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Nissan 370Z Nismo likely to launch Down Under

Despite the recent launch of the Nismo brand in Australia, with the local debut of the GT-R hero model, Nissan Australia has announced its intentions for a second model, likely to be the 370Z two-door coupe.

Nissan Australia boss Richard Emery suggested at last week's GT-R Nismo launch that the ageing sports car is firming as the second Nismo model to be sold Down Under – in favour of the Juke crossover or Patrol off-roader – due to its nameplate and history in the country.

Mr Emery believes sales interest still exists for the undervalued eight-year old 370Z – which replaced the successful 350Z – despite its older platform, powertrain and technology, particularly if a Nismo variant joined the local line-up.

The 370Z Nismo has been available overseas since 2009, with engine outputs rising from 245kW/363Nm to 260kW/374Nm, thanks to the work of Nissan's in-house tuners.

A stiffer suspension setup and stabiliser bars for improved handling also headline the changes to the Nismo-fettled 370Z.

These tuned sports coupes are set apart visually from their donor vehicles by their sports bodykits, 19-inch Rays forged aluminium wheels and bigger sports brakes.

Local rumours over the years have suggested the Juke Nismo SUV would be Nissan's first entrant into the Australian performance SUV segment, but such a release does not make sense, according to Mr Emery.

"Juke Nismo has some issues for us on ADRs (Australian Design Rules) and Euro 5 fuel, so there are a few issues around its suitability for Australia," he said.

It is now about making sure we follow up GT-R Nismo with something that lives by the Nismo kind of authenticity.

The Nissan Australia boss also revealed that the next-generation Juke is due in two years, meaning the Japanese car-maker would not launch then supersede a Nismo variant so soon.

Sold overseas, the Juke Nismo is differentiated by its sports bodykit, suspension and steering changes, interior tweaks and an increase in engine output to 147kW/249Nm.

The changes required for the SUV to be sold in Australia would be costly for Nissan, meaning the expense would likely be passed on to customers with a higher than desired price-point.

Honda Australia faced a similar crossroads with its Civic Type R performance hero – which launched overseas in late 2015 – where it was denied it a local release due to the impending launch of the 10th-generation Civic during 2016.

A Patrol Nismo will also not launch locally due to global supply constraints and its market-particular specification for the Middle East, according to Mr Emery.

"There are other vehicles available, not all of them suitable for Australia – whether it be engineering or ADRs and things like that – so there are a range of products that are potentially available to us," he said.

"Nismo will certainly be more than just one model, but for us, it is now about making sure we follow up GT-R Nismo with something that lives by the Nismo kind of authenticity."

The Nissan Australia boss said opportunity also exists for Nismo-themed accessories and parts – either aesthetic or performance-based – as long as they do not damage the brand image due to their mass-market appeal.

Would you like to see future generations of Nismo-tuned Juke and Patrol models sold in Australia? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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