Nissan Says No AWD Won't Hurt Kicks, Toyota Says Opposite About C-HR

A Toyota exec says that the CH-R's front-drive only setup is hurting sales of the subcompact crossover. But a Nissan product planner thinks that it won't hurt the Kicks.

President of Toyota Motor Sales US, Bob Carter, told Wards Auto that the C-HR's missing all-wheel drive is hurting sales. For the price of the C-HR, buyers are looking for more than just funky styling, they're looking for all-wheel drive. "In the U.S. there’s still a great correlation between size and price point, and we look at vehicles... where the price point is relatively high. When the customer sees it, they’re looking for AWD," Carter said. The feature is offered on all of the best-selling models in the segment. 

In the US, the top eight small crossovers have sold more than 67,000 units each since the C-HR went on sale. The C-HR sits at just under 22,000 sold in the same eight-month period.

But Nissan expects the Kicks to fare better in the market, despite also lacking all-wheel drive. Michael Bunce, senior VP of product planning for Nissan NA told Wards that "we don’t introduce cars in the US – unless they’re the halos (such as) the Zs and the GTRs (sports cars) – under (the) 50,000/60,000 (annual-sales target)."

Nissan thinks that the Kicks will do well in cities with crowded highways and tight parking spots. It's also cheaper than the C-HR. While Canadian pricing isn't available yet, the $19,999 US price of the Kicks undercuts the C-HR by $2,501. At the higher price, Nissan offers the Qashqai, which does offer the option to power all four wheels. The Kicks also offers more tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features Toyota has shied away from.

Driven wheels driving sales 12/11/2017 3:30:36 PM