Most people know Nismo as Nissan’s racing arm, but by introducing a Nismo Patrol, the company has left the door open for more off-roaders wearing the name – and that could include the next-generation Navara, according to one executive.
Speaking to media at the Tokyo motor show, Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global product strategy and product planning, said that a Nismo ute has been in his brain and heart for a while.
“Maybe, you know, Nismo has been focused basically on, on road cars. And we’re doing a great job I think with GT-R and Zed… we are focused mainly on on road performance cars. But probably why not? Point is why not?” he said.
“We could look at it but not in a way of an approach crawling kind of truck but something more speed-oriented or road speed, like Baja or something.
“It’s something that [has been] in my brain and in my heart for quite a long time working on this whole, because as I said earlier, I’m also responsible for that.”
The focus on this product would be all about high speed, Baja style – similar to what Ford has done with the Ranger Raptor. But, Mr Espinosa was keen to point out that he’s unsure if Ford makes any money out of Ranger Raptor.
“I don’t know if they’re making money. That’s not the reason why they’re doing it. There’s reasons why we do some cars. And there’s, for example, the brand halo approach,” he said.
“Maybe you don’t do the car for profit reasons, but because there’s a value there.
“That will help them drive the whole vehicle line-up. So this is one of the reasons why we could potentially do it. And what I have again in mind is something that is more on the high speed, Baja kind of performance front. This is what I would like to do.”
So if Nissan does decide to go down the path of a Nismo Navara, it could be in a similar vein to the first-generation Ranger Raptor, where the drivetrain remains fairly unchanged, while most of the work is done beneath the skin for the purpose of high-speed off-road driving.
The current-generation Navara already has a couple of variants conceptually similar to the old diesel-powered Ranger Raptor, in the shape of the SL Warrior and Pro-4X Warrior.
These are Navaras worked over by Australian firm Premcar, with modifications aimed at improving off-road ability. They don’t, however, offer any more power.