The recently concluded Tokyo Auto Show had quite a few visionary messages sent across to its audiences. And always, there’s an interest in hearing something about a successive model. However, there was virtual radio silence in the case of the born-again Nissan Z coupe. The only thing Nissan executives hinted was that replacement of the aging 370Z was very low on its list of priorities.
Very much like the affordable and savvy Ford Mustang, the ‘Z’ has cult following. Ford kept the Mustang flame alive and kicking with periodical upgrades and innovations. Most importantly, Ford got the car’s pricing spot on, irrespective of the variants it offered. Nissan’s Z didn’t lack the punch or tech applications and upgrades, but the market resistance to pricing was quite evident.
Despite this disadvantage, loyalists kept the flame going. “It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion behind this vehicle. 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,” says Philippe Klein, Nissan’s chief planning officer.
Instead, Nissan executives point out Nissan is still present in the sports car segment even without the Z. The Japanese brand will continue to build the GT-R and promote its performance-oriented Nismo sub-brand for the hard core. “We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways,” Klein summed up.
What essentially is being communicated is that future buyers seeking a Nissan sports cars will need to step up to a GT-R or purchase a Nismo-tuned model. Whether this policy will work in favour of Nissan, is something that time and profits will tell.