By Kap Maceda Aguila
NISSAN Philippines, Inc. (NPI) is introducing the domestic automobile market to the virtues of heightened, sportier performance by unveiling on Jan. 25 five new vehicles — headlined by the entry of Nismo, Nissan’s performance brand.
Committed to high-output engineering and auto parts, along with the pursuit of motor sport, the Nismo experience is, according to Nissan; “30 years deep… [and the company] believes in power — but it must have a purpose… agility — but it must be refined… technology because we must always be moving forward.”
Declared NPI president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan in a speech, “Nissan is excited to let the Philippine market experience the result of Nismo’s longstanding expertise in motor sports and ultra-high performance cars.” He promised “customers can surely expect other nameplates under the Nismo lineup in the future.”
Nismo was formed in 1984 with the merger of two performance divisions under the Nissan aegis — Oppama Works and Omori Works. Four years later, Nismo released its first vehicle, the Saurus, for motor sport use in a one-make series. It was followed in 1989 by the Skyline R32. Today, ushering in what is veritably the pinnacle of Nissan’s sport performance is the GT-R Nismo.
Present for the vehicle’s local introduction was the GT-R’s chief product specialist, Hiroshi Tamura, who provided more comprehensive insight into the Nismo version of “Godzilla” — the GT-R’s moniker among car enthusiasts. Lightweight materials, motor sport features, a powerful engine, and performance enhancements “are engineered to give an exhilarating experience on the road and on the track.”
The GT-R Nismo, now available at Nissan High Performance Center in Quezon Avenue, sells for P13.2 million (the GT-R Premium, also sold through the same dealership, has a pre-tax reform program sticker price of P7.5 million).
Propelling the GT-R Nismo is a retuned 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 that generates 592 hp and 652 Nm, compared to the 565 hp and 637 Nm produced by the same engine in the GT-R Premium. NPI said the GT-R Nismo gets ”Nismo-tuned suspension with additional roll stiffness, adhesive bonding [in addition to spot welding] for increased body-shell rigidity, Nismo-tuned aerodynamic exterior elements designed to increase down force… sculpted Alcantara-trimmed Recaro front bucket seats, [and] Nismo racing-style Alcantara-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel.” To reduce weight, the car’s boot lid, spoiler, front and rear bumpers, and lower front undercover are made of carbon fiber.
During the same event, Mr. Narasimhan underscored NPI’s sterling performance in 2016 and 2017, where the company registered similar 48% upticks.
Last year, according to the 2017 sales report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc., to which NPI belongs, Nissan ranked sixth in total sales (attaining 5.87% market share) with a consolidated figure of 24,995 vehicles sold. The car maker delivered 16,897 units in 2016.
NPI also placed sixth in sales of passenger cars with 7,820 units — up 32.7% over the 2016 total. It was in the movement of its commercial vehicles where NPI showed a greater growth rate — selling 17,175 units compared to 11,002 in 2016, representing a 56.1% hike.
”[It] was a record-breaking year for Nissan,” said Mr. Narasimhan in a speech. “Not only were we able to launch new models in competitive segment… we were also able to expand our foothold across the country and achieve our largest sales record… These inspire us to set the bar higher and change the game this 2018, starting with new vehicles that will surely shake up the industry.”
FOUR NEW VEHICLES
Aside from the GT-R Nismo, NPI also launched four new and improved Nissan vehicles available beginning in February: The Urvan Premium S, which comes with a P400,000 — P450,000 dealer option luxury kit (developed with A-Toy Body Kits) including four captain seats with leather appointments, overhead compartments, and entertainment system; the Juke N Style, in Nismo colors of red and white (price to be announced); and Nissan Patrol Royale 7 A/T (P3,749,900), which has an upgraded engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission.