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Nissan Australia Nismo range fulfilled
More Nismo-fettled models coming, but not on current-generation Nissan models
11 Oct 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN
NISSAN Australia has completed its local Nismo line-up with the freshly launched flagship Juke to sit alongside the existing 370Z sportscar and hardcore GT-R, with no new Nismo models expected until new-generation products surface.
Speaking to journalists at the Juke Nismo RS media launch, Nissan Australia senior manager of sportscars and SUVs Ben Warren said the Juke completes the performance sub-brand’s offerings Down Under, for now.
“For us, this is the extent of the Nismo line-up for Australia,” he said. “There’s always concepts and different things done around the world, but for us the three cars we have today (GT-R, 370Z and Juke) are the extent of the Nismo line-up.”
Nissan Australia is committed to offering its Nismo-branded models with a noticeable boost in dynamics and performance, meaning cosmetically upgraded models – such as the tuned Leaf electric vehicle – are off the table.
While the Nismo-fettled second-generation Leaf improves on acceleration response, the upgrade comes as a result of software tuning, with outputs remaining static at 110kW/320Nm.
The Japanese market-only Leaf Nismo also gains a sporty bodykit, revised suspension and reworked interior.
Nissan also offers a Nismo version of the Patrol that ups power from the 5.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol V8 to 319kW, as well as other styling and suspension tweaks, but it is only offered in the Middle East.
The only other Nismo model currently available internationally is the Sentra sedan – which was sold in Australia as the Pulsar until it was discontinued in early last year – that is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine shared with the Juke and Renault Clio RS tuned to 140kW.
Nissan Australia general manager of product planning, campaigns and incentives Chris Schutlz said the company’s local division would look at any future product as it becomes available, but added that it was committed to Nismo for the long term.
“We’ll study all of them in the future … anything that becomes available to us, or customer requests, then we’ll look to see what we can do,” he said.
“Nismo is part of our heritage … there will certainly be future cars, really what we can divulge and what they are looking at at the moment is not something we can talk about.”
As for other models that could get the Nismo treatment, such as the Qashqai small SUV, X-Trail mid-sizer and Pathfinder seven-seat SUV, Mr Schultz revealed there had been discussions “at the global level, but at the moment there’s not really any plans”.
However, the previously mooted higher performing Navara pick-up that would take on the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor, Holden Colorado-based HSV SportsCat, Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Volkswagen’s Amarok V6, would likely not be badged as a Nismo, according to Mr Schultz.
“It (Nissan Navara) doesn’t quite align with our Nismo brand because Nismo is about race heritage,” he said.
“I think with Nismo, the base product needs to make sense as well, just shoehorning Nismo into anything doesn’t make a huge amount of sense – it has to really fit the ethos of the product that it’s based on.
“That’s why we have the three products we have today because when you look at the SUV range, Juke has been very much that kind of nimble handling, sporty SUV, so it really kind of fits the crux of that product to begin with.”
With only 240 units of the Juke Nismo RS available before production winds up, Mr Warren said the bulk of Nismo sales would come from the small SUV in the short term.
“I think we would be selling through the bulk of the majority or nearly all of the units in sort of the next nine-to-12 months … but this is our first attempt at this, with Juke anyway, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out,” he said.
“Juke and 370Z, Juke is a bigger seller as a model, so I’d imagine for the time that we have the Nismo Juke, it will be the biggest Nismo just by pure virtue of volume.
“But then obviously the Z retains its crown as the number-one seller.”
About one third of 370Z and GT-R sales are of the Nismo variants, meaning year to date, Nissan Australia has sold about 78 of the former and 13 of the latter.
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