Geneva 2010: Nissan Juke Designed for Europe, Destined for U.S.

Automobile Staff
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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the all-new small Juke crossover at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show today and announced that it will be sold in the United States but didn’t say when. A Nissan insider confirmed for us, though, that it will go on sale this fall, at the same time it hits European dealerships. It will be built in both a plant in the U.K. and one in Japan; U.S.-bound Jukes will come from Japan.

According to our source, the Juke is the widest-track derivation yet of Nissan’s global B platform, which already underpins our Versa subcompact and Cube whatchamacallit. The Juke will be powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 188 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. A CVT is certain for the U.S.A., he confirms; what’s not yet decided is whether we’ll also get a manual gearbox. Given Nissan’s stated sporty purpose for the Juke, we think they should provide a manual as an option. The Juke was designed at Nissan’s studio in London, which is headed up by Miami native Alfonso Albaisa. We caught up with Albaisa on the Nissan stand in Geneva shortly after the Juke’s unveiling: “We got a project brief [from management] to expand Nissan’s crossover lineup with something smaller. We were asked to design a crossover for a young guy who really doesn’t want a crossover. He’s aware of our Qashqai [a big-selling crossover in Europe], but maybe his older brother has one for his family; it’s not so much for him. His taste is a little more adventurous, and he hasn’t considered Nissan before. “Our defined target in this case was a guy, 33 years old, who lives in Europe. He’s very active, he’s just starting to be successful, and he wants something that says he’s unique. The Nissan lineup didn’t really have that, and that’s why this project got the green light. “The Juke was born in Europe, but it’s [designed to address] a global [audience]. The mixing of the toughness with the sports car sleekness was the concept.” Running his hands along the Juke’s sculpted flanks, Albaisa continues, “this kind of movement [to the surfaces] is not really SUV.” He also points out “the very straight roof” and the so-called “gas tank” lower center console as Juke design highlights. Interior designer Patrick Reimer “very deliberately was inspired by motorcycles,” says Albaisa, “and now the gas tank is the signature [interior design element]. It will be available either in red or silver. This is definitely not an SUV [design cue].” -Joe DeMatio

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