where are they? New models such as the 2022 Nissan X-Trail and Toyota Corolla Cross that automakers desperately seek to reach Australian dealers

There are certain models that automakers rely on to bring in high volumes to maintain sales and profitability.

Without these crucial models, sales plummet and buyers look to other brands for alternatives.

The car could take years to develop, and unexpected delays could delay the launch date. Things like a pandemic, natural disasters, and even war don’t help.

Read more about upcoming new models

There are a number of models that automakers are desperately seeking to launch in Australia, but have been delayed for one reason or another. Here are the models that brands are crying out for.

Nissan X-Trail

Nissan has had a new product drought in the past few years, but that is finally changing. In a few weeks, the long-awaited new generation Qashqai will arrive, and a new Z Coupe and Pathfinder SUV will also be available.

But it is the new X-Trail that is much needed to boost Nissan’s fortunes in Australia. The fourth-generation model was revealed in mid-2020 and went on sale in the US later that year as the Rogue. Nissan’s healthy market share, and manufacturing base in Tennessee, ensured that Rogue prioritized the American market.

Nissan Australia finally confirmed the timing of the new X-Trail last month. The mid-size competitor will arrive at local dealerships in late 2022. That’s still a long way off, leaving buyers to either choose the older 3rd generation model or look for a replacement.

The current model has been around since mid-2014, making it the oldest model in the mid-size SUV segment alongside the Jeep Cherokee.

X-Trail sales are down 46.6 percent so far this year and that could continue while it runs out. While the sales numbers aren’t bad, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage are now sold. It also gets beaten up by its mechanical cousin, the new Mitsubishi Outlander.

With the mid-size SUV segment currently the largest in Australia by volume, the new X-Trail could help Nissan’s overall sales rebound. It is currently down 32 percent year on year.

The potential addition of an e-Power plug-in hybrid powertrain option could also help sales of the X-Trail nab the class-leading RAV4.

Brings at the end of the year!

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee looks like it’s been in development for a long time.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Now that was a long time coming. The current Grand Cherokee has been around in its current form for 11 years. The major facelifts arrived in 2013, and there have been several changes to the lineup since then.

At the height of the Grand Cherokee’s popularity — in 2014 when Jeep sold more than 30,000 cars in Australia — Jeep found 16,582 homes for its large SUV. Last year, that fell to 3,010 sales, ensuring that it is more sold by nearly all of its major competitors.

The new generation Grand Cherokee feels like it’s been in development for a long time. Jeep Australia should feel pretty relieved that this important new model will finally hit local showrooms in the middle of the year.

However, things will be completely different this time. The new model will initially be offered in a seven-seat Grand Cherokee L appearance, before the regular five-seat version arrives later in 2022.

Launching with the L means prices are much higher than the current five-seat model. L prices range from $82,250 to $115,450 before costs on the road. That’s a bit more than the $60,450 starting price for the outgoing model.

The five-seater will likely slash the entry price of the Grand Cherokee, and will be the first electric Jeep to be offered in Australia. The 4xe plug-in hybrid delivers 40 km of electric driving range from a 17 kWh battery and will be sold alongside different petrol types.

Will Jeep’s excellent play translate into higher sales? We’ll let you know in about six months.

The delay in the launch of the Alfa Romeo Tonale benefited from the plug-in hybrid suite. The delay in the launch of the Alfa Romeo Tonale benefited from the plug-in hybrid suite.

Alfa Romeo Tonali

Talk about delay. Tonale was supposed to have arrived at the scene much earlier. But the head of the Italian brand, Jean-Philippe Imbrato, reportedly demanded better performance than the plug-in hybrid version, which significantly delayed the timing of the global launch.

But it’s clear that Alfa Romeo is ready to talk about its new model, as it revealed it in full last month – three years after the concept version debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

The last complete new model launched in Australia was the mid-size SUV Stelvio in early 2018. Alfa now sells only two models – the Stelvio and the related Giulia sedan – now that the Giulietta and 4C sports car has been discontinued.

To say Alfa Romeo needs the Tonale ASAP is an understatement.

Unfortunately, the Australian Alfisti will have to cool their planes for much longer. The Tonale won’t be delivered in showrooms until next year. But, given the success of small luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40, and more, it could be Alfa’s best chance yet in sales success.

Based on the platform that underpins the Jeep Compass among other Stellantis products, the magnificent Tonale will be offered with three engines, with a certain level of electrification.

The Plugable Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) combines a 1.3-liter turbocharged petrol engine with a 15.5 kWh battery to produce 205 kW and an electric driving range of 80 km. That’s nearly double the range of the XC40 PHEV. Good thing Mr. Embrato insisted on more work. Now hurry up and get here Tonale!

Toyota Corolla Cross will be the third compact SUV in the brand's lineup. Toyota Corolla Cross will be the third compact SUV in the brand’s lineup.

Toyota Corolla Cross

Well, apparently Toyota doesn’t need to Corolla cross. As the most popular car brand in Australia by a seemingly irreplaceable margin, Toyota is doing very well.

Also, the fact that she already has two SUVs built in her stable indicates that she is not in dire need of any more sales.

Despite this, the Corolla Cross will almost certainly be a hit with the T brand and increase its market share even more.

Currently, Yaris Cross services buyers in the light SUV segment, and the C-HR is Toyota’s current offering in the small SUV segment. While the C-HR is a solid seller, with more than 6,500 units last year, it’s in the middle of the pack and has been comfortably sold by the MG ZS, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Subaru XV and Kia Seltos.

It’s unlikely to be a big seller at all due to its polarizing design and higher entry price (from CAD 30,915).

However, the Corolla Cross has a much more traditional small SUV shape and a relatively conservative design that will gain wider appeal in Australia. The fact that she has a “Corolla” in her name can only help her cause.

Excited buyers will need to hold on a little longer. The Corolla Cross is not expected to enter until the second half of the year. And given the long delays caused by parts and supply chain issues, there is a good chance the timing will run out.

A Toyota can supply well, at a good price, and there’s no reason Toyota can’t take the lead in the small SUV segment.

Leave a Reply