Nissan CEO Says Company Will Always Build Sports Cars
Nice to hear, but there’s still nothing outside the 370Z and the GT-Rby Kirby, on
Nissan didn’t particularly field a strong lineup of cars at the 2016 Paris Motor Show – it was really just the fifth-generation Nissan Micra – but the company’s CEO did leave an impression during the event when he remarked that sports cars is still a commitment for Nissan despite the recent trend in the industry to SUVs, electric cars, and autonomous driving vehicles.
Carlos Ghosn made that pronouncement during a press conference in Paris, assuring fans of the brand that cars like the Nissan 370Z, GT-R, and whatever future sports car it ends up building will always have a seat in Nissan’s table. This is good news because by going on record, Ghosn is essentially telling us that whatever trends there are today or in the future, sports cars are still integral to the company’s identity.
Here’s the thing though. Telling us this and showing us are two entirely different things. Nissan’s sports car lineup is currently made up of just the two models with each getting subtle updates every year. There were plans to build production versions of the two IDx Concepts that were introduced at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, but those plans were axed when it was determined that they didn’t merit enough of a “business case” to justify producing en masse. Stretch to consider Nissan’s premium sub-brand, Infiniti, and you’ll notice a similar pattern. Remember the Q50 Eau Rouge that was supposed to be Infiniti’s version of the GT-R? Yeah, no one’s making that now.
The track record doesn’t say much, but there is some weight to Ghosn’s proclamation. It wouldn’t make sense for Nissan to abandon sports cars when the model it’s best known for – the GT-R – is the epitome of what a sports car should be. The only relevant question here is what does Nissan have in store for the future besides the endless updates on the 370Z and GT-R?
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What’s next for Nissan’s sports car future
I understand the frustration some people may have towards Nissan for not adding to its existing two-car performance lineup. I get it. I’ve been there too. But I also think that the company has something up its sleeve for the future. I have no basis with that; it’s just an opinion based on what I’ve been seeing from some of its biggest rivals.
See, Honda just released the NSX sports car and there are plans to bring back the S2000 to compete against the Mazda MX-5. The Toyota Supra is also arriving and the GT 86 is about to get a second-generation version. Even Hyundai is in on the performance car scene with the creation of its N-Performance sub-brand. The list of competitors is growing rapidly and when those cars arrive, I’m not sure the 370Z and the GT-R are going to be enough to say that Nissan is fully on board the sports car segment.
At some point, Nissan needs some fresh blood to inject new life to its sports car segment. I’m not saying it should build the Bladeglider, but maybe something along the lines of a sports car that can slot between the 370Z and the GT-R. The 2011 Esflow Concept is a good place to start, although the design might be too dated by now. How about the 2020 Vision Gran Turismo Concept then? A production version of that will certainly get the people’s attention.
Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan GT-R here.
Read our full review on the 2014 Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo here.