Aside from GT-R and the ageing 370Z, there’s little doubt that Nissan’s sporting offerings are, at best, slim.
Gone are the days of the sporty Pulsar, the S14 and S15 200SX – vehicles that had cult-like status through the 1990s and early 2000s, bolstered by hot low-volume JDM versions, which reached Australia.
Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery understands just how important those vehicles were in cementing the performance spirit of the Nissan brand in Australia, and indeed globally.
“There’s no doubt that we would love to have the spirit or personality of the GT-R filter further down through the business,” Emery told CarAdvice.
“In the future there is the potential for Nismo to play that role within Nissan, those smaller two-door coupe type cars that we have heritage in would be nice, but they have to stack up in a business perspective.”
Nissan has already gone some way to restoring that performance edge with every tweaked version of the GT-R over the past decade, but it’s hard to argue that the GT-R, even as a flagship product, is beyond the reach of most Nissan fans.
“Offering product that the market desires at a price the market needs is key and it’s an ongoing balancing act,” Emery said.
“I think I talked a while ago about the fact that the brand was a little bit, I don’t know, vanilla (he did). We’ve been working pretty diligently on allowing some of the emotive parts of our brand to filter in.”
Has that changed the ‘vanilla’ perspective of Nissan in Australia then? “Definitely, that’s definitely changed the vanilla perspective,” Emery said. “There’s a whole range of things like Supercars, GT3, motor racing in general, that have started to see that perception change roll on.”
Emery told CarAdvice that Nissan Australia can see that change within its ownership collective.
“Our ‘exciting to drive’ score has gone up, for example, with our consumers,” he said. “Would that be accelerated with another offering in the form of an emotional sportscar? It probably would.
“At the moment there really isn’t something globally to fill that gap, but in the future Nismo could fill that role for us.”
Is Nismo any closer for Australia, though? Time will tell.