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Nissan confirms Nissan 370Z, GT-R replacements

On the way: After years of speculation, Nissan has confirmed that successors to its 370Z (below) and GT-R (left) sportscars are in the pipeline.

370Z, GT-R successors in works, could be shared BMW/Toyota style and even be EVs

24 Oct 2019


NISSAN has finally revealed that direct replacements for the decade-old 370Z sportscar as well as the 12-year-old GT-R supercar flagship are well under development, that one or both may end up being co-developed with a rival brand outside of the Alliance, and that either may end up being electric vehicles (EVs).


Speaking to the media at the Tokyo motor show, Nissan Motor Company head of product planning Ivan Espinosa expressed his interest in replacing the 370Z as well as the GT-R, stating that sportscars are at the very core of what the brand represents for over half a century.


“Of course, these two cars are at the heart of Nissan,” he said. “And we are actively looking at working at that now. So, you can expect that we will come up with something on this sometime soon.


“There is nothing specific I can share with you today… but like I said, these are two icons of our brands, and they really represent what Nissan is all about – exciting cars. And these are something that we will keep on doing moving forward.”


Mr Espinosa said that Nissan, like Toyota and BMW with their latest respective Supra and Z4 models, might also be open to sharing the development costs of any future project with another car manufacturer outside of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, though there are complications and compromises that need to be navigated around that might make going it alone easier ultimately.


“There is no golden rule, I am particularly open personally (to cooperation),” he said.


“Of course, there are some elements that you should not play with… but there is a limit you can share and you can commonise, and at the same time you have to be very careful not to go beyond what your customer is expecting from your brand.


“So, yes, open of course, because as you know, these areas are becoming very challenging, especially with new regulations coming, so there are many difficulties in executing these types of cars that will probably force us to look outside and to look at different options.


“But the really important point for me is that these cars really need to represent what the brand is about and be very careful to the limits you play with.” 


On the subject of the next Zed car going electric, Mr Espinosa said he is not convinced that mainstream consumers are quite ready to embrace such a concept.


“Yes, we are discussing that all the time,” he said. “But we need to be careful, because there are two elements to this. One, is the consumer ready to get a sports car EV? We have debated endlessly about this, because there are still more traditional buyers, petrol-head customers, who are not still quite 100 per cent there, but then there is also a big young audience that thinks completely differently.


“The second angle we have to be careful with is when the technology will really be ready to deliver the expected performance of a sportscar. You still have to carry a battery, which is carrying weight, and a sportscar is not only about the horsepower you put in, but also about the kilos that you remove. So, it’s a very careful balance that we need to be managing. The answer is yes, as one of the alternatives, but we haven’t decided. Are we working on it? Absolutely.”


Nissan chief of EV strategy Asako Hoshino added that while it is not at the top of her list over the next couple of years, she yearns to see an EV sportscar in the Nissan line-up in the not-too-distant future.


“Our DNA has sportscar DNA – and not just the engineers, in all of us,” she said. “Therefore, an EV sportscar is always a discussion point when we talk about the future product line-up. And not just the Z but the GT-R. We are definitely discussing whether we can move to EV technology for the sportscar.


“If somebody introduced the compact sportscar EV as a mass-production car, it would have to be Nissan. That is my passion.” 


However, Ms Hoshino was keen to point out that while her desire in the long term would be to be ahead of the game in EV sportscars for the masses, there are more pressing models that need to be introduced first before Nissan can confidently release an EV sports-car on the world market.


“Our priority is to create the EV market first, and then after we penetrate and create a sustainable EV market,” she explained. “Then we would like to be the number one in providing the EV sportscar.


“At this moment our priority is not an EV sportscar. Next is an SUV, then maybe after that some other small cars or sedans, and then some other EVs, and then the sportscar.”


Nissan released the R35 GT-R at the 2007 Tokyo motor show, while the Z34 370Z – the sixth ‘Z’ car since 1969 – succeeded the 350Z six years after it debuted, at the 2008 LA Auto Show.

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