And, following hard on the heels of September 1's launch of the heavily revised Primera, the Japanese manufacturer is confident that the European design of both cars will mark an end to the company's 'worthy but dull' image associated with its Far East-designed vehicles. The debut of Nissan's first European-built lower medium segment car - it will be built exclusively for Europe at the continent's most efficient and productive plant in Sunderland, alongside the Primera and Micra - follows the heavy involvement of the Bedfordshire-based Nissan European Technology Centre in the design, engineering and development.
Nissan claims industry firsts for a volume manufacturer in the sector include three-dimensional satellite navigation, active anti-whiplash'head restraints and engine technology which exceeds 2005 European emissions legislation. Full details of specification, trim and pricing will not be announced until closer to launch.
However, if the new Almera is to become a force in the sector it will have to make its presence felt much more than the current model given the strength of the competition - Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 306 and Volkswagen Golf. Internally, the Almera is understood to have been based on the Golf.