Nissan is giving up on the March and handing development over to Renault

Oh, Nissan. You would not be you if you didn’t follow a week of promising teases of the new Z without some crushing disappointment. Turns out, Nissan is completely giving up on the March, and handing development over to Renault entirely for the next generation. Though it might not seem like a big deal to Z and GT-R fans, the March has been an essential member of the Nissan family since its launch.

According to Autoblog, Nissan’s COO Ashwani Gupta told French newspaper Le Monde that the company would hand over March development to partner Renault for the next generation. It would fall under the alliance’s “leader-follower” strategy, where each company takes the reins on certain types of cars to avoid redundancy. It makes sense, and honestly we’re surprised something like this wasn’t already in place under Carlos “Le Cost Killer” Ghosn.

In a sense this has already happened, as the fifth-generation March, the K14, is built in a Renault plant in France, is available with a lineup of Renault engines, and is only sold in Europe and South Africa. It debuted in 2017, but in Japan the March you get when you walk into a Nissan dealership is still the previous, all-Nissan, K13 generation. However, the K14 is built on a Nissan platform and it’s not uncommon to find the same name used on unrelated cars in different markets (ie, Honda Accord circa 1999). This news, though, seems to imply that there are no plans for a Japan-market March in the next-generation, and that it will only live on in Europe.

In Japan, the March was the compact car to have. Even though it occupied the slot of a compact econobox, it wasn’t just a no-frills widget. Nissan actually poured way more money into the March than they had to, giving it funky variants like the canvas-top convertible (lead image) or high performance variants like the Turbo and Super Turbo. It also formed the basis for the Pike Factory cars such as the Pao, Be-1, and Figaro. Nissan actually made a lot of effort to keep the car interesting.

The March was raced as well, and the car was beloved by creative designer types and enthusiasts alike. It was sort of a VW Beetle or Mini for Japan, in that it offered something for everyone, and throughout it all it remained affordable. It’ll be sad to see the March become something wholly un-Japanese, but hey, synergies. We won’t be surprised if it completely disappears from the Japanese market altogether soon.


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6 Responses to Nissan is giving up on the March and handing development over to Renault

  1. harshith says:

    oh no why they done like that, the renault development of any car will be unpredictable, their gearbox are never good, they understand hot hatchback or car. now i would say the new ceo of nissan is 10000% worst than carlos ghosn

  2. j_tso says:

    I remember in the early 2000s there was also a March that had part time 4WD with an electric rear axle. It was mainly for taking off in the snow.

    Renault is good at making sporty hatchbacks, so I don’t think they’ll mess it up, but it just won’t be the same.

  3. Ken says:

    The French are very good at superminis and they do understand the European market well. It is not easy to make money with this kind of car, so i do think they make the right decission.

  4. Ant says:

    Given the K13 and K14 are pretty uncompetitive (when the Clios sold during the same period were towards the top of the class) it’s not such a bad move. Even the K12 was far from being a class-leader in Europe, but at least unlike the K13 it didn’t feel build down to a price.

  5. F31Roger says:

    I actually never paid attention to European cars specifically. That changed in 2018 when I visited France.

    While it does suck that Nissan is passing the March to it’s Euro counterpart, I agree with j_tso, Renault makes pretty good hatches..

    They were everywhere, even in the countryside… I couldn’t get enough of them honestly. Being that my 1st car was an 93 civic hatch, I’ve always had a thing for small cars and hatches.

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