AS WE predicted back in May 2015, Nissan has cut the GU Patrol (Y61) from its line-up before tighter emission regulations come into play at the end of 2016. At the launch of the NP300 Navara in 2015, Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery told us: “To continue with it [Y61] beyond 2016 would mean meeting EU5 emissions, and that would require considerable investment.
It would really be for us [Australia] only, so it’s a very limited market.”
At a press gathering held in Melbourne in April this year, Emery confirmed the action, saying: “We’ll be withdrawing the Y61 Patrol from the marketplace, both in wagon and cab-chassis version, at the end of this year. We probably will be selling the last of our Y61 Patrols late in the calendar year.
“It’s probably not a surprise because it [the Y61] has been hanging on by its fingernails for quite a few years, and we just made the decision now to make that call. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to keep selling Y61 because it is such an iconic product for us and it has such a loyal base of owners, but you’ve got to know when to retire, and I think that time has come for that car specifically.”
Speaking of the possibility of re-engineering the GU Patrol for future production, Emery said: “There are a number of things that we would need to consider with that car continuing on in terms of regulatory and other market-acceptable specifications. They’re just not available to us, or if they are available to us, the cost impediment versus the volume opportunity and the profit opportunity is such that probably its time has come.”
The GU Patrol has been on sale in Australia for 19 years, during which time it has gone through several ‘Series’ updates and six
different powertrains. Its demise leaves us with no liveaxle 4x4 Nissan offering and leaves Nissan with no sevenseat, diesel 4x4 wagon, and no heavy-duty cab-chassis/ ute offering. The Patrol cabchassis was still popular with fleet buyers, but its numbers were dwindling.
The Patrol nameplate lives on in the larger, petrolfuelled, wagon-only Y62 Patrol, which gained a new lease of life following a re-alignment in the product range and a price cut late last year. As of March 2016, the Y62 Patrol, which starts at $69,990, is outselling the old Y61 model but is being limited by supply issues.
“By being honest with ourselves and our dealers with where that car [Y62 Patrol] was and what it was capable of, we repositioned and respecified that car, and really priced and specced it at what the market expectation was,” said Emery of the current model. “And, surprise, surprise, people started buying it in droves to the point now where we can’t build enough of them.
It’s still in small volumes, because it is a big petrol in a diesel market, so it’s not as if it is running away selling 200 cars a month.”
Emery went on to confirm there are presently no plans to introduce a diesel engine variant to the Y62 Patrol range. That range continues with just the $69,990 Patrol Ti and the $86,990 Patrol Ti-L.
The Y62 is coming up to seven years old and we don’t expect it to live as long as its GU predecessor, given the relatively fast model turnaround we now see. We can only live in hope that the next generation is engineered with Australia in mind (not just the US and Middle East) and will include a diesel donk and, heaven forbid, a ute.