BY THEODORE OPARA
ALLIANCE Autos Nigeria, distributors of the Nissan and Renault brands in Nigeria and a member of CFAO Group has introduced the new Nissan NP300 hardbody pickup into the market.
The new pickup, which was made available to the Motoring press for a test drive over the weekend, was described as a work-horse by the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Ian Middleton.
Responding to questions from journalists, Middleton said “this is basically a workhorse. It is a global vehicle that can be used for any purpose.”
The pickup comes in three versions, including single cabin, double cabin standard grade and double cabin higher grade.
All the versions are available with either two wheel drive or four wheel drive.
Four engine variants are available in the new NP300 engine lineup. This include the all new 2.4 litre petrol engine, 2.7 and 3.2 litre diesel power plants as well as the 2.5 litre common rail turbo diesel engine.
Explaining the reason behind the introduction of the new Nissan pickup into the market, the Alliance boss said, “the Nissan pickup is a market leader in many African countries because of it quality and Alliance auto would like to position the all-new Nissan pickup in the same way in Nigeria.
Nissan pickup is the number one in many African markets and the reason we are offering the NP300 hardbody is to face competition squarely bearing in mind that Nigeria is the ultimate in Africa and the biggest market for any product in the continent.”
According to him, the new NP300 comes in three versions with very high specs like roof rack, alloy rims and side step among others. Stand and features in the new pickup include power steering, height adjustable steering wheel tilt, lockable glove box, carpet floor cover, side impact protection, door guard bar and five speed manual transmission.
Others include air conditioning system, radio with CD player, central locking system, immobilizer, driver and passenger airbags.
Despite all these features, the managing director says that they are 15 per cent cheaper than competing models from other brands.
On what stands the Nissan hardbody pickup out, the Middleton said, “its affordability, premium reliability, comfort, longer lifespan, roomier interior, stronger suspension and ticker body panel are the industries benchmarks.
To this end, he said that Alliance Auto was looking forward to taking between 10 to 15 per cent of the one ton pickup market share in Nigeria in due time.
“We are aiming to take 10 to 15 per cent market share of this pickup segment in no time. We will be the number two in the next one year thereby improving our current six per cent market share in the segment.”
Describing the Nissan hardbody as a very durable pickup, Middleton said “even the first generation of the pickup built over 16 years ago are still on the road. The pickup body strength, suspension have remained very outstanding ever since the first generation and adjudged the most durable you can get in the segment.”