One important term plays a big role in the OEM carmaking world.
The Nissan Navara SL Warrior by Premcar is getting a fair bit of media coverage.
This new dual cab 4×4 ute is the result of a Premcar new-vehicle enhancement program.
Global carmakers choose us to create market-specific variants of the new cars they sell, and we typically do this in the form of an “enhancement package”.
Carmakers turn to us to create these cars for several reasons.
It’s usually more cost-effective.
It’s not always easy for big carmakers to create market-specific new cars in smaller production runs (but our size and agility makes it possible).
We specialise in new-vehicle design, engineering and development.
And we provide component manufacturing and new-car assembly as a government-certified secondary vehicle manufacturer.
This explains how specialised new cars like the Navara SL Warrior pick-up come about.
And it’s always great to read positive media coverage of the new cars we create with global automakers.
But one of last week’s articles sparked an email from a reader:
“Isn’t this car no different to someone fitting the same off-road equipment themselves?”
The answer? No.
Fit a new vehicle with high-quality aftermarket components such as different suspension parts and larger wheels and tyres and it’s likely to give the desired changes in its performance.
When you engineer these components to work together with the car, and engineer them to operate at their best inside what we call “the car’s bandwidth”, the effect is different.
It can be like night and day.
A car with enhanced suspension can deliver more cornering ability compared to one that doesn’t. But carmakers need safe and predictable handling that gives drivers a similar experience (or “feel”) as the others cars in their range. (This is an expression of what they call “product DNA”.) And they need it without new noises, vibrations and other issues as a car approaches the limits of its tyres’ adhesion.
A 4×4 with more ground clearance can navigate more aggressive off-road terrain. But does it deliver better and predictable on-road handling and ride comfort? Does the vehicle respond to cornering in a way that is linear and predictable?
What happens when a turbo-diesel light truck or ute is converted to battery EV (electric vehicle) power, and most of its original onboard driving systems and functions no longer work? Does it become a golf kart that no longer meets the vehicle’s full scope of user needs, as well as various Australian Design Rule (ADRs)?
Don’t get me wrong: the automotive aftermarket is important. Very important. It’s filled with talented and creative people delivering great products people want. According to the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, this popular sector of the local auto industry employs around 41,000 people and exports more than $1 billion worth of Australian-manufactured products each year.
These are big (and vital) figures. The automotive aftermarket is essential.
But my point addresses the earlier question I mentioned.
Vehicle Integration engineers make sure a new car’s entire development process meets a range of defined requirements – all the way from the original idea of the car right through to when it’s going down the production line. It covers stuff like aerodynamics, engine emissions, suspension performance, vehicle safety and more.
Think of it like this:
You buy the new house you’ve always wanted. And you decide to add a second storey.
You don’t just phone a framer and have them build a new timber frame in top of the house. And then get an electrician to wire in some lights and wall sockets. And then a plumber to add some taps and a shower for the bathroom. And then a…
You get the drift.
Everything has to work together. Otherwise it won’t work as expected. You could add the world’s best timber frame, and the world’s best electrical cabling and switches, but the overall result won’t come together properly.
You need a careful plan that achieves the ideal results and meets all the applicable rules.
And that plan has to bring together all of the right pieces, processes and people.
That’s what our Vehicle Integration Engineers do.
“While some might think that what Premcar does with the Warrior is just the same as what happens at any aftermarket 4×4 accessory workshop, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The work that the team at Premcar does is next level! It’s way above anything I’ve seen in any aftermarket workshop and this comes from their history of working with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) such as Ford and now Nissan.”
And why journalist Evan Spence said:
“Is it a damn good ute that I’m happy Nissan and Premcar have created? Absolutely! For someone who wants off-road capability, less frills and a swag of off-road-focused accessories from the factory, it’s a winner.”
He also went on to say: “Nissan has given the serious four-wheel driver a solid foundation to get out and explore the country from the dealership forecourt, and for those who want to further accessorise their vehicle for off-road adventures, you have a head start.”
There’s plenty of room to fit more specialist gear to the Navara SL Warrior.
But the really hard stuff has been done. All of its key engineering elements have undergone a complete new-vehicle integration program to optimise them for Australian conditions and buyer tastes, and they’re done as if the carmaker did them.
And that’s the OEM-level difference.
The process works.
New-car buyers get the dual cab 4×4 pick-up they want, and with the specific capabilities and style they’re after. And it’s like their favourite car brand itself designed, engineered and produced it.
And that’s why the difference between OEM and DIY mostly boils down to one word: integration.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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