Japanese Rumor Mill: The Next Nissan Z will be Built in Collaboration with Mercedes
Take it with a grain of salt for now, but there is history between Nissan and Mercedesby Kirby Garlitos, on
Here’s a thought: from the prism of recent joint sports car developments, what if the Toyota-BMW partnership was just the beginning? What if there are other automakers that are in the process of joining forces? Turns out, there might just be another one of these partnerships on the horizon. There’s a rumor coming out of Japan that Nissan and Mercedes-Benz are teaming up to develop the next-generation Nissan Z sports car. It sounds like wishful thinking to some extent, but it’s not an entirely ridiculous thought either.
For financial and economic reasons, Nissan may not want to develop a next-gen Z car on its own
For the record, the rumor comes from Japanese magazine Response, which claims that Nissan was “inspired” by the Toyota-BMW joint venture and wants to have one of its own. So it looked around for a viable dance partner to help achieve its goal and appears to have found one in Mercedes-Benz. More importantly, Nissan and Mercedes already have a history of collaborating with each other, making the thought of this rumored partnership much more possible.
The Nissan-Mercedes partnership can be seen across the landscape of the Japanese automaker, Infiniti’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, for example, uses a motor provided by Mercedes. Take it a step further, and you have the Infiniti QX30 crossover, which pretty much has the same guts as the Mercedes GLA. The two companies have worked together in the past, that much is clear. Add that to the possibility that, for financial and economic reasons, Nissan may not want to develop a next-gen Z car on its own, and you have the recipe for a possible partnership with the German auto giant.
But — and this is a big “but” — it’s hard to take the Japanese rumor mill seriously given its predisposition to teeter on the cliffs of hyperbole. As inviting and as exciting as this rumor is, we’ve heard no word about it on other fronts. Nissan and Mercedes have been quiet, and the Western automotive media has also been crickets on the matter.
The Z is a difficult market. It is rather shrinking worldwide
For what it’s worth, Nissan’s chief planning officer, Phillippe Klein, did say that there are plans to build a new Z car; it’s just not happening anytime soon. “The Z is a difficult market," Klein said at the Detroit Auto Show last January. “It is rather shrinking worldwide. But 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.”
Did Klein purposely leave out the Mercedes equation when he said that Nissan’s working on a new Z car? Perhaps he did. But that doesn’t really tell us anything that we don’t already know. Maybe this rumor has some truth to it. After all, it does fit the timetable that BMW-Toyota had when they started with the joint-development of the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra. The next-generation Nissan Z car isn’t expected to arrive in the short term, but we could just as easily have said that for the Z4 and the Supra when plans to revive them were announced a few years ago.
I’m not going to get my hopes up just yet, but I’m also not going to dismiss this rumor outright. There could be something to it; we just won’t see what that something is for a few more years.
Read our full speculative review on the next Nissan Z.
Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan 370Z.
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Source: Response JP