In a market driven by diesel SUVs, even the luxurious ones, the V8 powered Nissan Patrol makes little sense much like the Toyota Land Cruiser it competes with.
Nissan has some really great products on sale globally with only handful of them actually sold in India. Having not been able to gauge the right response for its products, the Japanese automaker has now moved into resurrection mode in a bid to regain sales and improve brand image. Most recently, the company showcased its flagship global luxury SUV the ‘Patrol’ in the country and also plans to launch the same later this year as part of a brand building exercise. While the Patrol may seem like the ideal choice for an SUV loving market, does this V8 powered mammoth actually make sense?
While India may be all rage about SUVs right from the compact to full-blown luxury space, SUVs bought in the country have been predominantly powered by a diesel motor instead of a petrol. With practicality, better fuel efficiency and a longer range on offer, diesel SUVs have made more sense and hence the Audi Q7s, Range Rovers and Mercedes GL-Class of the world have been successfully selling in India. But with a gas guzzling 5.6-litre V8 engine producing 400 HP and 550 Nm under the hood, the Patrol does not put a case for itself as convincingly as its rivals.
Nissan’s primary competition, the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200 also comes with a V8 diesel engine. But, being the CBU import that it is, sales are already diminutive for the overpriced LC 200 with most buyers choosing it only for the reliability offered by the brand. Taking sales figures into account, the Toyota Land Cruiser sold nine units last month and does an average of 2-3 units every month which has also hit rock bottom on several occasions. Then there is something also called as ‘brand value’, the Germans and the Brits just manage to command a higher brand value over their Japanese competition and has also been the reason why the Land Cruiser finds limited takers in India, which could happen with the Nissan Patrol as well.
A highly capable offering that it is, the Patrol just does not match to Nissan India’s intention of bringing an offering that elicits more positivity into the brand. In fact, the move could just backfire as the Patrol could go unnoticed in the crowded luxury SUV segment. So if the Patrol isn’t the ideal tool for brand building, then what it is?
Well, give the audience what it really wants, the popular Godzilla aka ‘GT-R’. Time and again, there have been talks about Nissan officially bringing the GT-R to India but nothing concrete has emerged as yet. Already a hit with private importers, the GT-R is the true calling for a market like India. There will easily be more takers for a four-seater practical sports car powered by a 3.8-litre V6 engine with around 540 horses on tap that does the 0-100 km/hr dash in 2.7 seconds. In conclusion, Nissan, if you really want to get your brand noticed, slap the logo on the GT-R and see the perceptions change and do it quick.