It appears that Nissan’s Z sports car is far from dead, despite the fact that there are no official plans yet to replace the ageing 370Z.
Nissan’s chief planning officer Philippe Klein told Automotive News that the reports of the Z’s death are greatly exaggerated.
When asked though if Nissan is developing a successor to the 370Z, which has been on the market since 2009, he avoided to give a clear answer. “We’re working on it and it’s very present, but I have no indication to give you,” Klein said.
The most recent reports talk about Nissan struggling to make a viable business case for a new Z and that the company will likely ditch it completely. But Klein says otherwise.
“The Z is a difficult market,” he said. “It is rather shrinking worldwide. But we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that’s what we’re working on.
“That’s for the midterm,” he said. “For the long term, there are other considerations. If we do a complete new vehicle, what should it be to keep the passion alive? And we’re working very seriously on this — how we can keep the Z alive and refreshing and what would be the next generation?”
He also mentioned that the current SUV trend has shifted the customers’ mindset away from “speed, acceleration and cornering” as vehicle values. Add to that the latest government regulations, which have increased the weight and price of a new car thanks to their added safety kit, heavier axles and more.
These factors make it more challenging for Nissan to develop an all-new Z sports car, which is traditionally marketed as an affordable and lightweight sports car.
At least now we know that Nissan is indeed still looking into ways to create an all-new Z. “The passion is there,” Klein said. “The question is how can we refresh it and what will be the breakthrough for the long term?”
Note: 2018 Nissan 370Z Nismo pictured