Nissan Navara safety rating upgrade is expiring

Nissan Navara safety rating upgrade is expiring

The Nissan Navara’s five-star safety rating expires at the end of this year, but the company has yet to announce what – if anything – it will do to remedy the glaring omission.

The Nissan Navara is in a race against time to get a safety upgrade or risk losing its five-star rating later this year.

The Nissan Navara is among a number of older vehicles that will lose their safety status after a six-year expiration date was introduced from late 2022.

The first-generation Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok will also lose their five-star ratings (which launched in 2015 and 2011, respectively) later this year, but new models are on the horizon.

Other manufacturers made upgrades to their vehicles a few years ago to keep their safety ratings up to date.

But Nissan was caught napping after failing to re-test the Navara under previous protocols that would have extended the five-star safety rating until the next-gen model is due.

The current five-star safety rating for the Nissan Navara – based on testing at less stringent criteria in 2015 – expires at the end of this year, leaving the company with three options, all of which come with challenges.

Nissan could invest in costly safety upgrades, but the vehicle is nearing the end of its model life, which would likely make this an uneconomical option as it could take years to recoup the tech investment.

Nissan could bring forward the arrival of the next-gen Navara, but that’s unlikely given that the new Mitsubishi Triton – its future under-the-skin twin – is due to debut first sometime in 2023.

Nissan could also leave the Navara untouched, instead focusing on retail customers who are less focused on safety ratings — and bearing the cost of missing out on fleet, government, and mining companies that mandate five-star vehicles.

Nissan Australia boss Adam Paterson recounted journey the company is deciding whether or not to address the Navara’s upcoming five-star vulnerability.

“I guess our message to customers is that the Navara built in December, which has a five-star safety rating, is the same as the Navara built in January and beyond.

“The strategy isn’t one we want to comment on any further, but obviously we’re considering it as this rating is a buying criterion for some consumers.” It is a requirement for some (fleets).

“We’ve been looking at the fact that starting next year, not rating five stars… will take some customers off the list.”

Asked whether Nissan will leave the Navara untouched and focus on retail customers or upgrade the vehicle so it can still win fleet business, Mr Paterson said: “For us it’s a strategy how we approach this segment. Will we try to upgrade the car or is there another solution?

“We’re not really ready to answer if we’re going to try to upgrade the current car or if there’s something else, another way to go about it.

“We are aware that if they do not receive the same rating (five-star security) in the future, there will obviously be an impact on some customers.

“But we’re not leaving the Ute market. The Navara is very important to us.

“We balance availability, investment in the current truck and investment in new replacement products. These are all things that are in the air.”

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motor editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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