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Kamis, 02 Agustus 2012

The Nissan Micra (Nissan March) History

The Nissan Micra is an automobile produced by Nissan. It is known in Japan and Taiwan as the Nissan March . It is built since 1982 and has had three distinct model generations.

K10 (1982-1992)

The original Micra, framename K10, was introduced in October 1982 as a competitor to the highly successful Honda City, was intended to replace the Cherry as the company's competitor in the supermini segment, as the Cherry model itself had progressively become larger with each successive generation. It was introduced in the European market in 1983 and in Canada in 1984. Although Nissan were slowly phasing out the Datsun name, a small "Datsun" appeared on the tailgate for the first two years, and in some European markets, the car was known as the "Datsun-Nissan Micra". The Micra was initially available with an extremely refined all aluminium MA10S SOHC engine. The Datsun badges had disappeared completely by the end of 1984.

The model was revised in June 1985, identifiable by the slightly larger rear lamp clusters. The Japanese market saw the debut of the first March Turbo where Nissan grafted a turbocharger to the small 1.0 L engine. Another facelift in March 1989, which consisted of some minor upgrades such as deeper bumpers, front grill and headlight changes, as well some small changes to the interior, it also saw the introduction of an electronically-controlled carburetor, the larger MA12 1.2 L engine with 60 PS (44 kW/59 hp) and a 5-door hatchback version.

In 1988, Nissan launched a limited 10,000 unit run of their homologated Nissan March Superturbo (EK10GFR/GAR). Both this and the March Superturbo R(jn)March R (EK10FR) (see below) featured the same highly advanced sequential compound charged (supercharger plus turbocharger) engine in an all aluminium straight-4 930 cc 8-valve 4 cylinder MA09ERT unit that produced 110 PS JIS (81 kW/108 hp) at 6400 rpm. This car came with either a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox with viscous limited slip differential, as well as options such as air conditioned and electric mirrors. The March Superturbo still holds the crown for the fastest production Micra in Nissan's history, with factory performance figures of 7.7 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) and 15.5 seconds to run a quarter mile.

The Micra's chassis spawned a number of variations. The Be-1 (BK10), launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1985 and not sold until 1987, was a limited edition model with a more rounded bodyshape, and only 10,000 were sold. In 1987 the canvas topped, retro looking hatchback, Pao (パオ) (PK10) was launched also at the Tokyo Motorshow and sold to the public in 1989, with 51,657 models sold. A canvas topped coupe, the Figaro (フィガ ­) (FK10) was unveiled at the same show in 1989 and not released until 1991. As 20,000 were built, demand for this model was so huge that Nissan sold the car by staging a lottery to pick who could take orders for the car. With a cult status attached to it and numerous celebrity owners, despite being a JDM only model, the Figaro is one of the most grey imported models of the K10 cast-offs. The K10 remained in production until December 21, 1992.

K11 (1992-2002)

The second-generation K11 Micra was one of the first models built in Nissan's Sunderland plant. It was launched in Japan as a March (which were built in Japan) in early 1992, and released in Europe in the fourth quarter of the year. It was powered by brand new all aluminium 1.0 L (CG10DE) and 1.3 L (CG13DE) DOHC 16 valve engines, with 55 PS DIN (40 kW/54 hp) and 75 PS (55 kW/74 hp) respectively (higher outputs in Japan), both with ECCS (Electronic Concentrated Control System) fuel injection. Power steering was an option on some models, and the equipment list included security features not usually available in this market segment, such as standard pre-tensioning seat-belts with load limiters and a side door beam on each door. Airbags, antilock brakes, electric windows, central locking and air conditioning were available as options on some of the Micra range as it developed in its life cycle. The car soon won the European Car of the Year award for 1993 (the first Japanese car to do so) and the Good Design Award (a Trade and Industry Design award in Japan) along with the Car of the Year Japan award in 1993. This would spawn the V3 Award edition.

After minor changes in 1996, in 1998, six years after its launch, the Micra received a facelift which saw the whole range get power steering as standard. This also saw the introduction to the Peugeot-sourced 1.5 L TUD5 Diesel engine into the Western European range.

A final facelift came in 2000 for the K11, when the original 1.3 was replaced by a revised 1.3 L unit (CGA3DE) known as 1.4 but with an actual displacement of 1348 cc, which would be discontinued in late 2002 for the K12 model.

In Taiwan, where the car has been sold since February 1995, the K11 March is still sold with an entirely facelifted and improved version called the Super March. It has a digital instrument cluster, LED rear light clusters, indicators built-in to the side mirrors and a facelifted front end with modern crystal headlights. Also comes with a semi leather interior with a rear headrest. The car still retains the original CG13DE engine.

The UK-built Micra was briefly exported to the Australian market beginning in 1995 with a three model line up, base 3-door LX, 5-door SLX and 3-door Super S (of which only 303 were ever sold in Australia and demand a hefty price premium over the other models). Class leading performance, a surprisingly dynamic chassis with well sorted suspension, roomy interior and above average build quality were the Micra's strengths in comparision to its Korean competitors like the Hyundai Excel, Daewoo Cielo and Ford Festiva. A poor exchange rate between the UK and Australia meant the Micra's pricing was rather steep and Australian buyers saw the cheaper Koreans and more established Japanese-sourced supermini's such as the Suzuki Swift and Daihatsu Charade as offering better value for money. The few who did purchase the Micra were rewarded with many pleasureable and trouble free years of motoring [citation needed]. The Micra was dropped from Nissan Australia's lineup in 1997. Like the Japanese March, the Micra's success in Australia has reached what some may consider a "cult-car" status as people become aware of its underestimated capabilities as a cost-effective runabout and a competitive track/rally car.

Like the K10, the K11 spawned a numerous spin offs which were all sold only in Japan. In April 1994, the V3 Award edition was released to commemorate the three awards the car won in the first year of production, based on the C# with a colored roof spoiler. It came with a special commemorative tachometer and sticker. There was a specially retro facelifted model called Tango in June 1996, based on the F and A# model, and the Collet was unveiled in October 1996 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the March in Japan, with central locking. Initially sold for five months, this became a regular model soon after. In October 1997, another facelifted 5-door model called the Bolero made its appearance, with a round headlight and a large grille, resembling a classic British saloon of the 1960s. The Juke (December 1997) , Rumba (November 1998) and Polka (December 2000) kept the retro theme alive, all of them with slight variations. In April 2001, there was a Muji 1000 edition, the car was sold through the Muji website. The car came with an exclusive one piece grille and unpainted bumpers and wing mirrors. Like the Box estate car, this version had a double folding seat. The car was only available in white and production was limited to 1000 units. At the same time, there was a Collet F, an 20th aniversary model.

There was a cabriolet unveiled first at the Tokyo Motorshow in 1995, but it was not sold until August 1997, with an electric top. There was also an estate version called Box (WK11), which was unveiled on November 1999, with a double folding rear seat, along with the automatic transmission four wheel drive model.

In Japan, a speciality company called Mitsuoka made a latterday interpretation of the 1960s Mark II Jaguar called the Viewt. Launched in 1995, this car is regarded as a luxury model compared with the other March/Micras as a four door only with wooden interior panelling as standard and leather interior and chrome plating coming as optional.

K12 (2002-present)

The K12, unveiled in late 2002 with an improved 1.2 (CR12DE) and 1.4 (CR14DE) engine, recently spawned the coupe convertible model called the C C. It was designed at the new London-based Nissan Design Europe studio, developed at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Bedfordshire and built, as with its predecesor, at the Sunderland plant. The electric folding glass roof is made by the internationally renowned coachworks Karmann and has a 2 2 seating layout. The car is powered by an 1.4 or 1.6 L engine.

In Japan, as Toyota did for the Toyota bB/Scion xB, Nissan had their own version called the Cube (Z11), using the same B platform as the K12, whom is jointly co-engineered with owner Renault.

There is a performance model called the 160SR, a direct competitor to the MINI Cooper, Ford Fiesta Zetec-S and the Citroën C2 GT, with a 1.6 L HR16DE engine, giving 113 PS (83 kW/111 hp) and uprated sports suspension.

Autech, a Nissan owned company, recently unveiled alternative models called the Bolero and the Rafeet. The Bolero, like previous K11 counterpart has the usual retro front end and the Rafeet has a more modern approach, resembling a Mini in the process, with either a black or white leather interior, whereas the Bolero has a classic partial wood panelling and exclusive seating.

While Nissan Europe has the 160SR, in Japan the 5-door only March is available with the 12SR and 15SR-A versions, the first one with a tuned 1.2 L CR12DE engine giving 110 PS (81 kW/108 hp). It is equipped with an exclusive HKS exhaust and has a set of 15x6 wheels on a 185/55R15 81V Bridgestone RE-01R tyres.

In 2003, Nissan UK, inspired by the Trophee Andros K11, unveiled the Micra-R, a one off mid-engined K12. Shown at the Geneva Motor Show without running gear and engine, being only a display car, it was later given the go-ahead and Nissan commissioned Ray Mallock Ltd to insert a mid mounted BTCC-derived Primera QG20DE engine for show and press demonstration purposes. In 2005, Nissan UK decided to replace the Primera engine with a VG35DE from a 350Z with a modified Altima SE-R gearbox for user-friendliness on the road. This model was baptized 350SR, although it was not offered for sale. Other modifications to this car include a vented rear arch and a set of Rays Engineering wheels. To date, they have no plans to put this model into production.

Micra in motorsport

Nissan first entered the Micra in motorsport with the March Superturbo R. First introduced in 1987, this rare pre-facelift K10 weighed in at 740 kg (1630 lb) with half interior and roll cage and tool kit. It was built for the new sub 1600 cc Group A class and shortly after, in 1988 Nissan released the March Superturbo as a road car.

While a favourite with the drivers in the Japanese Rally Championship, veteran Swedish rally driver Per Eklund finished the 1988 RAC Rally in 21st position and the 1989 Acropolis Rally in 10th place.

During the K11 production life, there were a series of national rally championship trophies held all over Europe called the Micra Challenge. This was intended as a cheap introduction to rallying, as the cars all had identical 1.3 L race-prepared engine. The UK series ran between 1995 and 1999. This model is still used in club and national rallies. In France, the 1.3 L model was used as the basis for a circuit racing one-make cup for celebrity drivers, the Nissan Stars Cup. In Portugal, the Micra spawned a one-make trophy alongside the National Rally Championship for Beginners.

In the late nineties a K11 was adapted into a VQ30 mid-engined 4WD configuration to race in the Trophee Andros, the French ice racing series. Drivers who raced this car include Erik Comas, Philippe Gache, Stephane Peterhansel and Emmanuel Collard.

There is a Nissan sponsored one-make series in Japan called the March Cup, which has been running since the K10 days. Usually a JGTC support race, it is holsted in two five-round separate championships called West Japan Series and East Japan Series, and a ladies series running simultaneously. At the end of the season, the best performing cars from both sides meet up for the Champions Cup final at the end the season.

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