You would think that if there’s a Nissan model that’s as close to an untouchable from a business perspective, it would be the Nissan GT-R. But according to a report from Motor Trend, perception isn’t always reality in the eyes of Nissan, especially its execs who are trying to steer away from models that sell in low volume. That’s where the GT-R finds itself in after reportedly selling less than 100 units in the U.S. and around 60 units in Japan every month. It’s come to the point that GT-R engineers are working feverishly to make the GT-R a better-selling model, including the possibility of turning Godzilla into a plant-eating herbivore.

To do that, Nissan is developing a GT-R-branded hybrid LMP1 race car that will compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year. The objective is to showcase the race car and highlight its improved environmental credentials, which could translate to the next-generation GT-R receiving its own hybrid engine. Sources told Motor Trend that the R36 GT-R could have as much as 650 horsepower coming out of its redesigned V-6. More importantly, a 134-horsepower electric motor is under strong consideration, which would bring output levels up to 784 horsepower and close to 737 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers immediately pop out, but actually putting them in place is a lot more complicated.

Should the GT-R go the hybrid direction, it will also need to get a dramatic overhaul to accommodate the technological transfer to a hybrid system. One particular issue is how Nissan will create a more efficient cooling system for the hybrid while also improving its aerodynamic capabilities. Development of a new transmission system is also paramount so it can handle the massive output numbers generated by a hybrid powertrain. That’s why a complete redesign of the model is necessary but thankfully, Nissan already has a concept vehicle that it can use as inspiration: the Vision Gran Turismo Concept.

Although nothing’s been confirmed, one source told Motor Trend that the company is indeed looking at the concept as inspiration, even going so far as to say that we can “expect the GT-R to get a toned-down version of the 2020 Vision GT car."

Click past the jump to read more about the next Nissan GT-R.

Why It Matters

It would be a crying shame if Godzilla is euthanized for "business reasons." Fortunately, Nissan engineers and developers aren’t giving up the fight, and they’re doing everything they can to ensure that the GT-R lives on. The most important thing at this point is to convince Nissan, especially CEO Carlos Ghosn, that the GT-R is still a model that’s worth producing, sales notwithstanding.

We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment, even though none of us have any say on the matter. Hopefully, Ghosn and other Nissan execs realize that there are ways to turning the GT-R into a more profitable car without stripping away its spitfire character.

Nissan GT-R

2019 Nissan GT-R Exclusive Renderings
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The Nissan GT-R only came into our lives in 2007 and yet it seems impossible to think of an automotive future without Godzilla lurking in the shadows. But that could be the case if Nissan bosses think the GT-R isn’t worth the effort.

There aren’t a lot of cars today that can boast of a fan base like the GT-R. It might have trouble selling, but the car itself is still a sight to behold.

The current R35 GT-R is powered by a 3.8-liter, twin turbo, V-6 engine that produces 550 horsepower and 463 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to spring from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds to go with a top speed of 196 mph.

Source: MotorTrend

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