Nissan to Expand NISMO Performance Lineup Across the Globe by Twofold, New Models Could Include Trucks and Minivans
Nissan is about to embark on a global expansion plan that would double the number of models wearing the NISMO performance badge. The brand says that it is aware that enthusiasts only make up a small fraction of prospective buyers, but it doesn’t want to ignore them — especially in segments where NISMO hasn’t left much of an impression. For North America, that means trucks. However, Nissan says the it is seriously considering adding the emblem to crossovers, MPVs, and even minivans. Assumedly, since the Quest was retired in 2016, the company is referring to new models.
The timeline for the tuner sub-brand has set for itself wraps in 2020. By then, Nissan wants 100,000 NISMO specific sales annually, up from last year’s 15,000. How it plans to accomplish that is slightly worrying, however.
At the moment, Nisan offers seven NISMO nameplates. In the United States, that includes versions of the GT-R, Juke, 370Z and Sentra. The brand has focused predominantly on adding performance through tire and suspension upgrades, with only marginal upticks in power — although the Sentra sedan uses the same engine as its less-sporting brethren. In Japan, the NISMO lineup includes the likes of the Note e-Power hybrid. Like the Sentra, it also received a bodykit and suspension upgrade without much in the way of powertrain enhancement. Are you seeing a trend?
Nissan wants to double the number of NISMO-related models before 2022, Takao Katagiri, CEO of Nissan Motorsports International told Automotive News. And, if it also wants to multiply sales by 2020, odds are decent that it will continue to pursue a more show and less go mentality.
“Demand for these types of cars is about 5 to 10 percent of every market,” Katagiri explained. “It’s the same all over the world.”
He then added that roughly 9 percent of all Nissan Note hatchback sales in Japan are attributed to e-Power hybrid NISMO versions. But that recipe might not fly with North American consumers seeking a tuned truck — a model Katagiri said seemed a likely inclusion. Improved handling is always a welcome addition to cars but most pickup owners will want more power and, possibly, some supplementary off-road capabilities.
In addition to light trucks, Nissan also stated it was considering minivans and crossovers for the expanded NISMO lineup. “We see potential in the expansion of categories,” Katagiri said, explaining that NISMO would begin targeting “lifestyle vehicles” well-beyond the performance arm’s usual stable of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks.
Relieving some of the apprehension over the expansion was Katagiri’s promise that NISMO will broaden to include several top-tier high performance models. Those units should, hopefully, offset any lower tier models that receive little more than a from-the-factory appearance package and new tires.
“As a Nissan sub-brand, NISMO further builds upon the core values of Nissan cars,” said Takao Katagiri in the official announcement. “With the combined expertise of Nissan group companies, NISMO road cars will make customers enjoy Nissan cars more than ever.”
We’re hoping so too, but let’s stay cautiously optimistic.
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