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Warrior earns global praise for Nissan Australia
Nissan Australia’s homegrown Navara Pro-4X Warrior 4x4 attracts global admiration
30 Nov 2021
By TONY O'KANE
NISSAN Australia’s second application of the Warrior formula to its Navara dual-cab ute has won it recognition and admirers from many quarters in Nissan’s global empire – and it is a formula that could turn Nissan’s off-road-focused ute flagship into a core variant.
“From a sales and marketing perspective, it's been looked at as a big winner,” said Nissan Oceania managing director Adam Paterson at the local launch of the Navara Pro-4X Warrior in Coffs Harbour.
“I can tell you over the course of the last 24 hours, I've been getting lots of LinkedIn messages and texts from people overseas saying ‘oh that looks amazing!’. My former colleagues in Canada and the US have said ‘the truck looks great, congratulations on getting it off the ground’.
“When you get the endorsements of your SVP for the region, congratulating us publicly, to me that's a big win for the program.”
But beyond earning plenty of kudos for Nissan Australia, the Navara Pro-4X Warrior looks set to earn plenty of sales too. While just over 1400 of the pre-facelift Navara N-Trek Warrior were built, the plan is to exceed that figure – and there is significant potential to do so by a sizable margin.
All Warriors are remanufactured from standard Navara Pro-4X dual-cab 4x4s in Melbourne, with the factory suspension hardware, wheels, tyres and front bumpers removed and replaced with unique hardware developed by Premcar – which also handles the conversion process.
The result is an off-road-focused Navara flagship that aims to be a turnkey 4x4 adventure machine priced at a keen $67,490 before on-road costs in manual form, or $69,990 with an automatic.
Production of the first Warrior lasted 15 months before being interrupted by the arrival of the facelifted Navara range at the beginning of this year. In that time, it accounted for 11 per cent of all Navaras sold in Australia – a notable feat considering its position as most expensive member of the family.
The second-gen Warrior follows the same formula – albeit with wholesale changes to better suit the updated Navara and to further refine the Warrior’s ride, handling and off-road capability – but according to both Nissan Australia and Premcar there is scope to lift production output to in excess of 2000 cars per year – and perhaps significantly more.
“We want to do 40 a week,” Mr Paterson told GoAuto.
“We started at about 32 (a week) so the team’s bumped up their capacity by about 20 per cent or so over the course of the last few weeks. We’ve got just shy of 250 (Warriors) sold, we’ve got an order bank that’s greater than 200 that continues to grow at about the same pace as what we’re able to build at this point – which given what’s going on in the market right now that delay isn’t terrible. That’s two and a half, maybe three months, give or take, which is fairly reasonable.
“I think the 1400 that we did with N-Trek (Warrior), give or take a few, is what we have planned initially, and we’ll continue to see how well the truck does.”
But according to Premcar engineering chief Bernie Quinn, the potential exists to push output to well over double Paterson’s seemingly conservative target – provided Nissan can supply enough cars to keep the production line at Premcar’s Epping facility busy.
“We’re doing about 40 (Warriors per week) now, but what I’m saying is we could go up to 80 – and I think the demand is probably there,” Mr Quinn said to GoAuto.
“At up to 80 we’re doing a second shift, but we’re supply constrained. We’ll do about 1500 in a year at the moment, but we could do more if we had more (donor vehicles).
However, while a maximum output of 4000-plus Navara Pro-4X Warriors would make it one of the top-selling variants in the Navara range (11,767 sales year to date), Nissan Australia is keen to keep production aligned with anticipated demand – a glut of unsold Warriors on dealer forecourts is not something it wants to risk.
But regardless of whether that additional Warrior volume contributes 1500 cars or 4000 cars to Nissan’s bottom line, one thing is clear – with around 50 per cent of all Navara volume this year being for the high-feature Pro-4X and just 20 per cent being for the mid-spec ST-X, it is clear that the bulk of Australian ute buyers are unafraid of spending big to get the ute they want.
“With these type of projects comes the responsibility to deliver,” Paterson summarised.
“Now we have to make sure that the product is successful, that we sell the volume that we committed to and that we show what it (Warrior) does for the Nissan brand.”
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