Nissan Navara safety rating upgrade is running out of time


The Nissan Navara’s five-star safety rating expires at the end of this year, but the company has yet to announce what – if anything – it will do to address this glaring omission.

The Nissan Navara is in a race against time to get a safety upgrade or risk losing its five-star rating from the end of this year.

The Nissan Navara is one of a number of older vehicles that will lose their safety status after the introduction of a six-year expiry date from the end of 2022.

The first-generation Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok will also lose their five-star ratings (established in 2015 and 2011 respectively) at the end of this year, but new models are just around the corner.

Other manufacturers made upgrades to their vehicles a few years ago so they could keep their safety ratings up to date.

But Nissan was caught napping after failing to retest the Navara under earlier protocols that would have extended the five-star safety rating until the next-generation model was due.

The current five-star safety rating for the Nissan Navara – based on testing under less stringent criteria in 2015 – will expire at the end of this year, leaving the company with three options, all of which have challenges.

Nissan could invest in expensive safety upgrades, but the vehicle is nearing the end of its lifespan, which would likely make it an uneconomical option given that it could take years to recoup the engineering investment .

Nissan could advance the arrival of the next-generation Navara, but that’s unlikely as the new Mitsubishi Triton – its future twin under the skin – is expected to debut first, sometime in 2023.

Nissan could also do nothing to the Navara and instead focus on retail customers who are less focused on safety ratings – and carry the cost of missing out on sales to corporate fleets, government departments and mining companies that demand five star vehicles.

Nissan Australia boss Adam Paterson said Conduct the company decides whether or not it will fill the Navara’s impending five-star safety void.

“I guess our message to customers is that the Navara that has a five-star safety rating built in December is the same as the Navara that’s going to be built in January and beyond.

“We’re not ready to comment on this strategy yet, but it’s obviously something we’re considering as this rating is a purchase consideration for some consumers. It’s a requirement for some (fleets).

“We looked at the fact that not being rated five stars from next year … will put some customers off the list.”

Asked if Nissan would leave the Navara untouched and focus on retail customers, or improve the vehicle so it could still win fleet business, Mr Paterson said: “For us, it’s a strategy on how we approach this segment. Are we going to try to improve the car or is there another solution?

“We’re not really ready to answer if we’re going to try to improve the current car, or if there’s something else, another way to approach it.

“We are clear that there are obviously impacts for some customers of not receiving the same (five-star security) rating in the future.

“But we are not moving away from the ute market. The Navara is extremely important to us.

“We balance availability, investment in the current truck and investment in new replacements. These are all things that are in the air.

Joshua Dowling has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, spending most of his time working for the Sydney Morning Herald (as automotive editor and an early member of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in 2018 and was a World Car of the Year judge for over 10 years.

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