Motor vehicle manufacturing giant Nissan is positioning itself to once again tap the massive South African mini bus taxi industry like it use to about 20 years ago with the once popular E20.
This time around the Japanese giant is plotting to position its Nissan NV350 for the taxi industry and is exploiting the E20 memories in its pre launch marketing. The company has tagged the Nissan NV350 as “the successor to the E20 minibus” and “the return of the legend”.
Remember the E20! This Nissan product once captured a significant portion of the South African market and mainly the taxi industry. It sold about 71 000 units in South Africa between 1973 and 1996. I certainly have not seen an E20 in the road for a long time but Nissan maintains that some E20’s are still operation today.
Nissan said in a statement “The forthcoming Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi has been uniquely developed to meet local regulations and market needs and arrives in early 2014 as the return of a legend. It will again form strong ties with the South African taxi industry and the 15 million people it transports every single day.”
To make this taxi industry tie look real Nissan has invited key stakeholders from taxi organisations in South Africa to discuss the forthcoming Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi to “play a part in its introduction”.
Nissan said it wants key stakeholders from taxi organisations to take part in naming the new Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi which according to Nissan represents “unprecedented consumer involvement in product introduction.”
Freddie Louw, Chief Marketing Manager of Light Commercial Vehicles at Nissan South Africa said “After the legendary Nissan E20 formed such strong bonds with the South African taxi industry, which it played a large role in making it what it is today, it is only appropriate that we involve customers in the very core of our product planning. Never before has a South African vehicle manufacturer allowed customers, who will be buying their product and using it on a daily basis, to give it the name of their choice.”
We are looking for a name which really adds extra value to what will be a formidable competitor in the local taxi industry – something distinctly African that will encourage and inspire drivers and which will impart the strength and reliability they can expect from their Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi.”
We are very eager to introduce the new Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi to the South African market. Powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and featuring a practical 16-seater passenger capacity, the Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi once again reiterates the strong values of spaciousness and good fuel economy which made the E20 so popular for over 20 years,” said Louw.
We are doing the necessary background work right now, ahead of the 2014 launch, to ensure that the new Nissan NV350 Minibus Taxi is completely suited to the South African taxi industry – and so far the response has been decidedly positive.”
The company said the Nissan NV350 ‘Name to Fame Game’ is currently in its third round which sees the provincial taxi organisations submitting their top five names as received by the regional, metropolitan and district associations, to their respective organisational bodies and finally to Nissan. The winner not only gets their suggested name applied to the new model but also R50 000 towards their new Nissan NV350 Taxi.
It would seem the team at Nissan are keen exploiters of long lost memories. The other day, they used a similar down the memory lane angle to reintroduce Datsun.