Nissan pledges to keep it quirky after cutting Cube

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TOKYO -- Nissan pledges to add an “iconic” design to keep its lineup quirky after cutting two of the brand’s most polarizing nameplates, the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet.

Andy Palmer, the chief planning officer who wants to make Nissan known for styling as well as technology, says the brand needs a head-turner to underscore its innovative image.

Since 2009, that role had been filled by the boxy Cube compact, which detractors dubbed the rolling refrigerator. Nissan pushed the design envelope again in 2011, when it introduced the Murano CrossCabriolet, a convertible version of its Murano crossover.

Both of those slow-sellers were dropped from the company’s 2015 lineup, but Nissan wants another offering that will generate just as much buzz.

“To be clear, we will morph this space in our portfolio into something iconic,” Palmer told Automotive News in an e-mail. “The space is held to make sure we have something iconic.”

Palmer didn’t offer hints as to what is in the works.

But Nissan has dangled plenty of concepts that would fit the bill. Chief among them is the wedge-shaped BladeGlider, which debuted at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Another might draw from the IDx, a Datsun 510-inspired sporty coupe concept unveiled at the same time.

Nissan has remained tantalizingly vague about any plans to bring these cars to showrooms.

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com. -- Follow Hans on Twitter


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