Right-hook production and local factory-backed conversions off the table, and we're not getting the NV200 either
HSV is preparing the Silverado and the Ram 1500 is gathering momentum, but Nissan has ruled out a three-way large pickup battle Down Under, taking the Titan off the table for our market.
"The challenge we have in Australia is right-hand drive," he told Aussie journalists at the Nissan Terra launch in the Philippines, reiterating a catch-cry that has kept countless cool cars from our shores in years gone by.
"We can do Terra, we can do Navara, because you are joined with some of the other Commonwealth countries, so we can at least capitalise on some right-hand markets."
"The challenge for Titan is the left-hand drive. If somebody asked me tomorrow if there's any market where I should launch Titan, I would say Australia," he continued, "Then, if I have to make this project work, the volumes which I will get in Australia will never tempt me."
That's right, because we're such a small and unique market, and the Titan is such a big vehicle, the numbers behind right-hand drive production just don't stack up. Not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.
And don't hold out hope for a factory-backed conversion project Down Under, either. Gupta ruled out the idea of an after-the-fact right-hand drive conversion, a'la HSV Silverado, suggesting the potential safety and quality cost is too high.
Although it doesn't suffer the same troubles when it comes to right-hand or left-hand drive conversions, the NV200 (above) is also unlikely to see Australian shores, with Gupta suggesting its ethos doesn't fit with our tastes.
"When you go to Australia, what is the user you are expecting out of NV200?" he asked Australian media.
"People would like to enjoy it, even if it is a workhorse. And then you have to compare: what is the payload, the cargo volume in NV200, and in a pickup?"
"When you come to NV200... they would like to have fun with their truck while they are carrying something, which is not the case with NV200 from that customer viewpoint," he continued.
"I think, [in the] Australian market, they are prepared for mid-size and heavy vans. I'm not sure [about] the small vans today."
The NV200 is offered for the UK and Japan, both in diesel and electric 'e-NV200' options, with Harrods the most notable user of the vehicle. Richard Emery, ex-Nissan Australia director, has previously told CarAdvice the market offers limited appeal, and it appears that's still the case.
Even under Stephen Lester, new managing director for Nissan in Australia, and his "everything is on the table" mantra, there are some tables too expensive for us to access.