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by Tim Beissmann

Nissan has named Nismo as its official high-performance division, promising a full range of hotted-up production cars including a Nissan GT-R Nismo.

Nissan Motor Company CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed the Nismo renaissance today at the opening of the sports car division’s global headquarters and development centre in Yokohama, Japan.

“Nismo will bring new excitement to the Nissan portfolio with a broader range of affordable and innovative performance models for more markets and more people,” Ghosn said.

“Whether it’s a small car or a sports car, if it’s wearing the Nismo badge it offers something special – quality, functionality, and efficiency, with Nismo’s distinctive styling, sporty handling and dynamic performance capabilities.”

Nissan has already launched the Juke Nismo in Europe, and is preparing to unveil its second model, the 370Z Nismo, at next month’s Geneva motor show.

The Japanese car maker says new Nismo models will be introduced at a “rapid pace”, with “at least one model every year” between now and 2016.

Among those will be the Nissan GT-R Nismo, which Ghosn promised would be simply “special”.

“I can’t wait to drive it,” he said.

Nissan Australia corporate communications manager Peter Fadeyev said the local division was excited with the announcement of the Nismo sports car line but said no definitive decisions about its launch had been made at this stage.

“It’s a hugely exciting development for Nissan globally,” Fadeyev said. “With regard to Australia, an official introduction of Nismo is still under assessment, it’s not yet confirmed.”

Fadeyev confirmed discussions about launching Nismo into Australia have been ongoing “for a while”, and insisted the high-performance division was a desirable halo for the local range.

“It is [desirable]. Other manufacturers’ performance brands demonstrate that Australia has a strong appetite for performance cars and we think that would apply to brands such as ours.

“There’s an entire suite of products that we’re currently considering as part of the overall plan for Nismo. If it were to be introduced to Australia, the cars would simply be part of it…

“We’re considering the entire brand overall, its accessories, the vehicles themselves, the complete project.”

Fadeyev said it was too early to give a timeframe on a potential introduction of Nismo to Australia if it was given the all clear, insisting it was an “extensive program”.

Nissan has invested in an entirely new facility for Nismo’s operations, redeveloping a former production site with resources for expanding beyond motorsport engineering to encompass road car development alongside Nissan.

Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani explained the 180-strong team was located inside Nissan’s Powertrain Engineering complex, with the workshop, engine shop, and rooms for fabrication, grinding and carbon composite processes and parts storage consolidated into the same floor space.

“This is a great move for Nismo as we can now shift gears to operate more efficiently and expand the brand globally,” Miyatani said.

“This is the first time that all of our team has been located together, and the entire facility will become a hothouse of passion and performance.”

Nismo says every modification it makes to Nissan’s road cars will be functional and targeted towards improving on-road performance and presence.

“The spirit of Nismo relies on its proud motorsport heritage and a maverick engineering philosophy.

“This spirit will be reflected in every new Nismo model with efficient performance, accessible and advanced technology, and bold, smart design.”

Nismo will also enhanced Nissan’s global motorsport identity, branching out into new categories – as already seen with Nissan’s entry into the 2013 V8 Supercar Championship with the Altima – as well as exploring some other “advanced forms of motorsport”.