Fleet News

New Almera aims at VW quality

NISSAN is benchmarking the new Nissan Almera against the Volkswagen Golf for quality in a bid to offer class-leading build quality and increase fleet sales. The model, which will be built in Sunderland to become the first lower-medium car from Nissan produced in Europe, goes on sale on March 1, but already carries Nissan's hopes for the future on its shoulders.

Nissan Motor, the Japanese car maker part owned by Renault, has revealed losses of £1.9 billion in the six months to September and warned of further losses. Even the profitable Sunderland plant is suffering, thanks to a strong pound, with profits collapsing from £77 million in 1997 to £23 million last year.

As part of a worldwide reduction in the number of vehicle platforms used by Nissan, the Almera MS platform will also become an MPV, the Tino, built in Barcelona. The Almera is 20mm wider, 55mm higher and 60mm longer than the outgoing model, based around a 30% stiffer structure. It will be powered by three new engines - a 1.5-litre, 1.8-litre and a 2.2-litre direct injection diesel, the first direct injection diesel in a European Nissan. No performance figures have been released.

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