The FINANCIAL -- Nissan will become South Africa's most prolific pickup brand when the first models of the all-new Nissan Navara touch down on local soil this year.
With the introduction of the all-new Navara, Nissan will offer a range of pick-ups that starts with the sub-one ton NP200, includes a wide range of hardy NP300 Hardbody models and the specialist overland Nissan Patrol Pick-up. The range will culminate in one of the most advanced range-toppers in the form of the 2016 International Pickup of the Year, the new Nissan Navara.
The new Navara will initially be available in three double cab models, with a 4x4 drive train and the choice of a six-speed manual or new seven-speed automatic gearbox. Over time, the range will expand to include mid- and entry-level models in 4x4 and 4x2 guise, with several additional models in the pipeline, according to Nissan.
"With the introduction of an expanded Navara range, Nissan will be better positioned than any other local manufacturer to cater for every type of driver and application," said Xavier Gobille, director for Sales, Marketing and Aftersales at Nissan Group of Africa.
Taking care of the commercial customer and the small businesses owner are the Nissan NP200 and NP300 Hardbody single-cab models. These models offer the choice of an 800kg payload for the NP200 and up to a 1 359kg payload for the single-cab NP300. Both models now also feature a comprehensive 6 year/150 000km comprehensive mechanical warranty as part of the Nissan Assured programme.
The NP200 has established itself as South Africa's most popular sub-one ton pick-up thanks to its above-standard payload, standard load box rubberizing and best in class fuel economy offered by the 1.5-liter diesel derivative. In support of its workhorse credentials, it can tow a braked trailer of 650kg and an unbraked trailer weighing up to 580kg.
In 2016, both the NP200 and NP300 Hardbody retained their respective titles as the most affordable sub-one ton pick-up and one-ton pick-up to own, maintain and repair in South Africa. This was verified by Malcolm Kinsey in his annual Kinsey Report.
While the NP200 range is topped by the high-spec 1.5 DCI High model, the NP300 Hardbody range starts at R179 000 for the basic Single Cab model and is topped by the 2.5 TDI Mid Spec Single Cab with four-wheel drive at R324 900. The NP300 Hardbody range offers the choice of two petrol engines (a 2.0 and 2.4-liter four cylinder) and a 2.5-liter turbo-diesel four cylinder, while customers have the option of both 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains and a single- or double-cab configuration.
"The NP300 Hardbody scores highly in customer surveys for its no-nonsense mechanical layout and true workhorse capabilities," said Gobille. "Its proven design has also made it our main export product to a host of African countries including Nigeria, where the South African produced semi-knocked-down kits are assembled in a new facility near Lagos."
The NP300 Hardbody has gained significant traction among business owners and farmers for its extensive range of Nissan Approved accessories. Unlike competing brands, Nissan offers a comprehensive range of after-market accessories that can be fitted by the dealer and are backed by a Nissan warranty.
"Buyers can choose from a wide list of accessories, such as cattle rails and an airbag-compliant bush bar or they can fit a range of accessories by opting for the Agri Pack, Fleet Pack or several other packs at their local dealer," said Gobille. "As all these accessories have been tested and approved by Nissan South Africa, the fitment will not affect the NP300's warranty."
Buyers of the Nissan Patrol, a mainstay choice amongst overland specialists and farmers, also have a wide range of custom options, as Patrol owners are expected to use their vehicles in extreme off road environments.
The soon-to-be-introduced new Navara will top the range of Nissan pick-ups and will expand over time to complement the NP200 and NP300 Hardbody in both the workhorse and leisure segments.
First to market will be three 4x4 models with the choice of SE and LE grade levels. All three models will feature Nissan's next-generation dual-turbo diesel engine that delivers 140 kW and a strong 450Nm from a low 1500 rpm, maintaining linear power delivery up to 2500 rpm for a wide and flat torque curve.
The first locally available double-cab variants of the new Navara will all feature a host of safety and luxury features, such as seven airbags, a touch screen infotainment system and Nissan's new 6-year / 150 000 km mechanical warranty as part of the Nissan Assured program. These models will also feature Nissan's innovative coil spring rear suspension set-up, which was lauded by judges of the International Pick-Up of the Year award for its ability to combine SUV-style sure-footedness and traditional pick-up load-carrying capabilities.
Buyers who opt for the more luxurious LE grade will receive additional luxury and safety features such as Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Decent Control (HDC), a reverse camera and reverse sensors. An LE Automatic model is also available, which is equipped with a new seven-speed automatic gearbox
"While the luxury versions of the new Navara reach us first, there is no doubting the new pick-up's workhorse credentials. These double-cab models have a load box capacity of 1,061 liters and they can tow braked trailers weighing up to 3.5 tons, doubling the capacity on offer by the NP300 Hardbody," said Gobille.
The first demonstration models of the all-new Nissan Navara will be available at dealers in March 2017. These models will not only showcase the Navara's striking new design, but will be fitted with a range of pre-approved accessories which, upon full introduction, promise to be the most comprehensive range of accessories available for dealer fitment on any pick-up in the luxury segment.