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Nissan is set to add a Navara-based SUV to its range. Photo: Mark Bean
 
 
Stephen Ottley | Oct, 30 2017 | 0 Comments

Nissan is has all-but confirmed it will unveil a new Navara-based SUV at the 2018 Beijing motor show.

The Japanese brand has already been caught testing a SUV-bodied Navara mule and now Nissan’s global head of commercial vehicles has strongly hinted it's coming soon.

The Nissan Pathfinder was previously based on the Navara ute, but the latest model uses a car-style body and has a on-road focus. That leaves space for Nissan to add a more off-road orientated model to expand its SUV line-up.

Speaking to Australian media at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, Ashwani Gupta, the man in charge of the recently created light commercial vehicle division of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, dropped a big hint the Navara-based SUV will appear at the 2018 Beijing motor show scheduled for next April.

Asked directly about the chances of adding a seven-seat SUV variant of the Navara, as Ford has done with the Everest and Mitsubishi with the Triton/Pajero Sport, Gupta said: “What I can assure you is Nissan is concentrating and Nissan is extremely competent on frame-based vehicles, frame-based trucks and frame-based SUVs and we are going to cover each and every segment of frame. Now when? I think you’ll have to wait a little bit longer, please wait a little bit longer to Beijing motor show.”

Gupta also defended the performance of the Navara ute, and the fact it is being outsold by the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton in Australia. Nissan sold 1174 Navara in September, according to the latest VFacts sales data, compared to 4318 sales of the market-leading Ford Ranger.

“I think in Australia, I don’t know if you’ve seen the last month results but we are doing really good now,” Gupta said.

“We have taken a lot of measures in the product [when] we launched the freshened up Navara. I think where we are now focusing on private but also the fleets. Very simple strategy to address the fleet is not only product, but product plus services. In Australia now we are really concentrating on the services, the maintenance contracts, after-sales accessories and this is how we are going to boost our sales in Australia.”

Nissan was criticised for the rear suspension set-up when the Navara first arrived but revised the settings for the Series 2 model that launched earlier in 2017. Gupta is confident that the updated model is good enough and has ruled out any further changes to the range. That includes considering a premium grade rival to challenge the forthcoming Ford Raptor and Toyota Hilux TRD.

“I think as far as the product is concerned we are satisfied with all the customer feedback we are getting for the Navara,” he said. “I don’t believe for a second our product Navara is short of any product competitiveness in the same segment.

MORE: Nissan News and Reviews.

 
Filed under suv ute offroader
 
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