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New van delivers for Nissan

Loads of opportunity: Nissan's 3.5-tonne van is based on the Renault Master, which is already on sale in Australia.

NV400 set to lead Nissan Australia back into local LCV market

27 Sep 2010

NISSAN Australia’s plans to re-enter the local LCV market took a step forward last week with the launch of the NV400 large van and new variants of its popular NV200 van at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.

The NV200 and NV400 vans are expected to be a part Nissan Australia’s leap into the local LCV market some time in 2011 or early 2012.

Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Dan Thompson told GoAuto back in March he would not be drawn on a local launch time, but we expect to see Nissan vans back in Australia in the next 12 to 18 months.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan NV200 Evalia.

“There are lots of good opportunities in the small-van space as far as what Nissan is doing,” said Mr Thompson.

“We want to bring in a competitive class-leading product that is profitable.”

The NV400 is Nissan’s variant of alliance partner Renault’s Master 3.5-tonne van and was styled in its European studios with the trademark front grille appearance shared with Navara, Pathfinder and Patrol.

“In front of you is Nissan’s response to the customers that need a reliable, efficient and capable van”, said Nissan corporate vice-president Gilles Normand in Hannover last week.

“We present today the NV400 in its quasi-final production version, which offers a distinctive and genuine design.”

Engine options were not revealed, but expect the NV400 to share the Renault’s 2.5-litre, 88kW/300Nm turbo-diesel and six-speed Quickshift transmission.

Mr Normand confirmed plans to launch a zero-emissions small van in Europe in 2013.

This is expected to be a variant of the smaller NV200, a VW Caddy-sized van, using electric technology debuted in the Nissan Leaf passenger car.

The award-winning NV200 has been a success for Nissan in Europe and is available in the right-hand drive UK market in both van and ‘combi’ variants.

A new passenger model known as the Evalia, which can be configured as a five or seven-seat people-mover, will be available with a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or a 1.5 dCi diesel engines when it is launched in Europe in January.

New technologies also unveiled for the NV200 range in Hannover include iPhone apps that allow you to track and find your van, and view the entire owner’s manual electronically.

Cameras placed around the van monitor the distance to objects in the vicinity to allow pinpoint parking, and also offer an aerial view of the van and its surrounds.

Although similar systems are found in some luxury vehicles, Nissan claims its ‘Around View’ system is unique in the LCV world.

“Nissan is deadly serious about becoming a major player in the commercial vehicle world,” said Mr Normand.

“Despite the current economic crisis, we are already selling more than 500,000 units globally. By the middle of the decade we aim to be producing more than one million units annually and by the end of 2012 we expect to be selling commercial vehicles in over 90 per cent of the world’s markets.”

Those international markets include re-entering the LCV segment in Australia and the USA with three new models promised each year up to 2013.

The new models are expected to include a mid-sized van positioned between the NV200 and NV400 models to compete with the highly successful Toyota HiAce and Hyundai iLoad in Australia.

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