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Paris 2012 – Nissan Patrol diesel delays continue

No go diesel: The new Nissan Patrol will be a petrol-only proposition in Australia for the foreseeable future.

Nissan struggles to make economics work for new-generation diesel Patrol variant

Nissan logo1 Oct 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

NISSAN’S global executive vice president Andy Palmer says the new-generation Patrol will continue well into the foreseeable future without a diesel engine option, as the company struggles to make the diesel numbers add up.

According to Mr Palmer, comparatively small right-hand drive (RHD) volumes make the addition of an oil-burning new Patrol problematic.

“Clearly within our portfolio we have our own diesels, as well as diesels coming out of the relationship with Daimler,” he told Australian journalists at the Paris motor show last week.

“But the issue for us always is volume with right-hand drive. So we need to funnel together all the different countries in the world that have asked for a Patrol diesel in right-hand drive. And, you know, it’s getting there.

“I want to do it, but the economics have to work. You guys have to buy more of them.

“There are not that many RHD markets – Japan, UK, South Africa, those are the main markets.”

As GoAuto outlined in a pre-release drive early last month, all versions will be motivated by a 5.6-litre V8 petrol that produces 298kW of power and 560Nm of torque – the latter helping the Japanese SUV achieve a 3500kg towing capacity.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan's global executive vice president Andy Palmer.

No diesel availability puts the Patrol at a distinct disadvantage compared to its immediate competitors – Toyota’s evergreen 200 Series LandCruiser, and the Land Rover Discovery.

The newcomer’s combined average fuel consumption figure is 14.5 litres per 100km – an improvement of almost 16 per cent over the previous 4.8-litre six-cylinder petrol predecessor, but somewhat adrift of its diesel rivals.

In the meantime, the nearly 16-year old Y61 Patrol will carry so the brand can offer buyers a diesel alternative. It uses a 118kW/380Nm 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel – a unit deemed too small for the new model.

While Nissan does not have a suitable diesel for the Y62, it appears increasingly more likely that Daimler AG – which is in a 3.1 per cent share agreement with Renault-Nissan – may eventually come to the rescue with the ideal engine.

However, right now, according to Mr Palmer, Nissan is still scoping out solutions that will prove financially viable.

Part of Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s dictum is that every single vehicle must be proven to be profitable before it is given the green light for production.

“You can be confident that I would do everything possible to make it possible,” he said.

“(No matter where) we source our technologies from, we don’t just take a Renault engine and shove it in the car.

“It’s no secret Nissan uses the resources of its European partners – nominally Renault but also now Daimler we don’t have that diesel engine technology and we don’t make that engine in-house.”

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