The Nissan Hardbody is no stranger to us, and that’s because Nissan have been selling them in South Africa since 1988, yes kids, that’s 25 years of selling pretty much the same car. There was a new model in 1999, with a facelift in 2002, and a name change in 2007, but bottom line is, that it’s still the Nissan Hardbody.
What makes the Hardbody even more significant is that it’s been a locally produced car from the beginning, which means it’s been affordable, and part and servicing has been easy, making it one of the most popular bakkies on the South African market.
|Nissan NP300 “Hardbody” celebrates quarter century with a bang!
• Nissan’s iconic Hardbody nameplate celebrates 25 years in 2013
• Local manufacture strengthens SA economy
• Special edition anniversary models to celebrate iconic name
• NP300 Hardbody range now bolstered by class leading 6-year/ 150 000 km warranty
ROSSLYN, South Africa, (16 July 2013) - Currently celebrating 25 years of the Hardbody name in South Africa, Nissan has introduced a special 25th Anniversary pricing plan along with a class-leading 6-year/ 150 000 km warranty standard on all NP300 Hardbody models. Release of special edition versions of the evergreen and ever-dependable NP300 Hardbody one-ton bakkie are also planned as part of the celebrations.
Part of the South African motoring landscape
The Hardbody nameplate shares a rich history with Nissan LCVs in South Africa which begins as early as 1960 when the then Datsun Motor Vehicle Distributors imported 38 one-ton LDV pickups. Fast-forward to 1988 and the first Nissan bakkie wearing the Hardbody badge was introduced and featured in the South African market for eleven years. 1999 saw the introduction of the modern-day Nissan Hardbody, facelifted in 2002 with new diesel power trains and renamed the NP300 Hardbody in 2007 in line with international Nissan standards.
Produced locally since 1988 at Nissan’s Rosslyn manufacturing facility and contributing substantially to the creation of jobs and strengthening of the South African economy, the NP300 Hardbody is testament to the strength and might of the Nissan badge. Its motto of “Proud Heritage. Proven Capability” is confirmed by sales in more than 35 Sub-Saharan African countries and many other markets including the UAE, Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon.
The NP300 Hardbody forms part of Nissan’s comprehensive LCV line-up – the widest range of commercial vehicles in South Africa. Whether for the daily grind as a workhorse or for leisure purposes as a Hi-Rider, the Nissan NP300 Hardbody gets the job done right first time, every time.
A full trophy cabinet for Hardbody
Few motoring stalwarts can boast success in so many facets of the motor industry than the Nissan NP300 Hardbody. From massive sales to a host of motorsport accolades – the Hardbody has a full trophy cabinet, about which any proud NP300 Hardbody owner can boast.
It is Nissan’s star all-rounder – the Hardbody name has seen huge amounts of motorsport success throughout its life cycle and in varying fields and disciplines. The gruelling Dakar Rallies of 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 – where a locally-built Hardbody racer initially saw five stage wins for a French team in 2002.
This persuaded Nissan in Japan to officially enter the event with three works cars with Japanese, Finnish and South African drivers in the years which followed. The Midrand-built Hardbody racers saw the likes of the late Colin McRae, Yves Loubet, Giniel de Villiers, Hannes Grobler, Kenjiro Shinozuka and Ari Vatanen tackle the world’s toughest off-road race with gusto and rack up several stage wins for the factory team. Nissan’s Dakar success continued in later years with locally-engineered Navara bakkies taking over from the bulletproof Hardbody racers.
South African racing legend Hannes Grobler appeared in rallying in the late 1970s, and has the unique distinction of being known as the longest-serving works racing driver in SA. During his career, he successfully represented Nissan for more than 30 years and says that racing was not just something he loved. “It was a career and a passion. I have many highlights and racing to me is truly a treasured experience.” said Grobler.
Innumerable SA Off-road Championship accolades and wins between 2001 and 2005 – which contributed to Nissan’s 57 victories from 72 events overall (including winning the Championship overall between 2001 and 2009) – also feature prominently in the Nissan NP300 Hardbody’s list of motorsport achievements.
Other accolades include Brazil’s Best Pickup, the “Best Sports Ute” award in Australia as well as several local awards, including “Best Workhorse” and “Towcar of the Year” – all backed up by exemplary sales figures in South Africa especially. With over 340 000 Hardbody examples having left the factory gates at the Rosslyn plant since January 1994 to date, the Nissan NP300 Hardbody is as South African as a braai on a Saturday afternoon. Since the inception of the Hardbody nameplate in 1988 however, it is estimated that over 224 000 examples have made their way to proud South African owners, over 77 000 to the South African government and at least 144 000 have been exported – taking the total number of locally-built Hardbody bakkies to an estimated 446 000!
Celebrating its quarter-century in South Africa in 2013, the Nissan NP300 Hardbody is now available at a special 25th anniversary price. All NP300 Hardbody models are now also available with a class leading 6-year/ 150 000 km warranty.
“The Nissan NP300 Hardbody has an unmarred heritage in South Africa, where for the last 53 years the fabled Nissan one-ton bakkie has become part of the landscape in our country,” says Freddie Louw, Chief Marketing Manager for the LCV Business Unit at Nissan South Africa.
“Twenty-five years is a significant milestone in many instances in life, whether it is a birthday, coronation or marriage celebration. In the car world, celebrating 25 years of a nameplate as iconic as the Hardbody moniker is a truly glorious experience and we are extremely proud of the NP300 Hardbody’s strong performance both locally and internationally over so many years. The new class-leading warranty, 25th anniversary pricing structure and special edition NP300 Hardbody models strengthen the NP300 Hardbody’s ties with purveyors of reliable, tough and durable bakkies. We salute the NP300 Hardbody and look forward to its continued success for years to come,” concludes Louw.
25th Anniversary special edition NP300 Hardbody models will be available from September 2013 with details of content and quantity to be confirmed closer to introduction time.