Nissan is poised to give its Patrol V8 another boost following its recent sales surge – with plans for a special edition designed to appeal to hardcore off-roaders.
Buoyed by a new partnership with a local engineering firm that will overnight unveil a rival to the Toyota Rugged X and Ford Ranger Raptor – based on the top-of-the-range Nissan Navara – the company says it is keen to explore options on other models across the range.
While the top-end Navara ute will be in showrooms soon, work is yet to commence on an enhanced Patrol, but the company is looking at it and other opportunities in its line-up.
“Based on our current portfolio we’ve got a whole host (of options),” said Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester. “We’ve got a very good complement of SUVs and crossovers and we’ve also got Patrol at the top end of the... SUV segment, which makes a lot of sense.”
Mr Lester added: “We’ve doubled sales of Patrol over the past two years... really with limited amount of marketing. And that segment still has been very strong.”
The lack of a diesel engine in the Nissan Patrol was “markedly becoming less of an issue in terms of the global mindset around where diesel sits versus petrol versus all the other concepts people are looking at,” said Mr Lester.
Nissan Australia is also exploring the option of locally-fitted enhancement packs on the rest of its SUV range.
“You can look to X-Trail potentially, even Qashqai in that segment,” said Mr Lester. “I think certainly we could stand some gains in Pathfinder at the moment, we’re certainly underperforming in my eyes in that particular vehicle in that segment.”
The Nissan Australia boss added: “When we see what the capability here locally is in Australia, the sky is the limit for those opportunities and modifications, and that’s primarily why Premcar (which formerly engineered and assembled Ford Performance Vehicles) became such an obvious partner choice of ours. Now it’s about putting pen to paper and getting some concepts and then looking at how we can fit that in (to our range).”