NISSAN says its desire to bring the Nismo performance brand to Australia is as strong as ever – it just needs Japan to come to the high-octane party.
Nissan Australia chief executive Richard Emery told Wheels he was in monthly discussions with the Yokohama head office about when it could start rolling out cars fettled by Nismo, the carmaker’s global motorsport brand.
However, Emery said Australia’s biggest problem was that it is not the only one hammering on Nismo’s door for product.
“Nismo, in terms of their capacity and capability to go out with a global road-car program, is quite limited because they are effectively a motorsport company,” Emery said. “So [for Nismo] to turn that around into a globally scaled car production structure and engineering structure is a challenge.
“They’ve got all these markets saying this is the right thing [for Nismo] to do ... but scaling up requires prioritising what you’re going to do and when.
“There are so many markets who want to do the same thing at the same time.”
Nissan has offered Nismo enhancements for a number of its cars sold in overseas markets, ranging from the Nissan Juke compact SUV to the ageing 370Z two-seat sports coupe and beer-budget two-door Nissan GT-R super-coupe.
Emery said the Nismo brand was important for adding colour and personality to the brand, an element it has lacked in recent years: “And that’s not just for Australia. It’s probably relevant globally as well. So we’re very enthusiastic about providing the Nismo brand to add that colour, to add that excitement.”
Once given the green light, Emery said Nissan could have its first Nismo-badged products in showrooms in six to nine months.
“What I don’t want to do is go ahead and do it and I can only have five cars; that’s not going to help anybody,” Emery said.
“So we need to make sure there’s a supply line and it’s consistent, and it can meet up with the demand that’s there.”
And he’s promised they won’t be all show and no go.
“The Nismo badge needs to be real. There is a variety of options … alloys and a spoiler kit is not what Nismo is about. We want to hang true to what Nismo is and that is it offers some performance advantages. It’s not just visual, it’s not just bolted-on visual cues.”
That job, he said, would be left to Nissan’s new N-Sport sub-brand that will sit above the regular range, but fill in below Nismo’s more enthusiast-honed model line-up.