Nissan's performance sub-brand, Nismo, may have a bright future in Australia if Nissan's foray into V8 Supercars bears fruit.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the unveiling of Nissan's V8 Supercar engine in Melbourne, Nissan Australia managing director and CEO William Peffer hinted that Nismo products are something the company may be interested in.
Late last year, Nissan announced that Nismo would become a stronger and more independent brand, having been put in charge of creating all performance vehicles and racing excitement within the Nissan family. In essence, it would become to Nissan what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. The tuning company moved its headquarters closer to Nissan’s R&D operations and began a new and far more exciting chapter in its near 30-year history.
More recently, Nismo has been instrumental in helping Kelly Racing (soon to be rebranded Nissan Motorsport) prepare Nissan’s road-going V8 engine for next year’s V8 Supercar championship. The team’s racing director, Todd Kelly, admitted that Nismo potentially saved his team up to 12 months of research and development time by sharing its extensive knowledge of the VK56DE engine.
Given Nissan’s insistence on raising its brand profile via its association with the V8 Supercars, the introduction of Nismo performance variants for showroom cars makes sense.
Although Nissan has shelved plans for a small sports car, the soon to arrive Nissan Pulsar is likely to be high on Nismo’s agenda for a performance derivative. There’s already been hints of a SSS variant in the works.
Asked if there would be opportunity for Nismo to expand its minimal footprint in Australia, Peffer said Nissan’s V8 Supercar involvement would “certainly be an association segue in for Nismo".
"Does it yield sales of Nismo-branded product in the future? It’s something we can look at. There’s opportunity to perhaps look at Nismo derivatives and product offerings from the parent company in this market.”
As of today, Nissan Australia currently has no concrete plans to import any Nismo-specific product.