Nissan PH hosts regional launch of mid-size SUV
CLARK GLOBAL CITY, Pampanga—We’re going up, up, and away. But our feet would still stand firmly on solid ground.
The Philippines had become the ideal setting for the regional launch of the mid-size SUV Nissan Terra.
The big bosses in the regional office had been keenly observing the goings-on on the and above ground, and they liked what they saw.
In an exclusive interview with Inquirer Motoring the night of the May 28 reveal, Nissan Motor Corporation’s regional senior vice president and head of OC-Asean and Oceania Yutaka Sanada revealed that it isn’t only the GDP growth or the robust automotive sales that makes the Philippines a unique market in Asia and Oceania.
What convinced the auto giant to hold the launch here was the Filipinos’ optimism.
“I feel the optimism of the people in the Philippines. It’s beyond any business key performance indicator. This market is growing. Our life can be richer in the coming future. I always feel this in our dialogue with our customers and with product planners in the Philippines,” said Sanada.
The Terra is Nissan’s first entry in the mid-size SUV segment in the Philippines, and it’s the segment where the most heated war is being waged.
A descendant of the legendary off-road beast Patrol, this new frame-based Terra was introduced to meet the rising customer demand for SUVs.
“Over 60 years of SUV heritage went into the development of the Nissan Terra,” said Ramesh Narasimhan, president and managing director of Nissan Philippines.
Nissan Philippines executives cite Terra’s reinforced chassis, five-link coil spring rear suspension system, and rigid rear-wheel axle working together to ensure strength, durability, comfort, and convenience.
It was also pointed out that with the 4WD-Diff lock system, coupled with the hill descent control and hill start assist features, drivers have more control over the wheels during 4×4 situations, giving buyers the confidence to take their family on urban and outdoor adventures by providing security without compromise.
Motoring media from the Asian and Oceania region also congratulated Nissan executives for its competitive pricing.
Looking at the price range of midsize 4×2 and 4×4 SUVs available in the Philippines, the bestselling, Japanese-dominated variants start from P1.3 million to P4.6 million.
With the new excise tax, the price of the Terra variants range from P1.499 million (Terra 2.5L Mid 4×2, 6MT), P1.615 million (Terra 2.5L Mid 4×2 7AT), P1.697 million (Terra 2.5 4×2 High 7AT), P1.899 million (Terra 2.5L Premium 4×2 7AT), and P2.096 million (Terra 2.5L Premium 4×4 7AT).
Nissan Philippines starts accepting pre-orders on June 1.
When asked how the new excise taxes affected the Terra’s pricing, Narasimhan replied: “For us, the focus is what we have to offer to our customer and how strong the product is, what the value we deliver to the customer. If that’s competitive, that’s fantastic, we offer the best value to our customer. I think that’s what Terra does.”
Sanada also remarked on how robust Filipinos spent on cars. ”I can tell you that the Nissan GTR in this market has had significant sales. I think last year, we sold more than 100 GTRs in the country.”
Sanada made a guarantee that the test-drive landscape for media members the day after the launch would be “fantastic” to include a route through volcanic rocks and river crossings.
Sanada made special mention of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which the Terra is integrated with, such as lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection.
Its smart rear view mirror also allows drivers to see images from a camera mounted at the back.
“Nissan Intelligent Mobility not just shows the driver the car’s immediate surroundings, but also how the driver can feel the car. That’s the principle behind it, and customers are realizing how it makes sense in making their drive more enjoyable.”
Sanada also cited the 7-seater Terra’s roominess. The SUV has undergone internal assessments with Nissan customers, he said, and the result of these consultations include a first-class second row one-touch remote fold-and-tumble control.
“It is the first SUV with auto tumble. The driver can just lift one finger, and the second row tumbles. This also leads one to easily go to the third row.”
He added, “We are especially focusing on the balance between city and off-road drive, quietness, drivability, and comfort.
Nissan executives are confident that Terra will change the game in the mid-size SUV segment, and that it will be the strongest contributor to Nissan Philippines’ business growth in 2018.
The Terra will be available in the market by Aug. 20.