But Francois Baily, Nissan’s global head of light commercial vehicles, says his brand won’t introduce a hybrid Navara until the technology can match or better what customers expect from a dual-cab ute.
“We need to find the right capability,” Baily says.
“We don’t believe the customers will do any compromise on towing or payload.”
Strict emissions targets soon to be implanted in Europe will make it tricky for carmakers to continue selling heavy utes with powerful diesel engines – at least in some markets.
New Zealand and Australian markets might benefit from a green push led in the northern hemisphere.
Baily is adamant Nissan “hasn’t decided” exactly how to hybridise the Navara, only that it will happen sooner rather than later as “the industry is going there”.
Speaking with media at the Tokyo motor show, the Nissan executive could not say whether Nissan planned to boost the current Navara’s power output to match or exceed rivals such as the VW Amarok V6, or whether Australia’s Thai-sourced pick-ups would receive active safety features fitted to sister vehicles assembled in Spain.
Baily says Nissan has carefully watched the success of Ford’s Ranger Raptor and relative sales failure of Mitsubishi’s X-Class, telling reporters New Zealand and Australian customers are “highly knowledgeable and highly demanding”, and won’t settle for less than what they expect.
A next-gen Navara co-developed with Mitsubishi’s Triton is years away. Until then, Nissan’s butch-looking, beefed-up Navara N-Trek Warrior is as good as the ute is going to get.