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by Tim Beissmann

A top US executive has cast doubt over the production prospects of the Nissan IDx, despite the compact sports car getting the green light from another official just six months ago.

Nissan displayed two retro-inspired rear-wheel-drive IDx concepts at November’s Tokyo motor show – the lifestyle-focused Freeflow (below) and the high-performance Nismo (above).

Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer confirmed at January’s Detroit auto show that the Japanese brand would “definitely [build] one of them”, and went into detail about the vision for the production version, suggesting he would expect “some kind of paddle-shift” transmission and for the car to be positioned “somewhere … where 200SX/Silvia used to sit”.

But Nissan Americas product planning vice president Pierre Liong told Wards Auto last night the niche sports model presented challenges from an economies of scale and business case perspective.

“It’s not easy to do, [and] if you do something like this and you manage to do a vehicle at [a low] price, what else would you do on this platform?” Liong pondered.

“Because, frankly, to do a platform for 50,000 or 60,000 [units] a year – it’s not worth it.”

Nissan-IDx-Freeflow-Concept

Liong said the IDx was not dead, but poured cold water on earlier suggestions that it would be ready in around two years’ time.

“Will [the IDx] become something or not is debated, but certainly not [by 2016],” he said.

Overnight, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Richard Emery said the local division would definitely put its hand up for the compact sports model if it progressed beyond concept stage.

“Certainly if they’re going to go down with production, I’ll be trying to get to the front of the queue on that sort of product, and we’ll make sure that our hand’s up there so when they get further down the track right-hand drive and all the things we need are considered in the line-up,” Emery said.

At 4.1 metres long and 1.3m high, the Nissan IDx concept twins are almost identical in size to the Toyota 86, measuring just 100mm shorter from nose to tail.

A production version of the Freeflow would likely use a small-capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the racier Nismo is tipped to offer a 1.6-litre turbo, which in the Pulsar SSS makes 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque.




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