By on September 16, 2020

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve gotten excited about the prospect of a new vehicle only to learn it’s going to limited to some lousy country where they don’t even bother to drive on the correct side of the street, have funny-sounding police sirens and/or happen to be involved in some other roadway debacle  like using the metric system on signs, just because it’s easier.

Meanwhile, nobody even seems to notice when we export our best automotive wares. Sure Europeans enjoy the Corvette’s mind-blowing performance and ability to absolutely devour highway miles at an unbeatable price (ignore the Euro-spec C8). But it probably lacks panache or the appropriate level of refinement (whatever the hell they’re looking for) and doesn’t accessorize with the sport coat and bare ankle look they seem so sprung on. Have you ever seen a Corvette in Europe? Of course, you haven’t. They almost never cracked 1,000 deliveries per year because the entire continent hates V8 engines.

Don’t fact check me on that last one because it’s irrelevant to the purposes of this article about petty revenge. All you need to know is that I was just informed that Nissan’s upcoming 400Z (name pending) won’t be available in Europe.

The manufacturer had already committed itself to taking the United States more seriously but we didn’t think that would exclude the EU. In fact, when Nissan debuted the Proto Z (pictured) earlier this week it seemed a particularly good fit for Europe. It’s not a massive automobile, doesn’t use the hated V8 motor, has a manual transmission, and seems to be entirely focused on offering a balanced performance package. You’d think Europeans would be all over this thing.

What’s the deal?

Automotive News Europe reported that the car’s twin-turbo V6 would probably need to be tuned specifically for the market in order to pass EU emissions regulations. Nissan confirmed the claim, adding that it saw little point to cater to the market.

“A shrinking European sports cars market and specific regulations on emissions mean that Nissan was unable to build a viable business case for the introduction of the production version of the next generation Z-car in Europe,” a company spokesperson explained. “In Europe, Nissan’s priorities remain on its commitment to renew its crossover lineup and accelerate its range electrification strategy.”

It might have not have been the case if Nissan were in a healthier financial situation that didn’t require a massive restructuring effort. But Big N has basically said alliance partner Renault could handle anything interesting for the European market, leaving its own team to focus on mass-market vehicles. It could be for the best frankly. Nissan doesn’t need a bunch of emission fines from the EU and your average Josef seems to be falling out of love with the standard sports coupe. While that could be the result of the industry pricing them ever higher, crossovers have likewise taken up an increasingly large share of the market  just like here in North America.

[Images: Nissan]

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26 Comments on “Nissan’s Next Z Won’t Be Sold in Europe...”

  • avatar
    Steve Jacobs

    Hey, FWIW I saw a C7 Corvette in Athens last summer.

  • avatar

    Why not not just name it the 280Zx and call it a day.

  • avatar

    Hard to believe the EU emissions standards are tougher than California. Doesn’t Nissan have any Euro compliant engines that might be switched into this Z car??

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not the specific emissions of this car that are likely to be the problem, but the effect it would have on the fleet average CO2 emissions. If it raises their average by 1g/km more than the target (nominally 95g/km, but factored for each manufacturer by fleet-average kerb weight) then they will be fined €95 for every car they sell. That’s not just €95 on every Z-car, but also €95 on every Qashqai, Juke, Micra …, even every Leaf.

    • 0 avatar

      There was the Mercedes M274 inline 4 that they had in the Q50/70, but I think they broke off that relationship.

      Plus, Infiniti’s now gone from Europe so even less reason to invest in a car with an orphaned platform and limited appeal in the region. I think they sold, like, 500 last year in the entire region.

  • avatar

    Keep going the direction of California / CARB and USA won’t enjoy 400Z either.

  • avatar

    They drive on the left in Japan where this new Z comes from, you poor old chap, so between that, the useless rabbiting on about Europe this and that from someone without any clue, and bringing up a name like Josef as if it were relevant, I presume you had a large helping of America-only GMO Atomic Wheaties for breakfast. Burp. Man, that cholesterase is tasty!

    • 0 avatar

      European elites have imposed creeping authoritarian totalitarian neo-communism on working families as a method of iron fisted control, where a young German woman can’t braid her hair without being detained and interrogated by police about possible nazi links because of her appearance.
      So spare me your America bashing. America never claimed to be perfect, just the best. If you can find better, move there. Please.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      You sound British, old chap. But not particularly well versed in hyperbole, humor or the American concept of “the average Joe.” Curious, as I thought you were a proud citizen of Canada and privy to our shared cultural osmosis.

      I skipped breakfast and normally eat GMOatmeal but appreciate the concern. We should all be taking better care of ourselves and endeavor to make the internet less of a drag.

  • avatar

    “Have you ever seen a Corvette in Europe? Of course, you haven’t. They almost never cracked 1,000 deliveries per year because the entire continent hates V8 engines.”

    Hell I once saw a kilometers long PARADE of Corvettes in Europe.

    Pretty sure the V8s had been replaced with lavender-and-sandalwood perfume sipping Vespa engines though.

  • avatar

    This is all about marketing. Europeans are more rationale in their car buying decisions. Thus no reason for its existence. Americans will bathe in nostalgia and go buy Sentra’s as they can no longer afford Z’s.

  • avatar

    Goes to show America is the land of free and where great sports and muscle coupes roam free. Think about it, does Europe have equivalent of a Challenger RT, Scatpack, Hellcat for any one? How about a Mustang GT? Or any other reasonable V8 coupes. How about reasonably priced SUVs with V8s? Grand Cherokee Hellcat or SRT? Chargers?

    Europe has elite performance cars for elite rich. The rest of people have to do with slow and diesel. There was a time they had good vehicles at reasonable prices (old BMW 3 series). Now even those have succumbed to China induced rules and environmentalists. 2.0 liter turbo for all your BMWs. Front wheel drive Mercedes and BMWs, I just threw up

    Europe is now the land of the elite and many others. America is the land of free and GREAT SPORTS CARS. And CORVETTE.

    • 0 avatar

      “There was a time they had good vehicles at reasonable prices (old BMW 3 series)”

      You know, even then the base models had 1.6 liter engines that pushed out maybe 100 hp.

      • 0 avatar

        Yup, Renault’s Idea of a two door coup is the Twizy. Imagine driving that in a midwest interstate blizzard whiteout.

      • 0 avatar

        “maybe 100”

        Yes, cars back then weren’t as powerful as they are now. But, you could actually (not quite legally) have fun with them on public roads. We power/performance obsessed have now got what we asked for. Modern performance cars are way to fast and stick way to well for any fun on public roads without a ridiculous level of risk.

  • avatar

    Truly a superb article Matt, great job.

  • avatar

    What they’re probably not saying is that the Alpine A110 is a stronger seller in Europe than the 370Z, despite selling for a good deal more (at least 20,000 Euros more, at least in France). There’s not much chance of recouping any reengineering cost, and worst case, they steal a few sales from their more expensive sports car.

  • avatar

    Maybe one reason is Renault-Nissan alliance, because Renault is Renault-Nissan alliance main brand in Europe. Nissan new Z-model is direct competitor for Renault-Alpine A110 model.

  • avatar

    They still can’t fix the awkward slope of the roofline?

  • avatar

    Are we surprised? What car manufacturer wants to sell cars in crazy Europe these days, with their unrealistic CO2-emissions regulations. They are even thinking of banning gasoline and Diesel cars sooner than later, perhaps even by 2022.

    The EU seems to believe that EVs are the future. How about allowing the market to decide what works and what won’t? Maybe something better than EVs will come along? Maybe some brilliant scientist invents a process which simplifies the production of synthetic fuel, yielding more production results while using less energy in the process, for example.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Since over 15 million ‘passenger vehicles’ were sold in Europe in 2019, I would guess that there are a great many auto manufacturers who want to sell cars in Europe.

      In fact there are a number who have chosen not to sell their vehicles in North America.

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