The Nissan Navara’s five-star safety rating expires at the end of this year, but the company is yet to announce what it will do – if anything – to address the glaring omission.
The Nissan Navara is in a race against time to undergo a safety upgrade or risk losing its five-star score from the end of this year.
The Nissan Navara is among a number of older vehicles that will lose their safety status after a six-year expiry date was introduced from the end of 2022.
The Mitsubishi Triton and the first-generation Volkswagen Amarok will also lose their five-star scores (established in 2015 and 2011 respectively) at the end of this year, but new models are around the corner.
Other manufacturers made upgrades to their vehicles a few years ago so they could keep their safety ratings fresh.
But Nissan has been 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 is due.
The current five-star safety rating for the Nissan Navara – based on tests 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 costly safety upgrades, but the vehicle is approaching the end of its model life, which would likely make this an uneconomical option given it could takes years to recoup the engineering investment.
Nissan could pull forward the arrival of the next-generation Navara, however this is unlikely as the new Mitsubishi Triton – its future twin under the skin – is due to debut first, some time in 2023.
Nissan could also do nothing to the Navara, and instead focus on retail customers who have less focus on safety ratings – and wear the cost of missing out on fleet, government, and mining company businesses that mandate five-star vehicles.
The boss of Nissan Australia, Adam Paterson, told Drive the company is deciding whether or not it will address the Navara’s imminent five-star safety void.
“I guess our message to customers is 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.
“The strategy isn’t one that we’re ready to make a comment on yet, but obviously it’s something that we’re considering because that rating is a purchase consideration for some consumers. It’s a requirement for some (fleets).
“We’ve looked at the fact that not being five-star rated as of next year … will put some customers off the list.”
When asked if Nissan will leave the Navara untouched and focus on retail customers, or upgrade the vehicle so it can still win fleet business, Mr Paterson said: “For us it’s a strategy about how we approach this segment. Are we going to try and upgrade the car, or is there another solution?
“We’re not really ready to answer if we’re going to try and upgrade the current car, or if there’s something else, another way to address that.
“We’re clear that there are obviously impacts to some customers of not receiving the same (five-star safety) rating going forward.
“But we’re not walking away from the ute market. The Navara is extremely important to us.
“We’re balancing availability, investment in the current truck, and investment in new replacement products. These are all things that are in the air.”