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Nissan Patrol Warrior still on the cards
Patrol still set for Warrior grade despite virus setbacks, Nissan keen for new model
22 Jun 2020
NISSAN Australia has confirmed that the COVID-19 crisis has not scuttled its plans to create a flagship Warrior variant of its Patrol flagship SUV, however it has resulted in a delay for the locally developed program.
After the release of the Navara N-Trek Warrior late last year, the Patrol was set to become the next Nissan vehicle to benefit from mechanical and styling enhancements provided by Melbourne-based engineering firm and specialist manufacturer Premcar.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic caused the program to be iced, it was not diced, with Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester confirming to GoAuto that a Warrior version of the Japanese brand’s largest and most capable SUV was still firmly on the company’s agenda.
“I wouldn’t say backburner, I’d say we’ve had to reprioritise what we’re going to get done right in the moment with a variety of other challenges to work through during COVID,” he said.
“So that project has continued on, and we’ll have more to report on later this year with regard to Warrior.”
Mr Lester’s comments suggest the Patrol Warrior could be slated for a reveal, if not launch, in the second half of this year.
He also admitted that Nissan had been forced to review the Navara Warrior program, which was producing 13 examples per day out of Premcar’s factory in Melbourne’s north before the impacts of COVID-19 took hold.
“It will be back to business as usual, so no question we’ve had to revisit the program, but that was in a very temporary mindset due to the experience of April, and to a lesser extent, May,” he said.
“We’re back up and running, and by all accounts that program will continue exactly as planned.”
Mr Lester added that interest in the Navara Warrior was picking up again as the COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift.
“Momentum has been very strong over the last four weeks especially for Warrior, which is great, and again I think that blip or pause with particularly April was indicative of market-factor forces (more) than anything that was commercially at play,” he said.
As GoAuto has reported, Nissan recently laid out its four-year financial plan, which includes reducing its global model portfolio from 69 models to fewer than 55.
The auto giant is yet to reveal which models are destined for the chopping block, but the notable absence of any mention of Patrol in the financial plan announcement raised the question of whether the six-decade legacy of the off-road wagon is drawing to a close.
However, Mr Lester said no mention of the Patrol did not suggest the nameplate was heading for retirement.
“What I would say in the hour we had with ‘Nissan Next’ and the announcements, there was only so much they could go through in regards to presenting the transformation plan, and the intent wasn’t to go through every single model to give endorsement or otherwise to it,” he said.
Mr Lester added that if the future of the Patrol was in jeopardy, Nissan Australia would fight hard to keep the model alive, and that given Australia is one of the model’s primary markets, it would have an important voice in the decision.
“From a local aspect we have more than doubled sales in the last two years of Patrol, we are a very important market for Patrol now globally, and as a result we will have a very strong voice at the table to push for maintaining that 60 years of heritage that Patrol has, and ensuring that we can continue to grow that business,” he said.
“Since we do have longevity and the Patrol nameplate has such recognition around the world, I’m really confident that there are no issues for Patrol going forward.”
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