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Is Nissan planning a return to two Navaras?

Expecting twins: The D23 Navara (left) and its successor could be sold alongside one another when the latter lobs in the first half of the next decade.

Two-pronged Nissan Navara attack covering widening ute segment might be on cards

29 Oct 2019

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in TOKYO

IS NISSAN considering returning to a two-pronged ute strategy offering two distinct Navaras to meet different pricing ends of the market?

 

With Nissan continuing development work on the existing Navara and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) executive Ashwani Gupta (soon to take on the position of Nissan chief operating officer) recently confirming that MMC is working on all-new replacements for both the Navara and Triton sometime in the first half of the 2020s, it is possible that the current- and future-generation Navaras may overlap.

 

This would return Nissan to a similar situation it enjoyed for a decade from the mid-2000s, when the smaller, older D22 Navara sold on low price and accessibility, while the larger and more up-spec D40 pushed the market boundaries in Australia at the time to premium levels with models such as the 3.0-litre V6 diesel-powered ST-X 550 flagship. The combined result often saw the Navara nameplate in second place, behind the top-selling Toyota HiLux.

 

“It’s an interesting idea,” admitted Nissan Motor Company’s head of Light Commercial Vehicles, Francois Bailly, speaking to the Australian media at the Tokyo Motor Show last week.

 

“The range of coverage of the mid-sized pick-up truck is very wide and it seems to keep on growing, so you’re raising a very interesting question of what would be a typical solution to do this. Would we go from the bottom to the top end with the same platform? Our engineers are working on this.”

 

However, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester remarked at the same press conference that while a return to the old Navara strategy might ultimately yield more sales, it is not to say that the existing D23 Navara launched in 2015 has run out of steam in Australia thanks to campaigns of continuous product improvements as well as targeted market-specific editions such as the N-Trek and N-Trek Warrior.

 

“If you go back historically, when we were most successful, we had two different variants of Navara that we were selling,” he said.

 

“(But) we haven’t been unsuccessful. It’s a very competitive market certainly in Australia, and the opportunity to bring Warrior in the market really speaks to the part of the segment that has grown the strongest – which is the high end. When you look at the 4x4 range, we are holding our own in the majority of those sub-segments.

 

“Where we’re missing right now is the super-high segment, which the Warrior fully addresses consumer demand in that part of the segment.”

 

With Mr Bailly confirming that electrification on all its levels is being explored for all future Nissan LCVs, it may transpire that the as-yet top-secret MMC-developed Navara/Triton replacements might adopt the more advanced technologies to help lift it to the top end of the pick-up segment as legitimate flagship alternatives to the successful Ford Ranger Raptor and Mercedes X-Class X350d competition.

 

Watch this space.


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