Nissan takes on Honda, Ford with new Rogue crossover

DETROIT, Sept 10 Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:11pm EDT

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DETROIT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co unveiled on Tuesday a redesigned Rogue compact crossover designed to gain ground in the expanding U.S. market for small, sporty SUVs now dominated by Honda Motor Co's CR-V and Ford Motor Co's Escape.

The Rogue, now Nissan's second best-selling model in the United States, competes in a compact sport-utility vehicle segment that Nissan expects will grow 6.5 percent next year.

The 2014 Rogue is critical to meeting Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn's goal of commanding 10 percent of the U.S. vehicle market within the next three years. Through the first eight months of 2013, Nissan's U.S. market share was 8 percent.

The new Rogue boasts more of a premium look, safety features and 18 percent better fuel economy than the model it replaces. The automaker expects the Rogue to attract young families, empty nesters as well as current owners of minivans and large SUVs.

"This segment is all about functionality, but what we heard from consumers was, 'I don't want to give up my sense of style. I don't want to give up some of the things I enjoyed in my first couple of cars," said Scott Shirley, Nissan's chief marketing manager in North America, said.

The new Rogue goes on sale in November and starts at $22,490. This overhaul comes after Honda overhauled its CR-V for the 2012 model year, while the Ford Escape and Toyota Motor Corp's RAV4 were revamped for model year 2013.

The Rogue is based on the CMF, or "common module family," platform developed by Nissan and its alliance partner French automaker Renault PA. The two companies have been in a strategic alliance since 1999.

The Rogue and its European variant, dubbed the X-Trail, are the first vehicles to be built using the new joint platform, which allows Renault-Nissan to lop off as much as 40 percent from product development costs.

Earlier Tuesday, Nissan showcased the X-Trail at the Frankfurt motor show.

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