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What is the difference between [新規]{しんき} and [新]{あたら}しい? Both mean "new". What are the nuances here?

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The difference is two-fold.

1) Parts of speech. 「新しい」 is an i-adjective while 「新規」 is basically a noun. One could also say 「新規」 is a na-adjective as well.

2) Formality. As usual, the on-reading word is more formal, technical, etc. than its kun-reading Yamato counterpart. In this case, 「新規」 is the former and 「新しい」, the latter.

「新しい」 is the more intuitive word for native speakers. Every small kid knows the word. It is just used on a daily basis to mean "new".

「新規」 is used almost exclusively in business. It looks and sounds good and "official" when combined with other on-reading words as in:

「[新規開店]{しんきかいてん}」= "grand opening", 「新規[顧客]{こきゃく}」 = "newly-acquired client", 「新規[採用]{さいよう}」= "new hiring or recruitment", etc. 

  • Isn't 新規 a no-adjective? – naruto Mar 18 '15 at 9:46
  • @snailboat Thank you, I just wanted to point out that we usually say 新規の顧客/開店/採用. I found that there are a few examples of 新規な+noun in BCCWJ corpus, although the number is much smaller. – naruto Mar 19 '15 at 1:29
  • Google Chrome gives three options for opening a new window: 1新しいタブ 2新規ウインドウ 3新規シークレット ウインドウ This answer doesn't help me understand why the first is different from the bottom two. – coyote Mar 19 '15 at 5:25
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In general, 新規 means older one does not exist.

マツダは、このたび、デミオに、新規にディーゼル車を追加した。

At this time, Mazda introduced diesel engine model to Demio(MX3).

This is correct. Because Demio never has diesel engine model until that time.

If Demio had diesel engine model, above description is not correct.

彼は、新しいクルマに買い換えることに決めた。

He made up his mind to replace his old car with new car.

If he does not have a car then you can say

彼は、新規にクルマを買うことにした。

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