Nissan March/Micra is First Produced

The Nissan March (マーチ Māchi?) (known outside Asia as the Nissan Micra) is a supermini produced by the Japanese automaker Nissan since 1982.

Since 1992, the March/Micra has also been built in Europe at the NMUK plant in Washington, Tyne and Wear, UK.

The original March/Micra (chassis name K10) was introduced in October 1982 as a challenger to the highly successful Honda City. It was intended to replace the Nissan Cherry as the company's competitor in the supermini sector, as the Cherry model itself had progressively become larger with each successive generation. It was introduced in the European market in 1983, and in the Canadian market in 1984. Although Nissan was slowly phasing out the Datsun name, a small "Datsun" (ダットサン Dattosan?) appeared on the tailgate for the first two years, and in some European markets, the car was known as the "Datsun-Nissan Micra". The March 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/MA10ET, where Nissan grafted a turbocharger to the small 1.0 L engine. Another facelift came in March 1989, which consisted of some minor upgrades such as deeper bumpers, a new front grille, minor interior details, and headlight changes. It also saw the introduction of an electronically controlled carburettor, 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 its homologated Nissan 1989 March Superturbo (EK10GFR/GAR). Both this and the 1988 March R (EK10FR) featured the same highly advanced sequential compound charged (supercharger plus turbocharger) engine in an all-aluminium straight-4 930 cc 8-valve 4 cylinder Nissan MA 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 conditioning and electric mirrors. The March Superturbo still holds the crown for the fastest production March 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. It has a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph).

The March's chassis spawned a number of variations. The Be-1 (BK10), launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1985 (but 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; 51,657 models were sold. The canvas-topped Figaro (フィガロ) (FK10) coupé was unveiled at the same show in 1989, but not released until 1991. Because demand for the Figaro exceeded the 20,000 vehicles built, Nissan sold the car by lottery: winners could place orders for the car. Despite being a JDM-only model, the Figaro is one of the most imported models of the K10 derivatives; its popularity among numerous celebrity owners helped it earn cult status. The K10 ceased production on 21 December 1992. During its lifetime, it gained a good reputation for reliability and economy.

In August 2006, the K10 was still receiving credit for its impressive durability. An Auto Express survey revealed that of the 340,000 K10 Micras registered in the UK between 1983 and 1992, 96,000 were still on the road — nearly 30%, an impressive figure for a car which had been out of production for 14 years. This gave it a far higher rating than the Fiat Uno and the Austin Metro, both of which had dwindled away to less than 3%.

In Canada, the K10-J was sold and branded as the Nissan Micra. It came standard with the larger MA12S inline 4 cylinder OHC 1.2 L (1235 cc) engine. The Nissan Micra was finally discontinued in Canada in 1991, but many K10s are still running on Canadian roads today.

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