Nissan Australia boss not giving up on a Ranger Raptor rivalling Navara

The Managing Director of Nissan Australia has reportedly reiterated comments made last year that he is putting renewed pressure on the marque’s global engineering division to develop a Navara that will compete with the Ford Ranger Raptor.

In an interview with goauto.com.au at the time, Stephen Lester said that he had been in regular contact with Nissan Global in the hope of pushing for an off-road focused Navara in an attempt to revive lagging sales Down Under.

“I can show you pictures of the great-looking customer vehicles that I see around Australia at our dealerships and elsewhere of people putting all sorts of aftermarket packages, both genuine and non-genuine – of course we are pushing for all genuine parts,” Lester told the online platform.

“But what is shows and demonstrates to me very clearly is the enthusiasm of Australian consumers for this in the ute segment, and this would be an absolute killer if we can get something like that”.

In his latest appeal, Lester told carsguide.com.au that he is continuing to put pressure on Nissan management for a Nismo badged example, albeit this time stating that he is also lobbying for the addition of a “couple of extra cylinders”.

“I would love the team at global to give us an engine that’s in another car, we’ve got some tremendous engines. I can only hope that LCV team heeds some of that pressure from our group – we’re not the only ones around the world that would like to see it. We’re always keeping the pressure on,” Lester said.

“Trust me, we don’t miss an opportunity to remind them that there’s a pretty big engine bay there that could fit an extra couple of cylinders. We’ve seen plenty of manufactures in history make a mistake, and Nissan is not a company that’s going to under engineer a vehicle. I certainly think Nissan as a brand has the capability to do it, we just need to convince the will of the company to follow”.

What remains unknown though is whether the proposed engine would be petrol or diesel fuelled, though the application of the latter appears the most likely as the Navara co-developed Mercedes-Benz X-Class makes use of a 3.0-litre V6 in the flagship X350d.

Despite being the most obvious selection however, it remains to be seen if this will happen at all after the X-Class’ Australian market Product Manager, Scott Williams, told the online platform in April last year that the Navara “will never get the V6” as a spiritual successor to the 170kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V9X that powered the previous generation.

“This is no badge-engineered Navara like the Renault Alaskan is, for example. This vehicle is 50mm wider while the tracks are 70mm wider. So what does that mean? It effectively means every panel has to be different to match, from the front, side, the glass areas – all unique to X-Class,” Williams said at the time.

“The result is chalk and cheese that’s the extent of the engineering that’s gone into our version of the Nissan chassis, without going into too much detail. You would think all those little parts wouldn’t add up to such a big difference, but it does. All that engineering work, which is not easy to see from point blank, does add up to quite a big difference. The technology has been shared but actually instigating it at a price point that Infiniti wants to be, or Nissan wants to be, is not always what they say it should be”.

Another option could be the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 used in various Infiniti models in the United States, but which produces a peak of 298kW/475Nm in the Q50 Red Sport. At present however, these options are purely speculative.

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