In his speech at the 2nd Philippine International Motorshow, NMPI President Allen Chen announced, "NMPI will also soon launch the "X-TRAIL SUV Safety School." The SUV Safety School is our commitment to Nissan's global safety program under the idea called Safety Shield."
Mr. Chen pointed out that "all Nissans are already filled with active and passive safety technologies like Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and the well-known Nissan Zone Body Concept Passenger Safety Cage, even the actual drivers of the Nissan X-TRAIL can extend this Safety Shield by actually becoming more skilled therefore safer-but having fun at the same time.
"This is a project six months in the making," comments Raymond Tribdino, Group Head for Marketing and Sales at NMPI.
"The original concept began as a off-road track to be built for customers at our plant where they can test the limits of their X-TRAILs and learning to drive on the edge. Eventually the concept of formalizing the off-road experience was encouraged by Nissan's global safety program," Mr. Tribdino continues.
"This is NMPI's translation of the Safety Shield-not only by vehicle safety technologies but also by making better drivers. By teaching X-TRAIL owners to become better drivers-we contribute not only to improving the driving experience but also providing a totally different safety perspective. This project is just the beginning of more safety-related activities for Nissan vehicle owners."
Mr. Tribdino began a trend in media testing for SUVs when in August 2003, the X-TRAIL was introduced to the press in an activity called the "X-TRAIL X-treme Drive." Fifteen X-TRAILs were deployed for this event that covered 80 kilometers of on- and off-road obstacles from the Nissan Sta. Rosa plant to crossing back roads of Laurel, Talisay and M Batangas through the Taal Lake and finally ending up in Forest Crest in Tagaytay.
In between Sta. Rosa and Tagaytay the media had to go through a series of guessing games and challenges to get from one point to the next. At the end of the 4-hour journey, they were treated to something they totally didn't expect.
At Forest Crest a purpose-built track of ruts, dips, humps, a wading pool and a 42-degree hill was made all to prove the "authentic 4x4 skills" of the Nissan X-TRAIL. An innovation at that time the X-TRAIL X-treme Drive changed the face of test driving in the country.
"We are making another innovation for our customers," explains Steven Hu, Assistant Vice President for Marketing at NMPI. "The SUV Safety School reaches out to our customers, providing them with the skills to be safer drivers on and off the road."
"Learning balance, handling and more importantly, the understanding of the vehicle and its dynamics, as well as the limits of the driver's performance will make for safer driving," adds Mr. Hu. "Of course the X-TRAIL provides driving performance that can capably deliver whatever the driving skill."
Landcraft Adventures Inc. an awarded and well-respected adventure events organizer will handle all the training for the SUV School. Christopher Bargas, a well-known 4x4 enthusiast and winner of many off-road events both here and abroad will take care of the coaching lessons and is overall consultant.
"We take pride in working with Nissan Motor Philippines in this first-of-a-kind SUV Safety School," comments Mr. Bargas. "We believe in the idea of creating this customer touch point and providing them with a way to improve their driving skills, at the same time have a lot of fun."
At the end of the course, each X-TRAIL driver who will pass the different actual tests after the morning training and classroom sessions will receive a Certificate of Proficiency from the organizers.
"This certificate is proof that the driver has the necessary skills to drive off-road and has gained the knowledge to increase his safety quotient on road," Mr. Tribdino adds.
The track was designed to take the X-TRAIL to its very limits. The vehicle's impressive performance comes from its technological heritage-the electronic all-wheel drive system inherited from the legendary Skyline and the QR-series engine which shares its Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control (CVTC) with the 350Z are put together with Nissan's over 40 years of off-road design experience. Resulting in an SUV that does not only perform well in urban conditions, but impresses even when there is no asphalt.
"Initially we will open the SUV School to select X-TRAIL owners. We will have a total of 7 to 9 weekends at the start and it will be by invitation only," explains Mr. Tribdino, who is also Director of the SUV Safety School. "But it won't end there. We will open it to the public once we are ready."