The Nissan Qashqai Coming to the U.S. Shows What’s Wrong with the Industry
Is the SUV craze running out of control?by Ciprian Florea, on
So Nissan finally brought the Qashqai to the U.S., where it will be sold as the Rogue Sport and slot between the familiar Juke and Rogue models. A very popular crossover in Europe and Nissan’s best-selling nameplate in certain countries, the Rogue Sport comes to strengthen the companies presence on the highly profitable SUV market. It remains to be seen whether it will be successful or not, but a comparison with the Rogue reveals what’s wrong with the whole auto industry today.
A quick look at the numbers shows that the Rogue Sport is only 12.1 inches shorter and a tenth inch narrower than the Rogue. For a vehicle that’s more than four meters long, 12 inches isn’t that much and in this case it doesn’t make a very big difference on the inside since the Rogue Sport’s wheelbase is only 2.3 inches shorter. What’s more, the Qashqai is only 10 inches shorter and more than an inch wider than the first-generation Rogue. Why is that important you ask? Well, like most modern vehicles, Nissan made the second-generation Rogue larger than its predecessor, applying the same "buyers want more room and a more rugged appearance" strategy.
So basically it designed the Rogue with a bigger footprint back in 2012, and some years later it decided that it needs a smaller crossover that’s not as small as the Juke on the U.S. market. It’s pretty much what a lot of automakers have done in recent years.
Continue reading for the full story.
Honda and Kia Have Done it Too
Honda, for instance, made the CR-V increasingly bigger over the years and recently it introduced the HR-V, which is marginally smaller than the first-gen CR-V. The same goes for Kia, which just introduced the Niro below the Sportage. The new subcompact crossover is some five inches shorter than the fourth-generation Sportage and just as big as the first-gen model. Not to mention that five inches don’t really matter, especially since the Niro’s wheelbase is actually 1.2 inches longer.
It doesn’t sound like any of these companies have a solid strategy as far as ergonomics go, but this isn’t surprising. The SUV boom is at its peak and carmakers are rushing to launch as many crossover-related products as possible. Soon enough, Hyundai will probably release its very own Niro that will be about the same size as the first-generation Tucson.
Now I’m not saying that the Rogue Sport won’t become popular with compact crossover drivers. Chances are it will, and will most definitely help increase Nissan sales in the U.S. But, on the other hand, it will bite into both Juke and Rogue sales. Basically some of the Rogue Sport’s sales will cover for the decreases that other Nissan crossovers will suffer. Having as many products as possible might be good for marketing, but it’s doesn’t necessarily translate into significantly higher sales. Not in this case anyway...
Read our full review on the Nissan Rogue Sport here.