Things ‘pan’ out for Nissan

Bobby Cheetham

NISSAN South Africa are on the move again! This time the Rosslyn-based company is shaking up the commercial market with the launch of the NV200 and NV350 panel vans. This is the first time Nissan has entered the compact panel van segment in South Africa.

And in a bold step they are taking on the established taxi business with the soon-to-follow NV200 Combi and NV350 taxi variants.

The two brand new light commercial vehicles (LCVs) to the South African market, expands the brand’s broad LCV range to match all commercial needs.

The new panel vans join the already comprehensive Nissan LCV line-up, which includes the NP200 half-ton bakkie, the NP300 Hardbody one-ton bakkie, the rugged Navara and the tried-and-trusted Patrol Pickup.

Freddie Louw, chief marketing manager for the LCV Business Unit at Nissan South Africa, said the vans are compact in size, and are a particularly viable proposal, especially where fleet buyers require something with the added security and load capacity offered by a van.

Louw says the vans will suit most business needs from plumbing, electrician services and furniture delivery, to florist and courier services or satellite TV installation.

“We are confident that the new NV panel van range will prove successful for Nissan in South Africa, where our existing LCV models like the NP200 and NP300 Hardbody bakkies are the darlings of the light commercial vehicle sector,” Louw said.

There’s a choice of two engines. The NV200 1.6i Visia features a normally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine, which produces 81kW at 6000rpm and 153Nm at 4 400rpm. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the NV200 1.6i Visia returns an average fuel economy figure of 7.2-litres per 100km while producing just 166g/km of CO2.

Featuring the same transmission, the new turbocharged diesel NV200 1.5 dCi Visia brings with it good fuel economy figures – just 4.9-litres per 100km and 129g/km CO2– while still offering good power and torque (66kW at 4000rpm and 200Nm at just 1750rpm).

With a total cargo volume of 4.2m³, the NV200 panel van offers considerably more cargo space than its rivals, with a low floor sill (520mm) and wide distance between the wheel arches (1220mm) also placing it top of the class. The panel van can easily swallow almost 800kg of cargo thanks to its wide-opening doors and a hinge design which does not impede on load bay accessibility.

The new Nissan NV350 panel van is Nissan’s answer to any large commercial needs, where large objects or vast loads need to be transported.

The panel van is available in two body styles and with the choice of two engines – petrol or diesel power.

The new NV350 2.5-litre narrow body with low roof and wide body with high roof petrol models offer decent power (108kW at 5600rpm) and torque (213Nm at 4400rpm) and feature a five-speed manual gearbox.

Fuel economy on the narrow body’s average combined cycle is 11.8-litres per 100km and carbon emissions are 282g/km (12.5-litres per 100 km and 300g/km for the wide body).

The NV350 wide body features a high roof, offering 9.2m³ of load volume, with 3250mm of length and 1645mm of height allowing for long and tall objects to be loaded with absolute ease.

This range-topping version also features a large tailgate, which creates a 1555mm-wide and 1560mm-high opening, the load sill sitting just 625mm from the ground for easy access and loading as well.

And to show just how popular the vans have become since their launch, one only has to look at the latest Naamsa sales figures.

Nissan has ended the first half of the calendar year on a high note, selling 4273 vehicles of all kinds in June, increasing volume by 744 units or 21% compared to May thanks not only to the introduction of the NV200/350 van ranges, but strong sales across the board. Nissan South Africa’s market share was 9.1%, versus 7.6% in May.

The new NV notched up 224 sales, two thirds of that figure going to the smaller NV200.

The NP200 enjoyed a very strong month too, with 1682 sales to make it the best-selling half-tonner locally.

Meanwhile the NP300 Hardbody one-tonner workhorse showed an increase over May, as did the perennially popular Navara, continuing to impress despite a host of newer rivals in the double-cab sector.

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