How the semiconductor shortage – and growth in hardcore off-roading among younger buyers in Australia – led Nissan to develop a more affordable option of its flagship ute.
The global shortage of semiconductors has helped create a new back-to-basics niche in the hardcore off-road ute market in Australia, with the arrival of the 2022 Nissan Navara SL Warrior.
As production slowdowns crippled the car industry over the past two years, Nissan Australia found a way to short-circuit the delays and speed up deliveries – by introducing a more affordable model that retained the upgraded off-road capability, but deleted some of the bells and whistles.
The Nissan Navara SL Warrior – a more affordable, vinyl-floor version of the company’s leather-lined flagship Navara Pro-4X Warrior – was created after Nissan Australia identified a new off-road market niche: tradies in their teens and twenties who enjoy camping, off-roading, and the great outdoors.
The Nissan Navara SL Warrior program was originally designed to keep the assembly line moving at Premcar – the former Ford Performance Vehicles facility in Melbourne – as production of Navara Pro-4X Warrior donor vehicles slowed due to semiconductor shortages.
However, at the same time, Nissan Australia identified a new market niche among younger buyers with an adventurous streak – and the 2022 Nissan Navara SL Warrior was born.
Nissan Australia says the 2022 Nissan Navara SL Warrior was developed as a result of “market research and market conditions”.
“While the rest of the ute market is introducing more expensive models, we wanted to give off-road enthusiast buyers a more affordable option,” said Karla Leach, Nissan Australia’s director of corporate communications.
“Nissan Australia identified a growing niche within the double-cab ute market, among buyers who are very heavily focused on off-road use.
“The semiconductor shortage also meant there was a period of time where the SL Navara was in better supply than Pro-4X Navara.
“The combination of our market research and vehicle availability encouraged us to look closely at a more affordable version of the Navara Warrior, while maintaining its locally-engineered upgrades that deliver improved off-road ability.”
Nissan says the Navara SL Warrior is a “turn-key solution for serious off-road enthusiasts” who can purchase the vehicle ready-to-go from a Nissan dealership, and finance the whole package in a one-stop shop.
“We recognise there is growing interest in the off-road enthusiast ute market, and we wanted to deliver a highly capable vehicle at a more affordable price than other vehicles in the off-road segment,” said Ms Leach.
“The average transaction price for the high-end double-cab 4×4 utes is above $65,000 plus on-road costs, so we worked very hard to get under that threshold.
“The Navara SL Warrior gives off-road buyers peace of mind, with the upgrades to go off-road covered by Nissan and Premcar warranty – and they can buy the vehicle in one transaction, rather than going to aftermarket upfitters.”
Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring 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.