End of the Line for Nissan's Z?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Z is the last letter in the alphabet, and the current Nissan Z might be the last one in the company lineup.

At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Philippe Klein, Chief Planning Officer for Nissan, was decidedly non-committal when asked by media in attendance about the Z car’s future. This is stance is not new but, this time, the exec’s answer came with a few more details.

As reported by the Australian auto industry website Drive, Klein had several things to say about the future of performance at Nissan — and the Z in particular — when pressed by media at the auto show. From the exchange:

“It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle,” Klein said. “This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult.

“We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side.

“We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”

It’s no secret that 370Z sales, and sports car sales in general, do not provide the same level of profits delivered by light-duty trucks and SUVs. Speculation has been rampant that the Z name will be applied to some sort of crossover in the future, fueled by the Grip-Z concept of 2015, an SUV-esque machine with Z styling cues and a name sounding like third-rate rap star.

It is this author’s opinion that such a move would blight the once sporty Z nameplate in the same manner of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. (Pardon me while I work myself into a frothing rage at the loss of yet another sporty car of my ‘90s youth — I’ll just be over here listening to Soundgarden and playing Sega Genesis. Don’t mind me.)

Last month, Nissan sold but 315 of the coupes. Porsche sold more 911s during the same period. Year-to-date, only 3,580 Zs have found new homes. When the current Z was new in 2009, it sold 13,117 copies that calendar year. A base model Z is not a wholly offensive proposition, offering 332 horsepower and a GT-R style roofline for $29,990.

The original Z was introduced in October 1969, meaning the 2019 calendar year will mark the nameplate’s 50th anniversary. Let’s hope it makes it that far.

[Image: Nissan]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Church Church on Oct 28, 2017

    I loved looks of clean lines for 350Z, still one of my favourites looks-wise. Hated 370Z, with porker juke rear and overdone halfmoon front lights. But then again i dislike looks for most of current Nissan lineup sans GTR. Still, hate is amplified not just by ugliness of 370 itself, but also due for how good looking car it was upgrade/replacement of.

  • Spartan Spartan on Oct 29, 2017

    The Z is dead. Short of people buying them in droves throughout its lifecycle, there was no saving it. Many of the people who considered buying them bought G37's instead because they were priced similarly. I am one of those people. I know us enthusiasts get all attached to nameplates, but the Z is done. If it weren't so cheap to produce the Maxima on the Altima platform, it would be dead, too.

  • MaintenanceCosts It's not really much of a thought in the buying process. I would think twice about a vehicle assembled in China but other than that I really don't care. Looking at my own history, I've bought six new cars in my lifetime (I don't think choice of used cars says anything at all). I think the most patriotic of them were mostly Japanese brands. (1) Acura, assembled in Japan (2) Honda, assembled in U.S. (3) Pontiac, assembled in Australia (4) Subaru, assembled in U.S. (5) Ford, assembled in U.S. (6) Chevrolet, assembled in Korea
  • ToolGuy News Flash: Canada isn't part of the U.S.
  • Dave M. My Maverick hybrid is my first domestic label ever. It was assembled in Mexico with US components. My Nissan and Subaru were made here, my Toyota, Isuzu and other Nissan had J VINs.
  • ToolGuy "and leaves auto dealers feeling troubled" ...well this is terrible. Won't someone think of the privileged swindlers??
  • ToolGuy "Selling as I got a new car and don't need an extra." ...Well that depends on what new car you chose, doesn't it? 😉