If the passion is still there...
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Nissan wants to create a successor to the ageing 370Z, but the Japanese automaker is still formulating a plan for its iconic sports car brand.

Philippe Klein, Nissan chief planning officer, used the Detroit motor show to tell Automotive News much publicised rumours of the Z's impending death were premature

Klein was then asked about the sports car's future, and said "we're working on it and it's very present, but I have no indication to give you."

Although "the passion is still there", Klein didn't give any clue about when the next Z may appear, nor what form it will take or how far into the development cycle it is.

The chief planning officer acknowledged the market for vehicles like the Z was shrinking, but stated "we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that's what we're working on".

According to Klein, the increasing popularity of crossovers means consumers no longer prioritise "speed, acceleration and cornering".

He also said regulations requiring safer vehicles necessitated more powerful engines, bigger brakes and other features that run counter to building an affordable lightweight sports car.

The current incarnation of the Z, the 370Z, was launched in 2009, and has been refreshed and updated a few times.

Rumours have circulated in recent years that Nissan was planning to replace the 370Z with a sporty crossover vehicle wearing Z branding.

At the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, the company unveiled the Gripz concept (above), a vehicle inspired by the 240Z rally car.