Filed in Automobiles by on March 23, 2012

Nissan NP300 Hardbody dares peers
•With affordability, toughness
•Defies Elegushi sand dunes
By Moses Akaigwe
Friday March 23, 2012

•Nissan NP 300 Hardbody pick-up during the test-drive  at Elegushi Beach, Lagos.

The arrival of NP300 Hardbody, the latest Nissan offering in Nigeria, was foretold mid last year in Johannesburg: That was when Nissan South Africa presented it as a light commercial vehicle (LCV) in whom the manufacturer was well pleased, having imbued it with all that it would need to alter the status quo in the Sub-Saharan African markets, especially Nigeria.

And to prove that the new kid on the block could defy and thrive in, any harsh operating environment, it was subjected to all manner of rough tests and ‘harassment’, as some of the highpoints of the LCV event, well attended by the international media.

That was why much was expected of the 1-ton pick-up truck when the official Nissan distributor in Nigeria, Alliance Autos, recently lined up a few units of both he AX and base models for a test-drive that climaxed at the Elegushi beach, off Lekki expressway. And thanks to the vehicle’s off-road (4×4) capability, driving through the otherwise impossible sandy terrain, was almost like a sharp knife goes through butter.

Truly, it was as simple as that: All that yours sincerely did was rest the substantive gear, engaged the auxiliary 4×4 lever, tapped the gas pedal, and the highly torque, 2.4 litre petrol engine (in alliance with the four wheels) did the rest!

Not surprised, the Managing Director of Alliance Autos, Ian Middleton who (along with the General Manager, Dealer Development, Harpreet Arora and General Manager in charge of commercial vehicles, Gaurav Kaul) took active part in the test drive, cited the ability to conquer all terrains as a factor that makes the vehicle tick. Reinforced ladder-frame suspension system (for impressive load carrying ability), strong body that is thicker than its peers and efficient engine, were also highlighted as some of NP300 Hardbody’s strongest points.

He listed even more attractive unique selling points: “NP 300 Hardbody is a more affordable option. It provides comfort and has premium durability, which means that it has an extended lifespan that is better than that of any vehicle in its class”.
Built in Africa for tough, African conditions, the Hardbody boasts class leadership in several key performance areas for 1-ton pick-ups. Specially designed for the toughest terrains, NP300 Hardbody is characterized by high ground clearance (225 mm on AX grade). It has a reinforced load bed, with tailgate chains to match.
On safety, NP300 Hardbody (AX grade) features dual airbags, 3-point seatbelt, and an anti-lock braking system that optimizes braking performance.

At Alliance Autos, the feeling among the marketing team is that following the introduction of the new pick-up, the Nissan representative is now offering complete Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) solutions to the Nigerian customers. “Fleet operators can now source their full range of requirements; from the affordable workhorse, to well equipped work and leisure vehicles for top-rank staff, while still retaining the peace of mind of rock-solid build quality and the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the various segments”, Middleton remarked

He added: “With the introduction of the new Nissan NP300 Hardbody 1-ton pick-up, our LCV range is now a complete solution, thanks to the versatility of this durable Nissan platform. The NP300 Hardbody brings welcome style and luxury to the sector, for the area manager or foreman who needs something tough, reliable, and but also a car which cuts a fine figure at a gathering of high society.

“This model is expected to elevate the perception of the Nissan brand in our market to new levels, and is ideally equipped and prepared for our market requirements. We know many of our customers have been eagerly anticipating the launch of this range topping model, and are certain that the sound investment proposition it represents will attract many more to the Nissan brand we represent as Alliance Autos”.

In 1937 Nissan introduced its first light commercial vehicles into the market, establishing a strong heritage of reliability. And since the name Hardbody was first used, this pickup has lived up to the same exacting legacy.
Today, the vehicle is said to be the market leader in many African countries. Though the long term ambition of Alliance Autos is to see this happen in Nigeria too, for now, the target is to take the Hardbody to the second rung of the segment’s market ladder. Interestingly, intending buyers have variants to choose from – single or double cabin, AX or base, and others.


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