The forthcoming Nissan Navara NP300 ute-based SUV may never come to Australia, despite the popularity of rugged off-roaders in our market.
As you can read and see here, Nissan is developing a new seven-seat ladder-framed off-roader to take on the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Holden Trailblazer, based the the NP300 Navara’s chassis as a spiritual successor to the old Pathfinder.
On the face of it, this new rugged, diesel-fired ‘Navara Sport’ would seem an obvious void-filler for Nissan Australia. The new Pathfinder is no longer a separate chassis offering, the Y61 Patrol is about to be axed, and the Y62 Patrol is a luxury truck with a petrol V8 only.
However, speaking exclusively with CarAdvice this morning, Nissan Australia managing director Richard Emery said that, while the NP300 SUV was naturally of interest, the local market business case was far from finalised, and was certainly no foregone conclusion.
“My reaction is such a truck obviously would be of interest to us in Australia because of the market segmentation and the fact that we lack a diesel vehicle in the segment, having said that it would need to be right in terms of specification, price and positioning,” he said.
“We would consider it for sure, but at this point in time, [it is] not part of our plan.”
Emery added that there were “some issues with specification, in terms of validity for Australia, and until some of those are [fixed], it’s still something that is not by all means confirmed”.
“There would be consumers and dealers in the Nissan family who would like such a vehicle, but our job is to make sure from a business case perspective, it justifies some of the work that we would need to make it viable to Australia.”
Reading between the lines, the NP300 off-road SUV is being calibrated for developing regions in Asia and perhaps South America, and the cost to make it suitable to a small RHD market such as ours would need to be recouped by a certain amount of scale.
Additionally, Emery cited Nissan’s “fairly busy SUV line up already”.
“It’s a busy line-up and we need to be sure that any such vehicle would actually give us a positive impact on our business,” he added, though it should go without saying that a Navara SUV would be a very different beast to the X-Trail or Pathinder soft-roaders.
“It shouldn’t be an automatic view that if cars are available we will [just] take them,” Emery said.
Would you consider a Nissan Navara SUV over an Everest or Fortuner? Tell us in the comments.