Will Nissan PH launch many new cars in 2024?
2023 has been a fairly quiet one for Nissan Philippines.
They did have some special editions and minor cosmetic updates of existing models, but there haven’t been any big ticket launches apart from the new generation Nissan Z and updated GT-R. That’s just the way it goes for the auto industry; some years are fairly boring, while other years they can barely keep up with one event after another.
That will change in 2024, according to Nissan’s Isao Sekiguchi. During a discussion with AutoIndustriya representatives, he said that Nissan Philippines will have a very busy 2024. Whenever an executive of a major manufacturer says that they mean it. The last time such words were said to us was in early 2023 by a Toyota executive. They said they’ll keep us busy this year. They did… at least for most of us.
Sekiguchi’s statements aren’t specific, but if you read between the lines, it’s clear that he likely means multiple new model launches in the Philippine market be it updates to existing models or all-new vehicles. The man knows what he is saying; after all, he is the president of Nissan ASEAN and is concurrently the president of Nissan Motor Thailand as well as president director of Nissan Indonesia.
Sekiguchi’s comments are a stark contrast to what was said to our counterparts in Thailand as Nissan may not have that many launches there, resulting in a refocus towards dealer after sales and service at least for now. Vietnamese media were also asking when Nissan will introduce EVs into the country, but Nissan has to hold off due to the shortages of energy that have forced rationing via rotating blackouts in the summer.
So back to the Philippines: What models could Nissan be looking at introducing?
If we were to guess, perhaps the Terra could get some new variants or even perhaps some long overdue updates to the Livina. But our bet is that Nissan could be looking at a facelifted and upgraded Kicks e-Power. It is one of their key models in the Philippine market now and is proving popular with customers in the B-SUV class. Another model that needs an update is the Leaf EV’s charging system from ChaDeMo to Type-2 as the latter is the one being widely fielded now.
Perhaps the biggest clue, however, was the models we drove on a recent trip to Japan. We got to try out three vehicles: the X-Trail e-Power, the Serena e-Power, and the Ariya BEV. The X-Trail is possible but the pricing from Japan will likely be high. The Serena e-Power is a vehicle a lot of Nissan customers will definitely want, but Nissan keeps holding off on making a version with the steering wheel on the left side.
The Ariya BEV, however, may be the most likely candidate. The sleek coupe-like SUV could be a big hit in the Philippines if Nissan prices it right for consumers. And given that the supply situation has definitely stabilized after the chip shortage from last year, the launch of Ariya could happen in 2024 in the Philippines.
Again, it’s all a matter of let’s wait and see.