Fans of Nissan’s legendary Nismo performance and motorsport division will soon be able to buy Nismo enhanced versions of Nissan’s mainstream models.
At the opening day of the Tokyo motor show yesterday (Wednesday) Nissan announced that it was bringing its tuning division in-house, in much the same way as Mercedes-Benz did with its AMG performance division several years ago.
Nismo - the name is derived from Nissan Motorsports International - has a towering reputation worldwide for its motorsport endeavours, and its enhanced road cars have long been favoured by performance car enthusiasts.
But until now the company's road car activities have been restricted to halo performance cars like the Z series in a small number of markets. The announcement at Tokyo means Nismo will be free to apply its performance expertise across the Nissan road car range in a more integrated fashion.
The decision is expected to drive major sales growth of Nismo-branded performance parts and accessories as well as provide Nissan with premium sports variants of its mainstream models.
The Nissan Juke Concept unveiled at the show was chosen as an example of how a more integrated Nismo might work with Nissan. The Juke is a funky cross-over that’s based on the Nissan Micra platform.
The Juke Concept appeared decked out in Nismo's signature colour scheme of pearl white with subtle red highlights, sports-tuned suspension, more power from the 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine and a chunky body kit.
"Nismo adds even more excitement and innovation to Nissan products. We now plan to inject that style and excitement into other models in the Nissan range," says Shoichi Miyatani, President of Nismo.
Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn added: "Nismo has carved out an enviable reputation in motor racing. "In fact, in 2011, Nismo cars and engines won in every category they competed in… the first time we have achieved this milestone.
“The time is now right to let ordinary drivers experience what our racing drivers enjoy every time they head out onto the track. We aim to bring Nismo's passion and focus on driving excitement to mainstream models, and the Juke Nismo Concept shows what we can do," said Mr Ghosn.
The announcement also included the news that Nismo would relocate to an all-new purpose-built global HQ in Yokohama in early 2013. The move will create a global centre of excellence for Nissan’s race and performance car development, as well as offering servicing, parts, a showroom and a museum.
Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson confirmed that the company would look at adding Nismo products and models to its range but said there was nothing planned in the immediate future. “We’ll study it now that there’s a bit more emphasis around it globally,” says Thompson. “They are bringing it down to the mass market which makes it more interesting for us.”