Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice today at the Nismo Festival in Mount Fuji, Japan, Roel de Vries, Nissan’s corporate vice president and global head of marketing and brand strategy, said Nissan doesn’t necessarily need a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car to sell its performance story.
“If you have a look at what we have, we have the GT-R at the top, we have the 370Z underneath that and then we have Nismo. Now, is there an opportunity for a lightweight rear-wheel drive affordable [sports car] underneath [the 370Z]? It’s an ongoing discussion as to whether we need to do that. I am not sure if that is critical to the story in terms of what we are trying to do.” de Vries told CarAdvice.
According to de Vries, Nissan is better off spending its resources on the likes of Juke Nismo in the short term then to develop a new rear-wheel drive lightweight platform.
The Nissan IDX concept cars (pictured) caused a big stir and plenty of excitement when they were unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motorshow, but more than 12 months on, Nissan is yet to confirm if they will make it to production with reports that the project had been canned internally.
“It’s a matter of priorities, if we could do every car that works we would do many cars, [but] we have an annual process by which we prioritise models and invest our money. There’s no specific negative or positive [for making IDX], our focus at the moment is the GT-R, 370Z and Nismo range.”
Nismo’s global head of brand marketing and sales, Daren Cox, went a step further to say that Nissan doesn’t want to copy the likes of Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.
“[Our aim is] getting more people into a performance brand through other cars. We don’t need to copy the [Toyota] GT86”
Nonetheless, there still remains a hope for 180SX and 200SX fans as Nissan says it wouldn’t have made the concepts if it had no intention of at least studying them for production feasibility in the future.
“We wouldn’t have done a concept car if we didn’t believe in a real study into the car. We have done the concept car because we believe in this young type of new sports car, if we make it, when we make it, is [all] part of normal product planning.” De Vries said.
The Nissan 200SX was last sold in Australia 2002. So far in 2014 (Jan-Oct) the Nissan 370Z has managed 318 sales (up 9.7 percent year on year) while GT-R sales have declined by 11 percent to 49 units.