By on October 27, 2017

2018 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition previewed at New York Internat - Image: Nissan

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]

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26 Comments on “End of the Line for Nissan’s Z?...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Good grief, YTD sales of the outgoing Leaf are *exactly* 3x the Z, and they start around the same price. No wonder Nissan is equivocal about the Z.

    Sure, the Leaf gets a subsidy, but it will depreciate a lot faster.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Sometimes I forget they still make these.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Few will be sorry to see it go.

    The current 370 is a mix of poor visibility, a terrible sounding engine, cramped accommodations, Miata size trunk of and only average performance for this segment.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    50th Anniversary Edition: GT-R engine, manual transmission, RWD.

    That’s what it should be anyway. For the actual 50th anniversary Z they’ll put a few Z emblems on the new Leaf and paint it a color.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      IBx1: Z they’ll put a few Z emblems on the new Leaf and paint it a color.

      yep, that’s exactly what they did. I bet you thought you were joking! :^) The NISMO Leaf at the Tokyo show: https://insideevs.com/nissan-leaf-nismo-shows-off-tokyo/

      I wish it had been something along the lines of the dual motor Zoe RS (462 hp), but that ain’t happening yet.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Everyone has seen the writing on the wall with the lack of any meaningful updates since the oil cooler in 2011 or 12. I think a decontented G37(q50?) coupe with available manual would be a nice 300zx 2 + 2.
    I suppose Nissan was smart not to enter to 4cyl lightweight coupe market with sales of BRS’s waning also.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The problem with this car is that fixing the reasons it doesn’t sell would just injure Infiniti.

    It needs two more seats. Frankly, two more doors would not be amiss, either. Doing either, or god forbid, both, would hurt more than it would help.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It would be a shame to see this car go.

    But please, Nissan…do NOT put the “Z” name on some f**king crossover. Please. If it has to die, let it die with some dignity.

    • 0 avatar

      What we need is a 2019 Nissan 160Z Juke. It will be placed in between then Juke NISMO and Juke-R. It will have an extra 14 HP over the regular NISMO, for a total of 202. Wow. The only transmission will be a CVT, but with programmed fake shifting along with fake rev matched downshifts. Add an extra fourteen pounds of decals, a wide body kit, and a third pair of headlight-looking things mounted in the grille. Racecar.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I would not be surprised to see the Z go… it will be sad, but expected. Coupes don’t sell. Sports coupes really don’t sell. 2 seaters don’t sell. Manual transmissions don’t sell. Cars sold based on “handling” don’t sell. Thus the Z is doomed.

    Watch ANY Nissan ad, normally Rouge or Altima, but regardless of model at the end they show their entire vehicle line up (trucks included) but guess what is missing… yep the Z. Nissan simply doesn’t care about it and it shows.

    What should be done? If the Q60 came with a manual I’d say nothing, but you can only get the Q in an auto, so Nissan has to either commit to a whole new Z or let it die. And I’d give you one guess at which of those is going to happen.

    What is wrong with the Z? That is easy too: its underpowered compared to the pony cars. I don’t think the lack of back seats is really an issue because the Miata manages just fine and any pony car or the FRS/BRZ back seat is completely useless. Visibility, while bad, is still better then pony cars. The Z just occupies a niche nobody cares about. It has lived in this odd middle ground: more expensive then Miata/FRS but not powerful enough to lure in pony car buyers. Ironically they finally fixed the power problem with the 400 HP twin turbo Q60. However apparently this engine will never see a Z badge associated with it.

    The only good news here is you can score a new-ish 370Z on the cheap. Older, used 350Z like mine are quickly approaching the every man “track only toy” price range. Aftermarket support is huge as the Z shares many parts with the Infiniti G.

  • avatar
    Dorky Teacher

    I’ve been following this website for nearly a decade but this was pretty bad and I hope not to see more writing like this. This article had decent content but I couldn’t get past the multiple grammar errors. I recommend using grammarly next time. Myself, I’ve always been a B- writer, so I’m not trying to be elitist, I just expect more from my favorite website.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The only thing I noticed was the quote from the executive seemed to have been in another language and thus put through Google Translate with typically terrible results.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    With luck this car will be replaced with a lighter, smaller, better handling and better built car. Sorry but the current car is a pig in all respects. So many things that must be fixed and no reason to use the current Z to accomplish any of this. As of late, and as a car guy, I have little faith that Nissan can do it. They make good cheap Buicks and nothing else.

  • avatar
    church

    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.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    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.

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