NISMO storms into Phl

What was initially touted a media thanksgiving party also turned out to be an occasion for an exciting five-car reveal for Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI). Held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City, the celebration (themed “Change the Game”) bannered two consecutive years of 48-percent sales growth in 2016 and 2017. Speaking to guests, NPI president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan expressed elation over the glowing results.

According to the 2017 sales report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) of which NPI is part, Nissan ranked sixth in total sales with a consolidated figure of 24,995 vehicles sold. The carmaker delivered 16,897 units in 2016. Last year’s sales performance accounted for 5.87-percent market share.

NPI also placed sixth in sales of passenger cars with 7,820 units – growing 32.7 percent 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-percent uptick.

GT-R NISMO in the house. From left are Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the GT-R, 370Z, and NISMO; Ramesh Narasimhan, Nissan Philippines head; and Willy Tee Ten, dealer principal of Nissan High-Performance Center Quezon Avenue

“(It) was a record-breaking year for Nissan,” underscored 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.”

NISMO cometh

A contraction of “Nissan Motorsport,” NISMO is the performance division of the brand – devoted to high-output engineering and auto parts, and the pursuit of motorsport. The latter, says Nissan on its website, is “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.”

The Nissan Urvan Premium S now has a dealer option luxury kit developed with Atoy Body Kits

Started in 1984, NISMO was formed as a combination of two performance divisions that existed under the Nissan aegis – Oppama Works and Omori Works. Four years later, Nismo released its first vehicle, the Saurus, for motorsport use in a one-make series. In 1989, the Skyline R32 was also produced for racing.

Now, formally ushering in this embodiment of Nissan’s sport performance is the GT-R NISMO – the first (and most potent) in what is expected to be a salvo of more rarefied rides for brand.

GT-R chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura himself explained the virtues of the NISMO version of “Godzilla.” Lightweight materials, motorsport 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, is priced at P13.2 million.

Meanwhile, Narasimhan said, “Nissan is excited to let the Philippine market experience the result of NISMO’s longstanding expertise in motorsports and ultra-high performance cars.” He promised that, “customers can surely expect other nameplates under the NISMO lineup in the future.”

Four new vehicles

In addition to the GT-R NISMO, NPI launched four new and improved Nissan vehicles available next month: The Urvan Premium S, which comes with a dealer option luxury kit including four captain seats with leather appointments, overhead compartments, and entertainment system (kit is expected to add P400,000 to P450,000 to the price of an Urvan); 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), with an upgraded engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. The final vehicle is expected to be revealed in February.

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