderland plant to meet the demand. The counter kept on running. After four years, six months and 23 days, Nissan had already built a million Qashqais in Sunderland.
Qashqai gets a facelift and becomes cashcow
In 2008 a new variant was introduced: the Qashqai +2. It had a longer wheelbase and a third row of seats. Two years later, the crossover received an extensive facelift, especially at the front you could see the differences well. When the first Qashqai waved goodbye, Nissan had sold an average of 200,000 a year. Yes, the Qashqai became a cash cow.
A new Nissan Qashqai in 2014 and 2021
In 2014, the first Qashqai was relieved and we were able to test the new Quashqai. It became longer, wider, lower, tougher, chic and safer. Despite the increased competition, the Netherlands still loved the car. Again more than 5000 people bought one. The Qashqai + 2 disappeared, but those who wanted a seven-seater could opt for the X-Trail. Success continued. To date, more than three million copies have been sold in Europe and more than five million worldwide.
The third generation of the Nissan Qashqai (2021) faces a tough task with so many competitors. But Nissan is full of confidence: only one brand can be the inventor of a whole new car segment.
Source: Autowereld.com by www.autowereld.com.
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