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Nissan plans Aussie NISMO assault


Nissan has unveiled plans for a full NISMO assault on the Australian market, with as many as three performance-tuned models to launch locally in 2017.

Promising a return to the glory days of accessible Japanese performance, Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO, Richard Emery, told CarsGuide.com.au that he'd be tapping into the brand's in-house tuning arm's product catalogue to launch up to three new products next year, with more vehicles to follow as the brand's portfolio grows.

That schedule will start with the launch of the NISMO-tuned Nissan GT-R in February 2017, but will be closely followed by what will likely be the performance-tuned 370Z NISMO, with Mr Emery also confirming the NISMO version of the Juke SUV is also on the cards for an Australian launch next year.

"I know that NISMO are working on a much more expanded range. So at the moment we're going with the NISMO GT-R, but we're working on at least one other model for next year, which is already in existence," he said.

"From our perspective, we can land either Nismo 370Z or Nismo Juke next year. I think it's more likely to be the 370Z. It's already a good base product, and the Nismo version of it is really good. 

"It's not impossible that we'll see both."

Those two vehicles signal the start of a new wave of NISMO product in Australia, with local executives keen to expand the brand Down Under.

The NISMO-fettled 370Z undergoes the usual style makeover inside and out, but also scores a new suspension tune, bigger brakes and a power boost thanks to new engine mapping that lifts outputs from 245kW and 363Nm to 253kW and 371Nm - enough to drop its 100km/h sprint to 5.2 seconds. 

While the Juke NISMO is available in two trim levels overseas, Mr Emery says he'd be skipping the warmed-over version and launching with the faster RS model only. The Juke RS squeezes 160kW and 285Nm from its turbocharged 1.6-litre engine (up from 140kW and 240Nm), and gains lower, performance-tuned suspension, better brakes and a style makeover, both inside and out. 

Those two vehicles signal the start of a new wave of NISMO product in Australia, with local executives keen to expand the brand Down Under. And in good news for Australian performance fans, Nissan's local boss has promised every NISMO-badged model will offer "real performance" rather than simple style packs. 

"The only thing that we are careful with, within our strategy, NISMO has to be real performance, not just stickers, alloys and a spoiler. If they're going to produce genuine NISMO performance alternatives for cars that we have available in Australia, then we'd certainly look at them," he said.

We want to keep NISMO pretty pure in Australia. If you try and fake it, you'll get found out.

"If you create the pinnacle, the genuine NISMO product, then of course you can feed off that with (performance) packages across the rest of your range, but you need to start with that. You can't be disingenuous to the consumer.

"We want to keep NISMO pretty pure in Australia. If you try and fake it, you'll get found out." 

But fans of city-sized hot hatches better prepare for some disappointment, with Mr Emery ruling out a Nissan Micra NISMO in Australia.

"It's not on our horizon," he said.

Are you revved up by Nissan's local performance push? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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