- New Nissan NV350 Impendulo picks up where E20 left off
- Nissan to re-enter taxi industry with brand-new, tailored 16-seater
- Name to Fame Game results in unique new model name
ROSSLYN, South Africa – Nissan will re-enter the taxi industry in South Africa with the launch of the all-new Nissan NV350 Impendulo, which will go on sale in March this year.
The new 16-seat model, has been built to comply with South Africa's taxi industry regulations and benefits from extensive South African influence throughout its development while being specifically engineered in Japan.
The new model succeeds the legendary Nissan E20 of the 1990s – a vehicle which still carries strong heritage with local taxi operators almost twenty years after the last E20 was sold.
The new NV350 Impendulo Taxi, whose name is also unique to the South African market, has already begun forging new bonds with local taxi association members who have featured extensively in its development, both in its engineering and indeed its special name.
The innovative 'Name to Fame Game' took place in 2013 and invited members of the taxi industry to submit ideas for the market name of NV350 in South Africa.
This resulted in the new Nissan NV350 Taxi carrying the "Impendulo" moniker, an indication to the extent to which consumers have been involved in the model's planning and development,
Says Tessa Cooke, NV350 Product Manager at Nissan South Africa: "Impendulo is the isiZulu word for 'the answer', a term which can be applied to the NV350 Taxi in more than one way. With it, we aim to recapture the love and affection of both taxi operators and commuters.
"The fact that our new taxi has been designed around the people who are going to operate and use it, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive response our naming competition, points towards a very successful reintroduction of the Nissan badge to the South African taxi industry."
The unique name also gives the NV350 Impendulo Taxi a strong local flavour, reigniting the South African taxi industry's affection for Nissan products – an industry in which over 4.5 million people travel in over 220 000 taxis on a daily basis.
In attendance at the NV350 Impendulo launch was Norihiko Yagi, Chief Product Specialist for Nissan Motor Company, who worked with the South African contingent throughout the NV350 Taxi's development.
"To finally bring Impendulo to market is thrilling, the entire experience embodying our 'Innovation that Excites' ethos. Following the launch we will be involving the taxi industry even further as we launch a brand ambassador campaign, followed by individual taxi rank launches where we will take the NV350 Impendulo straight to the people who will be using it every day."
The winner of the Name to Fame Game is Mr Mandla William Mabaso of the Thuthukani Association which operates in the Germiston region of Gauteng. He takes home a dazzling R50 000 cash deposit towards the purchase of his new NV350 Impendulo.
Impendulo: Nissan's answer to commuter and operator needs
Designed for South Africans – the new Nissan NV350 Impendulo has been specifically tailored for use by commuters and operators alike. Developed to comply with the market's world-leading taxi industry regulations, a product development team was flown to Japan during the planning phase to ensure the model not only meets Taxi Recapitalisation Programme legislation* and safety regulations but also overall market suitability.
Following the design first seen locally on the Nissan NV350 Panel Van launched in 2013, the NV350 Impendulo features sharp, bold and assertive design cues which are harmonised by clean surfaces and an overall 'fuss-free' look. The front end imparts a strong, bold and individualistic design with a rounded, characterful waistline forming at the base of the windscreen and progressing down the flanks. The rear features bold vertical tail lights which impart confidence. NV350 Impendulo is available exclusively in white as part of the taxi industry regulations.
On the inside, the high-roof body design ensures roominess all-round. The cockpit features a spacious design with strategic attention given to key areas like ease of ingress, head and shoulder room and driver's knee room – all extremely important elements for operators who spend vast amounts of time behind the wheel every day. The single sliding side door opens wide to allow for the best possible ease of access.
Behind the two individual front seats, 14 smartly-designed seats make the most of the NV350 Impendulo's interior space. Featuring six benches and two individual seats with a central 'passage' allowing access to the rearmost three rows, ease of access was a key focus during design and development.
The new Nissan NV350 Impendulo is powered by a proven 2.5-litre petrol engine, which produces 108 kW at 5 600 rpm and 213 Nm at 4 400 rpm, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
Fuel economy is improved with the assistance of low voltage control of the alternator, whereby battery charge is monitored and the alternator's voltage adjusted to curb over-charging the battery, thereby reducing load on the engine and lowering fuel consumption. Improved timing chain operation thanks to low-friction materials also aids in reducing consumption, as does the engine's low idle speed of just 600 rpm.
Much like its Panel Van sibling, the NV350 Impendulo features smart standard equipment to make daily use more pleasant. These include easy-to-clean PVC flooring, adjustable power steering wheel, a multi-info trip computer, two cup holders, cleverly-designed sliding rear windows, seatback handles and 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. A full-size spare wheel is also standard fitment, and a two-speaker audio system is available as an option.
Safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, seat belts for all 16 seats, a driver's seatbelt warning buzzer, an emergency exit escape hatch in the roof and an immobiliser.
New Nissan NV350 Impendulo
Retail Price incl. VAT
NV350 Impendulo 2.5 Petrol
The new Nissan NV350 Impendulo will be retailed through Nissan's entire existing dealer network from March and comes standard with a 3-year/ 100 000 km warranty as well as a three-year unlimited kilometres anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 km.
*Note: South Africa's Taxi Recapitalisation Programme aims to replace SA's aging 16-seat taxi fleet with newer, safer models by introducing new, stricter safety standards
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