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Nissan racks up orders for GT-R supercar

Sought-after: Nissan builds 1000 GT-Rs per month at its Tochigi factory.

Demand strong for Nissan’s GT-R supercar with more than 100 Australian pre-orders

7 Nov 2008

NISSAN Australia has received more than 100 orders for the upcoming sub-$150,000 GT-R supercar since its order books opened on October 9 at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

That represents more than half the company’s first-year sales forecast – and hence its approximate allocation – for the GT-R, which is due to reach showrooms in April 2009 and is being sold through 11 Nissan “High Performance Centres” in each capital city.

It could also create more opportunity for low-volume importers who have obtained federal government approval to import the 356kW V6-powered all-wheel drive GT-R.

As GoAuto reported in August, a number of independent workshops selling near-new vehicles had gained approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to import up to 25 GT-Rs each under the low-volume import scheme.

Nissan Australia has set a $148,800 recommended retail price for the standard GT-R – the highest figure a new Nissan vehicle has ever attracted in Australia. A GT-R Premium model variant is also available, priced from $152,800.

“If the (local) demand for it continues at that kind of rate, then we won’t be able to sustain that kind of delivery rate,” Nissan Australia corporate communications manager Jeff Fisher told GoAuto this week.

“(But) we don’t expect that. We expect that demand will level, and to a rate which will average around 200 a year.

“We have to look at the long-term for this vehicle over a number of years, rather than just the first six months. And that’s really the key to try and forecast what the demand is.

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“We can request (additional) allocation, depending on how it’s moving… It depends entirely on what happens with GT-R around the rest of the world, and how they balance the acts in terms of production and our allocation. If we’re going extraordinarily well, then there is always an opportunity to request extra production – (but) whether we (get them) or not depends on how the vehicle is selling in the global sense.

“We always expected that there would be an initial call for those numbers. That (100) is probably slightly more than we expected from an initial pre-sell campaign, which is what that is a result of, but we see that as gratifying.”

Mr Fisher said the low-volume importers “have done pretty well” in terms of what they have been able to secure independently – but emphasised that the strong uptake in orders through Nissan Australia’s official channel was proof that customers were considering the long-term implications of owning a ‘grey’ import. “The (grey importers) are entrepreneurs, we don’t take an issue with that, they’ll do what they think they can do and if there’s a dollar in it they’ll go ahead with that,” he said.

“We don’t necessarily agree with it all, and we’ve made that quite clear to potential customers all the way along that we would not be able to stand by warranty and service issues (with grey imports).

“What we believe is that the result of this big surge in the initial few (weeks) of the pre-sell basically reflects the message we’ve been sending to the customers. That is, ‘Look, you need to think about your long-term investment here with a car like that, and the strength of a network to be able to stand behind you. If you want to take a risk and go for a one-off from an entrepreneurial importer, that’s up to you. But it is a risk.’“So I think that a lot of people have said that for an investment like that – for a supercar – ‘We need the strength of a network behind us.’“Also I think, with the pricing that we’ve brought out, bringing the GT-R at $148,800, it’s pretty attractive. And I believe that a lot of the ‘greys’ didn’t expect us to come in as sharp as we’ve done. So that’s another issue where we think we’ve actually moved the market.”

Already on sale in the US and Japan, where more than 5500 examples have been sold since October, the GT-R will this summer feature in the National Geographic channel’s latest “Inside the Supercar” series, which details the development story behind the R35-series.

Read more:

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