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Navara-based panelvan for US

2008-12-05 07:51
Built on a Pathfinder/Navara platform, and oddly p

Built on a Pathfinder/Navara platform, and oddly powered by Cummins, the NV2500 is set to take on Merc’s Sprinter range stateside by 2010.

Nissan is preparing to add a substantial commercial van to its US vehicle range.

Although the Titan bakkie (think supersized Navara) has been a success for the Japanese company stateside, recent weakness in the demand for V8 petrol powered double-cab bakkies, has forced Nissan’s hand with the unveiling of the new NV2500.

It may look like a really big panel van (which it is), but with a family familiar oversized grille (you can see touches of Navara in the front view if you squint) it retains some remnant of Nissan identity.

Cued to be built on Titan’s F-Alpha platform, NV2500 will not feature power from the Japanese company’s redoubtable engine engineering department – the Titan’s 5.6l V8 is simply too over the top for a panelvan.

With US customers moving away from oversized and under stressed petrol V8s, commercial users stateside still expect their diesels to be big and brawny, something Nissans can simply not developed with a quick enough turnaround time – or financially justify – in the current economic climate.

Cummins power

Subsequently, American diesel engine specialist – Cummins - has been called upon to provide power for the NV2500. Cummins also supplies the Dodge Ram bakkie range with engines.

With Chrysler floundering close to bankruptcy, Cummins is mulling the idea of only supplying the 5.9l Ram engine for international markets outside the US from now on, leaving Dodge Ram buyers with only a 6.7l (260kW/881Nm) option.

This state of affairs has opened up a capacity gap Nissan hoped to capitalise on – though the big 5.9l, straight-six is probably overpowered for an NV2500 application.

Cummins has allegedly been tasked to develop two new, smaller, common-rail injection engines for the NV2500 range, which should be a new avenue for a company which has traditionally increased cubic capacity when confronted with powertrain solution problems. ZF has been tasked with producing gearboxes for the NV2500 range.

Sprinter sized

NV2500 features oversized American interior utility space (1.8m tall walkthrough capaciousness) with some clever Japanese packaging sporting a surfeit of stowage spaces.

To accommodate the model’s market debut by 2010, Nissan is spending $118 million on production line preparation at its Canton, Mississippi plant.

NV2500 Should undercut both Ford’s upcoming Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – sold stateside with Dodge branding, for now…

A peculiar spin-off of the newfangled Cummins/Nissan relationship is the possibility of Nissan hopefully ushering in a turbodiesel Titan bakkie too.

Though why Nissan chose not to employ the established Navara 2.5l turbodiesel for the NV2500 project is unfathomable.


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