Nissan unleashes Navara dual-cab special editions
NISSAN has pulled out the calculator and the scalpel to boost sales of its Navara dual-cab ute, with drive-away deals, preferential trades pricing and added-value limited editions.
As the the top half-dozen 4WD utes in the segment emphasise their work-and-play flexibility, Nissan is aiming for the hip-pocket to get sales traction for the Navara, bumping along midfield at No.8 ahead of Chinese and German contenders and US pick-ups.
The Navara ST Black Edition bolts on about $8000 worth of tough-looking extras, anticipating what many buyers would pick from the accessories menu anyway.
Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester says: "It's no secret we want to be competitive and this is the area in which to deliver increased value."
The Black Edition seven-speed auto will be $51,190 drive-away when it goes on sale on October 1 and the companion Silverline limited edition, based on the SL dual-cab, will be $42,090. Manual versions are $2500 less.
Eyeing small business operators, who account for a third of light commercial sales, Nissan is enticing ABN holders with discounts of $1500-$1700 on the drive-away prices.
The 500 examples of the Navara's previous N-Sport limited edition sold out and Nissan is aiming for a bigger fillip with 900 each of the Black Edition and Silverline. Last month, the Navara 4WD's sales tally was about a quarter of the segment's far-and-away leader, Toyota's HiLux
Lester regards the N-Sport as "the strategy that delivered" and cites the interest in the Black Editions of the X-Trail, Pathfinder and 370Z stablemates. He reckons accessorising in advance with special editions appeals to all buyer demographics.
"There will be something different again in our next special edition," he says.
The Black Edition's numerous add-ons include 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 16s) shod with all-terrrain rubber, sports and nudge bars, tonneau, tub liner and wheel-arch flares. The more modest Silverline gets 16-inch alloys and sports bar.
The special editions get a rear-view camera, digital speedo, electronic rear differential lock, LED lights and daytime running lights, Buetooth and cruise control. Colours are grey (Silverline excepted), white, black, silver and red.
ON THE ROAD
An option that might be worth resisting - or removing before doing any off-road work - is the $1190 pair of side steps.
On the launch, over the beaches and in the scrub of Margaret River, these items took a hiding, and virtually none of the utes so fitted finished with them intact.
Running unladen alongside the Indian Ocean, the ST had no aversion to soft sand and made easy diversions into the dunes.
The cabin was a comfortable if unexciting place to be. Rear passengers behind a long-legged driver might have to adopt the generic straight-back, knees-up posture.
The steering, not the most communicative of rack and pinion set-ups, showed the benefit of fewer turns lock to lock (3.4, previously 4.1) though in the 2018 model year update the turning circle remained at 12.4m.
On the rutted and rocky tracks that give access to famed (or jealously guarded) surf breaks, the ST's dual-rate rear springs eased the bumps and would likely do a better job under the extra burden of surfing mates and camping gear.
NISSAN NAVARA ST BLACK EDITION
PRICE $51,190 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING 3 years/100,000km, $1832 for 3 years
SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags, reversing camera
ENGINE 2.3-litre 4-cyl twin-turbo diesel, 140kW/450Nm
TRANSMISSION 7-speed auto; 4WD