4 x 4 Australia - - Front Page -

AS WE pre­dicted back in May 2015, Nis­san has cut the GU Pa­trol (Y61) from its line-up be­fore tighter emis­sion reg­u­la­tions come into play at the end of 2016. At the launch of the NP300 Navara in 2015, Nis­san Aus­tralia CEO Richard Emery told us: “To con­tinue with it [Y61] be­yond 2016 would mean meet­ing EU5 emis­sions, and that would re­quire con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment. It would re­ally be for us [Aus­tralia] only, so it’s a very lim­ited mar­ket.”

At a press gath­er­ing held in Mel­bourne in April this year, Emery con­firmed the ac­tion, say­ing: “We’ll be with­draw­ing the Y61 Pa­trol from the mar­ket­place, both in wagon and cab-chas­sis ver­sion, at the end of this year. We prob­a­bly will be sell­ing the last of our Y61 Pa­trols late in the cal­en­dar year.

“It’s prob­a­bly not a sur­prise be­cause it [the Y61] has been hang­ing on by its fin­ger­nails for quite a few years, and we just made the de­ci­sion now to make that call. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to keep sell­ing Y61 be­cause it is such an iconic prod­uct for us and it has such a loyal base of own­ers, but you’ve got to know when to re­tire, and I think that time has come for that car specif­i­cally.”

Speak­ing of the pos­si­bil­ity of re-engi­neer­ing the GU Pa­trol for fu­ture pro­duc­tion, Emery said: “There are a num­ber of things that we would need to con­sider with that car con­tin­u­ing on in terms of reg­u­la­tory and other mar­ket-ac­cept­able spec­i­fi­ca­tions. They’re just not avail­able to us, or if they are avail­able to us, the cost im­ped­i­ment ver­sus the vol­ume op­por­tu­nity and the profit op­por­tu­nity is such that prob­a­bly its time has come.”

The GU Pa­trol has been on sale in Aus­tralia for 19 years, dur­ing which time it has gone through sev­eral ‘Se­ries’ up­dates and six

dif­fer­ent pow­er­trains. Its demise leaves us with no liveaxle 4x4 Nis­san of­fer­ing and leaves Nis­san with no sev­enseat, diesel 4x4 wagon, and no heavy-duty cab-chas­sis/ ute of­fer­ing. The Pa­trol cabchas­sis was still pop­u­lar with fleet buy­ers, but its num­bers were dwin­dling.

The Pa­trol name­plate lives on in the larger, petrol­fu­elled, wagon-only Y62 Pa­trol, which gained a new lease of life fol­low­ing a re-align­ment in the prod­uct range and a price cut late last year. As of March 2016, the Y62 Pa­trol, which starts at $69,990, is out­selling the old Y61 model but is be­ing lim­ited by sup­ply is­sues.

“By be­ing hon­est with our­selves and our deal­ers with where that car [Y62 Pa­trol] was and what it was ca­pa­ble of, we repo­si­tioned and re­spec­i­fied that car, and re­ally priced and specced it at what the mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tion was,” said Emery of the cur­rent model. “And, sur­prise, sur­prise, peo­ple started buy­ing it in droves to the point now where we can’t build enough of them. It’s still in small vol­umes, be­cause it is a big petrol in a diesel mar­ket, so it’s not as if it is run­ning away sell­ing 200 cars a month.”

Emery went on to con­firm there are presently no plans to in­tro­duce a diesel en­gine vari­ant to the Y62 Pa­trol range. That range con­tin­ues with just the $69,990 Pa­trol Ti and the $86,990 Pa­trol TI-L.

The Y62 is com­ing up to seven years old and we don’t ex­pect it to live as long as its GU pre­de­ces­sor, given the rel­a­tively fast model turn­around we now see. We can only live in hope that the next gen­er­a­tion is en­gi­neered with Aus­tralia in mind (not just the US and Mid­dle East) and will in­clude a diesel donk and, heaven for­bid, a ute.

Pa­trol Cab-chas­sis ST get­ting its work du­ties done in the mud. Y61 (above) is near­ing the end, but the Y62 (be­low) will march on.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.