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Nissan has confirmed that it is working with Premcar on a Warrior version of the new MY21 Navara due in the first quarter of next year, with confidence running high that it will again be a hit with consumers in Australia.
Among other expected changes now that Nissan Australia knows there is an appetite for it, the next Warrior will also most likely adopt the new global PRO-4X grade prefix, meaning that the N-Trek badge will probably be dropped from the MY21 Navara range, despite being well received in this market.
According to Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester, while the new Warrior II will again be the result of a collaboration with Melbourne-based automotive engineering and development firm Premcar, the degree of evolution over the PRO-4X has not yet been fully established.
“We’re still at the design concept,” he told the Australian media at the unveiling of the MY21 Navara facelift at the company’s new headquarters in Mulgrave, Victoria, this week. “The proof of concepts is still being worked out, and it’s too early to make comments relating to specifics.”
Mr Lester did admit that whatever does transpire, the next Warrior will not stray too far from the themes established with the existing version, but some aspects will definitely be different next time around.
“The concept at its very origin was around getting or producing a vehicle that moves into that true off-roader, true lifestyle vehicle with no compromises,” he said. “And everything that we’ve worked into that was orientated towards that. So, it won’t necessarily change much per se, because that ethos will not change.
“Now, we are enabled to change it, because obviously the whole new front fascia, the safety features, the rear tub… all those things will still be there. But we are not going to all of a sudden sacrifice this by changing this into a concept that is stickers on a vehicle. It still has to be true to form and fit for purpose. Otherwise, in my mind, you cannot have the Warrior name.”
Mr Lester shied away from committing to an on-sale date, except to say that the Warrior will definitely arrive “some months after” the MY21 Navara’s release.
“We’re not going to have it available for February next year for sure,” he said. “And the timeline of when it will come will be determined by all the work we’ve been doing to this date, and the work we continue to do with Premcar up until the time when we can physically get them here.”
Along with the product performance parameters being established, the Warrior must overcome a number of internal company as well as design rule hurdles before it can receive the production green light, suggesting that the extent of change compared to the outgoing MY20 N-Trek Warrior may be more substantial this time around.
“Our ambition is to bring Warrior to market as soon as possible,” Mr Lester said. “There are certainly plenty of appropriate hoops we need to work through with the global team, on ensuring that all the engineering that we plan to do locally meets the requirements and standards to Nissan, and obviously in addition to all the Australian rules as well.”
Mr Lester revealed that the existing Warrior’s market acceptance has been greater than he had anticipated, and that if he could get his hands on more vehicles, he would do so in a heartbeat.
“We’ve been on a number of occasions this year sold out on inventory,” he said. “We have probably an oversubscribed demand for Warrior in our own existing pipeline, to the conclusion of this current generation.”
Nissan is also pleased with the higher transaction price that the Warrior brings to Navara, further bolstering the likelihood of future iterations and even more upmarket grades with significant gains in performance and specification (and profit potential for the company), as this is where consumers of pick-up trucks are gravitating towards.
“We’ve seen an immediate impact to our split – or mix if you will – of models, which is exactly what we thought would happen,” Mr Lester said.
“We’ve seen a dramatic percentage increase both for N-Trek and N-Trek Warrior beyond which we had even planned. And what that says – regardless of whether it is truly competing against Raptor or not – it is the consumer demand for models in that range. That’s what consumers are really looking, emphasised and focused on… and it has worked out tremendously well for us.”
Mr Lester added that Nissan Australia put its hand up for every single N-Trek it could get out of the Thailand plant in order to have Premcar work its Warrior magic on the Navara.
“In the global supply chain and getting the vehicles from Thailand… we really are at the end of production with the current Navara, so we took everything we can,” he said.
“We were certainly impacted by COVID-19-affected production (shortfalls) in the May/June period, but all that rebounded and we pushed everything we could get, and we bolstered our demand for Navara builds, and it skewered naturally towards N-Trek and giving us the possibility for more Warriors.”
There’s still plenty of more to learn about the new Warrior, so stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted as more news drops.