NEWS: Nissan still “working on” keeping the Z alive

The current Nissan Z is nearly a decade old and the automaker has given not even the slightest suggestion of a successor. However, the company’s most memorable model is perhaps not completely dead, according to a Nissan executive’s recent statements. 

Nissan chief planning officer Philippe Klein told Automotive News in an interview published yesterday, “We want to keep [the Z] alive, and that’s what we’re working on.”

Klein admitted that “The Z is a difficult market” and that it is “shrinking worldwide.” It’s true, increased safety regulations make engineering a lightweight and low-slung sports more difficult, what with added equipment for occupants and minimum height requirements for pedestrian injury mitigation. But in fact it is changing driving habits that might doom the sports car. As per Automotive News:

He said the rise of SUVs and crossovers has shifted consumers’ mindset away from “speed, acceleration and cornering” as vehicle attributes.

Still, Klein says that “We still believe there is a place for the Z.”

Before we get too excited, though, a close reading of Klein’s statements seems to indicate that they are working on how to justify the Z in the short term, as we wait for its successor in the long term. Again, Klein:

“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?”

In a sense, it’s easier to talk about a future Z. Myriad powertrain options, from hybrid to pure electric may ensure the survival of Nissan’s trademark sports car. It’s the bridge that may prove more difficult, especially if a competitive offering must be built atop an existing platform.

“The passion is there,” Klein told Automotive News. “The question is how can we refresh it and what will be the breakthrough for the long term?”

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23 Responses to NEWS: Nissan still “working on” keeping the Z alive

  1. Dave Patten said:

    The Z car needs to be downsized. For me, smaller and more nimble is the attraction.

    Take the IDx concept and turn it into a 2 seat, fast-back hatch with a 2.0L turbo. Then you’ll have it.

  2. I would love to see at least portions from the IDX reinvigorated into a new Z. A smaller V6 (preferably L6 but I know my limits), a curb weight closer to the 3-3500 lb mark and I would be tempted to by my first modern Nissan.

  3. Daniel said:

    Yes, nissan lost the oportunity to make real the idx, hyundai continúe the veloster, ford put in the street focus and fiesta RS, all the european manufacturers make a hot hatch, toyota with the yaris sport…nissan guys ask for mazda maybe they can help you.

  4. Geoff said:

    Is there a market for a 2 seater GT anymore?

    Bless ’em for keeping the flame alive, but that can’t be a very profitable niche when the main competitor is a corvette that they can’t compete with (without stepping on their halo’s toes).

  5. Rich S said:

    Cool, that’s my Safari Gold Z in the last picture. They need to come out with a newly styled Z for the 50th anniversary or the Z, coming up soon.

  6. BlitzPig said:

    Rebadge the new Renault Alpine as a Nissan… done.

    I’ll bet they put the nameplate on an SUV though…

    Meanwhile, Mazda sells every MX 5 that they can build.

    • XRaider said:

      Are you sure about that?

    • Tim said:

      I hate to say it, but MX-5 sales are pretty bad right now. You can still get a brand new 2 year old car. They’re hanging out on dealer lots everywhere.

      • Bob said:

        I recall distinctly a story about a guy last year who wanted either wanted a Miata or the Fiat version, and whichever he wanted was totally sold out anywhere, couldn’t get the options, etc, so he settled for a lesser trim of the opposite car. I too was under the impression they had been selling relatively well. Maybe not.

  7. Mark Newton-John said:

    Ha ha ha… They’re working on a CUV, like the new Eclipse, and not telling you. The Juke Z…

  8. Tim said:

    Look, this isn’t difficult. What was the original Z? A 2-seater car with good power and handling that was reasonably comfortable, affordable, and very attractive. You don’t need anything crazy. Repurpose an existing chassis to compete with the BRZ/MX-5 – something sub-3,000lbs. Maybe the Micra? Add some decent suspension. Put your VQ37 or some other 6-banger in it. Attach a stick shift. Slap the original interior of the 240Z in it, with fake leather on top of the old plastics and a touchscreen in place of the HVAC. Hand the exterior design over to the IDX guy. Make a stripped down model with all the go-fast goodies and a touring model with all the extra sound deadener weight.

  9. In my opinion it should be some Nissan Version of the GT-86 Kind. which was actually what the original Z used to be: RWD, simple, cheap, beautiful, fun.

    Not an over-engineered, overpowered car that nobody wants.

  10. Ken said:

    The “big three” in the US have all done well with their retro muscle cars. Nissan would do well with an updated 240Z. Something that recalls the original body lines. Then, yes, put in an inline six with all the cool valvetrain goodies and market a turbo option. Make something light that handles, but will eat a BRZ for breakfast. Go a little further, and make some of the parts compatible with old Z cars, and you’ll light up the aftermarket as well. A modern and configurable, all-Nissan engine management system I can put into my 1976 280Z? Yes, please! Updated headlights that’ll fit in the old sugar scoops? Bring ‘em on! Nissan could craftily make a car for old and new enthusiasts while also fostering a whole resto-mod revolution.

  11. datsone said:

    Come on, Nissan. Toyota can do it, Mazda can do it. You let the parade go by a while ago.

  12. pete240z said:

    but we are all happy driving CVT equipped Jukes and Altima’s…………….I will admit if I didn’t have to own a truck for work I would love that 4DSC Nissan Maxima 5-speed manual transmission V6 Nissan makes; right? A throwback to a 1972 Hakosuka…….

  13. Ruined9s said:

    Idk man from the 240z to the 370z I think the next step for Nissan is to make sporty kei cars that barley pass legal us safety laws.

  14. DerbyCityGinger said:

    The modern market demands boring, padded mom-mobiles. Better to let it die than be bastardized by combining it with the Juke or something.

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