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by Tim Beissmann

Nissan will build a successor to the 200SX (Silvia) if it believes there is a market for a compact rear-wheel-drive coupe.

Nissan chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura says he likes the idea of developing a small, affordable sports car to sit underneath the 370Z.

“The light, sporty coupe… It’s a nice concept. I like it,” Nakamura told Australian media, including CarAdvice, at the 2012 New York motor show. “You know, a tighter, lighter sports car to me has potential for the future.

“If there is room [in the line-up], we will do it. If there is a market, we will do it.”

Nakamura would not say if Nissan was already working on such a car, but emphasised the continued importance of sports cars to the brand.

“For us, the sports car is the core of Nissan. Not many companies or brands have a history of a sports car. We have a long history of the sports car: Z and GT-R.”

Nakamura said Nissan’s small sports car could be similar to the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, although he said his design team did not need to be influenced by other manufacturers.

He said the car’s design would be shaped by the direction Nissan decides to take with the next-generation Z car – the layout of which is still up in the air.

“370Z, we still don’t know [if] the next generation [will be] larger or smaller. There are still lots of options, we don’t know yet,” Nakamura said.

“Maybe [the new Z could be] a 350Z, or a 200Z, or Silvia, a 190, why not a four-cylinder? I’m talking about just ideas, we don’t know.

“Really we have to sit down and work out what the future sports car should be for us. This is a very important issue for us.”

Nakamura admitted it was “time to look at” putting a smaller engine in the Z, and said the next-generation model would more than likely be lighter and smaller than the current car.

The Nissan Silvia’s roots can be traced back to 1964, when the Datsun Coupe 1500 debuted at the Tokyo motor show.

After evolving through seven generations and rising to cult status across numerous countries, Nissan pulled the pin on the 200SX in 2002.

The last 200SX sold in Australia was the 147kW/265Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged rear-wheel-drive S15, which was priced from $39,990.