When the Nissan Grand Livina was introduced, it was regarded as just another new MPV in the market, a new choice for buyers with large families. Being a MPV, it was likely that ‘sporty? was not something owners might expect of its image. Yet, to the surprise of the marketing people at Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM), there were some Grand Livinas that had unique body accessories that gave the MPV sporty looks. ?Yes,? it?s a MPV and was conceived as one but I think that inside every Grand Livina owner ? even those with families ? there?s still that sporty spirit lurking and they like their MPV to also have the sporty image,? observed Chris Tan, GM of Product Planning at ETCM. And he should know what he?s talking about too since he?s a young father and is likely to still find it hard to leave the days of sporty cars behind.
Having realised that their customers would appreciate a bodykit and some accessories to add a sporty touch to the Grand Livina, ETCM discussed with Impul how to go about developing such accessories. Impul, which had collaborated with ETCM to develop accessories for the Latio, was keen on the project but it was to be something literally from scratch. Unlike the Latio, which is sold in Japan and Impul was familiar with the model, the Grand Livina is a rather ‘unique? model. Though it uses a platform adapted from the Latio but the bodystyle is entirely different and therefore weight distribution is also very different from the Latio.
This was an important consideration when Impul engineers did the tuning of the sports suspension, according to Alan Khoo, Operations Manager for the Impul business at ETCM. He explained that unlike the Latio sedan or hatchback where the passenger load is five at most and the weight distribution won?t vary greatly, the Grand Livina presented a greater challenge because it?s a 7-seater with 3 rows of seats. Even with their long experience in tuning cars for sportier performance, Impul has probably not had to tune such a model before!
?There was quite a lot of testing needed to get the right balance since the passenger load can go from two occupants to seven. It was really quite a challenge to optimise the handling,? he said, adding that with the Impul suspension package, the ride height is 25 mm lower and this would reduce body roll (the Grand Livina is on the tall side).
Besides the suspension, Impul also developed a complete aerokit which consists of a front and rear bumper spoiler, side skirts and also the Impul trademark rear wing spoiler (a rather distinctive item). A new grille is also included in the package and its design follows that used for the Latio. Impul badges are provided on the spoilers, the grille and also one for the rear door.
The Impul Blast II exhaust muffler system is also available and this is made of high-quality stainless steel with a polished finish. It is said to improve engine response and emits a sporty note which should delight the driver.
Like the Impul Latio, the Impul Grand Livina can also be ordered with Impul alloy wheels (Aura SX-10) with locally-sourced Dunlop Formula D1 205/45R17 tyres. Mr Khoo said that quite a number of Impul Latio buyers opt to take the wheels as the design is quite exclusive and appealing.
With the exception of the alloy wheels, all Impul parts for the Grand Livina (and Latio) are produced in Malaysia to Impul?s standards and quality control levels. This helps to lower the price as importing the parts would mean paying high duties on plastic items. ETCM is also looking at exporting the Malaysian-made accessories to other countries in future. There is a warranty of 3 years/100,000 kms, whichever comes first, on the Impul items.
?The Impul Grand Livina is the first of its kind in the world because no other Nissan distributor selling the model has taken such an initiative [to develop sporty accessories for the model],? said Mr Tan. ?Our counterpart in Indonesia has expressed a lot of interest in these accessories as the Grand Livina is also a big seller there.?
As with the Impul Latio, the accessories for the Impul Grand Livina can be ordered at the time of purchase of a new vehicle. This means that the entire cost ? RM10,500 more than a standard Grand Livina ? can be included in the H-P loan. That adds a bit more to the instalment each month, of course, but would be a lot easier than having to come out with that much money as a lump sum, which is what you would have to do if you bought from an accessories shop. It is highly unlikely that any shop would give you 5 or 6 years to repay! Those who already own a Grand Livina can buy the Impul accessories separately as well.
On the sales volume for the Impul Grand Livina, Mr Tan said that ETCM expects the version to account for around 10% of total Grand Livina sales, the same as for the Impul Latio. ?At the start, we had the Impul Latio accounting for up to 30% of total Latio sales but with the economic conditions of the past 6 months, things have changed which is not surprising,? he said.
Related article: Impul Latio
Talk about this new version of the Grand Livina in the MTM Forum
To know more about the Impul Grand Livina and Impul Latio, visit www.impul.com.my
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