Over the past few months Nissan fans have enjoyed the unveiling of and previews for several new performance-oriented vehicles under the NISMO name. The Juke and the 370Z coupe have both seen incredible overhauls by Nissan’s performance-oriented Motorsports division, and the electric Leaf is confirmed to be next in line.
As you may know, reviews for the Juke NISMO have been absolutely stellar. The Nissan Juke was already a very fun car to drive, hence its incredible success in the European market. However, the Juke NISMO added a new ingredient to the mix – adrenaline. The Nissan 370Z promises to be more of the same, but instead of offering “fun plus power” like the Juke NISMO, it’ll offer thrill-seeking drivers the option of “class plus power”. Plus, the aesthetic additions alone are worth paying for.
Now, just to set the record straight – NISMO is not a new thing for Nissan. As Nissan’s representative performance division, they have been developing high-speed supercars and race cars for almost 30 years. It’s only since 2011 that we have heard anything about NISMO’s involvement in mainstream vehicles, and that was when we first glimpsed the Juke NISMO.
According to the chief of Nissan’s Motorsport division, Shoichi Miyatani, they’ve had a clearly defined goal, but on the whole they haven’t been meeting their potential from a profitability standpoint. He notes that until now NISMO has focused on engineering “strong models to appeal to motorsport fans, but this doesn’t build a brand. These sorts of cars are fine for the top line, but the volumes are too small. We need to make NISMO accessible to appeal to younger and more female buyers.”
So, how is Nissan going to make NISMO more accessible to younger and female buyers?
Paul Wilcox, VP of Sales and Marketing, has an idea… “Any NISMO model won’t offer excessive cost – we want to make our models affordable and appeal to a wide audience. We’ll start with Juke and then launch into future models. Nissan has performance credentials.” He’s certainly right on that last point, and if the Juke is any promise of what’s to come, then it’s possible that NISMO could almost fill the branding-shoes that Infiniti was always intended to fill (albeit in a slightly different way).
Nissan intends to release “a number of NISMO models over a number of years.” So, we still don’t exactly know where NISMO is going to take us, and from the sound of it neither does Nissan… They’re focusing on gasoline-powered vehicles now (except the Leaf), but diesel could lurk somewhere in the future. But there’s one thing they know for sure – this knack they’ve found for affordable performance is a pretty good spot to be in. According to an inside rumor, the next model to see NISMO upgrades will be the next-gen Qashqai due out next year. Either way, you’ll want to stay tuned here for all the latest updates on current and future NISMO models.
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