The head of Nissan in Australia says there’s a gap in the market for a Nismo-tuned Navara that puts on-road performance ahead of off-road ability.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester again said he was pushing for a more powerful engine for the Navara. The bakkie is currently offered with a 2,3-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine worth 140 kW and 450 N.m.

Lester said the Japanese firm’s division Down Under was “doing all the things we need to do to get behind a change or opportunity with the powerplant”.

He pointed out the segment contained “two diverse owner groups”.

“You’ve got the hardcore off-road enthusiasts, which we think Warrior [an Australia-specific variant] speaks really well to. And they’re really going to seek that fit-for-purpose piece; they’re really a user of the off-road equipment.

"The other consumer, though, says I’m just not interested in all that off-roading, but I want a look."

Lester suggested Nismo could lend its hand to such a creation.

"For us, if you look at Nismo, it would be a more an aficionado vehicle and if that’s more fit for on-road performance, then sure. Trucks are never going to race cars, but with the legacy of Nismo, it would certainly add to the cache for the Navara.

"In the context of a Nismo, it would be that capable. No OEM is playing [in] that space sufficiently. If Nismo were to do it, there’s no question that they wouldn’t do it with a sticker kit; they would go all in," he said.

While he wouldn’t be drawn on possible powerplant options, Lester quipped he was “going to have to fly back up to Yokohama and talk to some people there to influence that”.

"From our standpoint, whether it's Nismo or just an alternative, more powerful powerplant, then that’s what we’re focused on.

"If Nismo do it, then great, because the work they do is amazing. And if they don’t, but they give us an alternative powerplant, then that’s great, too."