At today’s New York auto show media day, Nissan vice president Andy Palmer spoke at length about what he described as the “era of electrification” and the need for the company to expand its electric vehicle portfolio.
Asked whether this could mean a next generation 370Z hybrid or electric vehicle, Palmer instead confirmed to CarAdvice that Nissan is planning to maintain the 370Z as a traditional, petrol-engined rear-drive coupe, in order to leave room for a more progressive sports model to run alongside it.
“We’ve got some plans for what sports cars for Gen X or Gen Y [buyers] would look like…” begun Palmer (below).
“I think Zed is going to sit apart as a classical type of sports car, but we think there’s room for something else a little special.”
Asked directly whether that means a new sports car model to run alongside the 370Z, he replied “yeah” adding that “for that one, I’ll see you at Tokyo…”
The 2013 Tokyo motor show is scheduled for November, indicating that a third sports car model – potentially only in concept form – is only months away from being shown.
It has long been rumoured that Nissan will revive the Silvia nameplate and create a compact rear-wheel-drive competitor for the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.
Palmer wouldn’t be drawn into speculation that the third sports car is a small coupe, but by positioning the 370Z as “classical” sports car and committing to an expanded line-up of hybrid and electric vehicles, he strongly hinted that the new sports model may not use only an internal combustion engine.
“Obviously when we say when we’re going to Le Mans, which we will in 2014 with an electric sports car, it implies an interest in electrification and sports cars…” Palmer added.
The product planning vice president believes the company does not need to choose between hybrid or all-electric power for sports car, as he believes the two powertrains can co-exist.
“I think there’s room for both [electric and hybrid].
“The beauty of pure electric is you get oodles of power and torque instantaneously … so for a car that’s really fun to drive, then electric offers lots of opportunities.
“We [also] implied the possibility of a GT-R hybrid being on the cards in the future…”