Geneva Motor Show 2012• Nissan’s new B-segment contender
• Will be built in the UK at Sunderland
• 2,000 new jobs to be created

The Nissan Invitation concept has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor show. It points the way towards an all new supermini, due to make an appearance next year.

What is it?

The Invitation is a near production ready concept car, designed to give us a preview of what the final version will look like. Nissan is launching it as a more upmarket alternative to its evergreen Micra and is hoping to steal sales from the UK favourite Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. It represents a massive investment for Nissan, which is sinking £125 million into the project and creating more than 2,000 new jobs at its Sunderland plant.

What’s it like?

Striking – particularly when compared to the more cuddly Micra. It shares design themes with the Nissan Juke crossover, including a heavily creased body, sharply styled headlights and an exaggerated front bumper incorporating daytime running lights. It’s the sort of shape that would lend itself well to a more pumped up and powerful hot-hatch version. Either way, it could well be the first ever Nissan hatchback that’ll get you noticed.

What’s it up against?

The supermini class is the most popular in the UK and the Invitation will have its work cut out to compete against some talented competition. Aside from the established names from Ford, Volkswagen and Renault, Nissan will also have to compete with the Koreans, in the form of the Kia Rio and Hyundai i20 – cars which will give the Invitation a run for its money in terms of value. Nissan has reliability on its side however, and peace of mind has a lot of currency with buyers.

When can I buy it?

Production is due to start in early 2013. Expect the first customer cars to follow soon after.

By Daljinder Nagra

The cars of Geneva 2012:

Audi A3
Audi RS4 Avant
Ferrari F12berlinetta
Ford B-Max
Ford Fiesta ST
Ford Kuga
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Lamborghini Aventador J
Land Rover DC100
Lexus RX 450h
Mercedes A Class
Nissan Invitation
Porsche Boxster
Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet
Volkswagen Polo BlueGT