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Navara not ruled out for Nismo

Street machination: Nissan’s pumped-up Juke could be the next model to join the Nismo stable in Australia, but a Navara version is also not out of the question.

Nissan keeping mum on next Nismo model but Navara, 370Z and Juke possible

Nissan logo5 Oct 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

NISSAN has officially started the Nismo machine, confirming the hyperbolic GT-R Nismo as the Australian pioneer in early 2017, but the next model to join it on red dirt could be anything from a second sports coupe, compact crossover and even a one-tonner.

Speaking at the announcement of the February 2017 launch date, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery confirmed the next arrival would be before February 2018 and “will be based on a current car that we already have”.

Popular speculation and hints from the Japanese car-maker have previously pointed to the already revealed 370Z Nismo and Juke Nismo for Australia, but with the ‘Z’ long in the tooth, the littlest Nismo would appear to be the most likely candidate.

However, when quizzed about the second Australian arrival, Mr Emery said the Juke was “not necessarily” the next in line.

The Nissan boss thickened the Nismo plot further when asked about the possibility of commercial vehicles in the brand mix – including one-tonne utes. While Mr Emery said a Nismo Navara would be a significant project, the possibility of a spicy pick-up was not ruled out.

“I suppose it’s flexible (enough) but if you take the attitude that it’s got to be authentic Nismo you’ve got to determine whether you can deliver an authentic Nismo offering in a light-commercial vehicle,” he said.

“…If you can achieve that then I’d say the answer is yes,” he said. “But that’s a lot of work to do before you could say that you could have a genuine Nismo offering outside of the obvious cars that are already on the market around the world or what we have in Australia.” Mr Emery said he had “not specifically” approached the Nismo factory about the possibility of a Navara but was “not sure” if the tuning wing was looking at the model without prompting from Australia, leaving the door open for a more capable version of the go-anywhere ute.

It is likely a pumped-up Nismo-fettled Navara would attract the attention of Australians, with one-tonners typically doing well in the local market, particularly in the case of high-end variants and tricked-up specials.

Ford’s Ranger is sold out for six months in range-topping Wildtrak trim, while Tickford has just relaunched Down Under with a catalogue of after-market Ranger tune-ups and customisations.

Nissan has itself experimented with more desirable versions of its Navara and an N-Sport variant that was launched in July.

As previously reported, the introduction of the Nismo brand to Australia and globally is not to add a volume seller to the Nissan line-up but to reinforce the Japanese car-maker’s cache with added sporting prestige.

Mr Emery explained that from a global perspective, Australia was well regarded by the Nismo factory thanks to the extensive preparatory effort that the local team had made ahead of the official arrival.

“Obviously we are not the biggest volume market but because we have done a lot of groundwork and established through our motorsport program a kind of presence, then I would say that they perceive Australia as being a good market to start with and with them expanding their Nismo aspirations on a global scale.

“There hasn’t been a volume discussion. It’s been a branding and getting the brand into the market place discussion.”

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All future models

Navara pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.