The man in charge of global planning for Nissan’s product line-up admits that it’s very difficult to make a business case for a new Nissan Silvia or 200SX, or any affordable rear-wheel drive sports car to compete with the likes of Toyota’s 86.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas today, Nissan’s global chief planning officer, Philippe Klein, said that it would be rather unlikely Nissan would produce a competitor for the 86 and Subaru BRZ, instead focusing its performance arm on creating derivatives of existing models.
“That’s a very difficult question”. Klein told CarAdvice when asked if a 200SX replacement was ever going to happen.
“It’s a very difficult segment. There are no more customers. What I do believe in is much more Nismo derivatives of some of the main cars – I think this is a business that is very sustainable and promising in some countries. The very standalone affordable sports cars is a very difficult exercise.”
The news comes amid a global sales slump for the Toyota 86 (which has ironically been rather successful in our market) that appears to have scared off the likes of Nissan and other manufacturers from wanting to follow in Toyota’s footsteps, considering Nissan had unveiled small rear-wheel drive sports car concepts in the last few years.
On a more positive note for Nissan fans, the flagship GT-R still appears to have the support of the Nissan executives as the halo product pushes into its tenth year of the current-generation model.
“There is still a potential position for a car like this, it’s still part of us, what this car will be and when [a new generation will come]… I cannot tell you, but when I see the emotion and the feedback we are getting every time we are making a new version or evolution of this car, I really believe this is something we need to continue to invest in.”
With the announcement today that the Nissan Leaf will continue with a second-generation model in the coming year, the question was put forward as to why the Leaf got priority over a new-generation GT-R.
“When you look at it in terms of brand impact, in some countries Leaf is having as much of a brand impact as GT-R.”
The focus on the Nismo brand and its treatment of Nissan’s existing model will cement itself locally with the launch of the Nissan GT-R Nismo in a few short weeks.