NEWS: RWD Nissan IDx will not see production, may be AWD

6101_Nissan IDx Freeflow

The news is out: The Nissan IDx is dead. This sad revelation is being reported after The Truth About Cars talked to Pierre Loing, VP of Product Planning at Nissan North America.We at JNC can confirm we’ve been hearing rumors about the IDx being stillborn from Nissan engineers as early as August 2014. TTAC says that the IDx concept’s styling may live on in a small, front-wheel-drive coupe, but we’ve heard that from Nissan that there’s is a chance it will come to market on an AWD platform. 

Nissan IDx FreeFlow Datsun 510 Concept 09

So what happened to the most anticipated concept of the last decade, one that Nissan knew would be so mind-blowing that they practically shoved the supercar-slaying NISMO GT-R off stage at its Tokyo debut?

First, a timeline.

  • Late summer 2013: We are told by Nissan Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura there will a surprise at the Tokyo Motor Show that fall, something that would be of much interest to JNC readers.
  • November 2013: Nissan unveils the IDx Freeflow and NISMO concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show. It is one of the most exciting concepts of the last decade and wins tons of accolades.
  • January 2014: The IDx concepts make their North American debut with new grilles to match the rest of the Nissan lineup. Nissan VP Andy Palmer states the IDx is headed for production.
  • July 2014: Rumors emerge that the IDx is dead. Nissan immediately refutes rumor, saying they haven’t decided yet.
  • August 2014: Turns out Palmer was headed to Aston Martin. JNC hears from Nissan engineers that the IDx is dead on arrival.
  • December 2014: Reports claim the Nissan IDx has been green lit for production.
  • January 2015: JNC is told by Nissan representatives that a IDx-class car is still being evaluated, but that it will not be what JNCers want.

318s_Nissan-IDx-NISMO-model

TTAC extracted this quote from Loing: “Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment.”

ORLY? Every other automaker? The unsettling thing about Loing’s statements is that the rumor of a lighter, more affordable Fairlady Z seems to be on the outs as well.

6110_Nissan IDx Freeflow

All we know is that we’ve been bombarding every Nissan engineer, product planner and janitor that would listen with the same pitch. Develop a small RWD platform that underpins the next Z, a two-seater sports car. Make the IDx the 2+2 coupe, sedan, hatch, wagon and whatever BMW is building these days and, well, that’s some volume.

Nissan IDx FreeFlow Datsun 510 Concept 02

But even as it was coming out of our mouths, we knew the idea could never fly. Thats because Nissan isn’t just Nissan. It’s one part of a Voltron-like entity formed by Renault, neo-Datsun, Dacia, Samsung Motors and AvtoVAZ. To CEO Carlos Ghosn, chasing share in emerging markets is priority number one.

However, a glimmer of hope remains. Back in January, we pressed Nissan on the issue of whether it’d be front-wheel-drive. The possibility of all-wheel-drive was raised, though that option was still in evaluation. If platform sharing is the answer, this seems like a good possibility. Nissan already makes a Juke NISMO RS that has a turbo 1.6L good for 215 hp (though the AWD version is available only with a CVT and has 4 fewer horses). A new Bluebird 1600 turbo, anyone?

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53 Responses to NEWS: RWD Nissan IDx will not see production, may be AWD

  1. MGamez said:

    Just so disappointing……. Well I guess the FR-S is going to have to tug it alone.

  2. Michael said:

    You guys said it all when you wrote the line;

    “That’s because Nissan isn’t just Nissan”.

    Nissan has lost both its roots & its soul! Plus it does not seem to have leadership which really cares about any either way.

    The GT-R is one last hope. But even Godzilla himself is moving further away from his once proud homeland ideals, & closer to being a mirror of his European “supercar” quaffing rivals.

    The Z isn’t dead either, but for how long………………………

    I say loyal Nissan samurai lets re-group, storm the Bastille, & relieve the Frenchman of the throne!!!

    Nissan deserves a TRUE Shogun!

    • Nigel said:

      There are a few Ronin waiting for the signal here !!

    • RainMeister said:

      I will keep driving my 11 year old G35 for as long as I can, but it will without doubt be my last Nissan. There isn’t a single current Nissan model that excites. What a sad state of affairs.

    • ergun uzdilli said:

      its very simple Renault destroyed Nissan , they need to get rid of renault then they might produce those wonderful cars they did in the 60s 70s 80s an 90s

  3. Nigel said:

    Yeah, this is bothering me way more than I thought it would. (A lost opportunity for Nissan).

  4. mister k said:

    old news. whomever didn’t already know this has had their head in the sand

  5. Serg said:

    Not surprising but still disappointing – I really did like that design. I think the main reason has always been that Toyota / Subaru got there first; post GFC there was never going to be room for more than one car of that class at any one time. Nissan / Datsun has had some incredible platforms over the years, and I dare say they’ll have more but not if there’s no company bankroll them.

  6. Randy said:

    Pretty much known, based on earlier articles, but still — STUPID.

    I realize it’s easy to bash on the non-production of something when it’s not our money on the line, but here’s my prediction, if they’d built it: It would outsell the Z, Maxima and GT-R, and the Toyobaru twins COMBINED.

    I’ve seen three of the twins – couldn’t tell you which badge was on which. I cannot tell you the last time I saw a new Z, or any of the entire present-generation Maxima (not even new; just this GENERATION) on the road, and I’ve seen exactly ONE GT-R on the road around here.

    Don’t bother making something fun and affordable that can be owned by regular people; make things that, for the price, offer low value.

    Considering the global market, it probably would’ve competed against the BMW 1-Series, M-B A-Class (IIRC), etc., across Europe.

    While I’m all-in for the “Emerging Market”-level cars (STILL really like the Datsun line), ain’t nobody gonna tell me they couldn’t use this to bring people into the showrooms in the OTHER markets; “Emerging Markets” are still a gamble, whereas Established Markets are already there, and waiting for a non-appliance.

    Like Ben said – use the platform/design for multiple bodies, and let’s throw in a droptop, for laughs.

    • Tom Westmacott said:

      So Nissan want to concentrate on ‘Emerging Markets’ – would that be emerging markets like China, the country that is so crazy about Initial D that they funded two live-action films set there, with Chinese actors? Would that be the same Initial D that prominently features a Nissan S13 Silvia?

      Nissan have a choice – either they are a brand that stands for something, that means something to people, that has a depth and a heritage, or they are just selling commodity transportation at cost price. The former is the only profitable model, and it’s within Nissan’s grasp if they build on their heritage, rather than squandering it. This applies to ’emerging’ markets as well as established ones.

      Anyway, thanks JNC for a typically in-depth and informative article, appreciated as ever.

  7. Censport said:

    Nissan won’t build a small RWD coupe that lit up the car enthusiast world, but they’ll rework the chassis and interior of a Murano so they can sell a convertible SUV nobody asked for (except maybe Ghosn’s wife).

    Remember that abomination? I saw a pre-production model at a local Cars & Coffee. I happened to be there in a Figaro. I said to the two employees who had brought the topless Murano, “Let me get this straight. Over 200,000 people wanted to buy the Figaro – in Japan alone – so Nissan built 20,000. But you’re going to put THAT into production?!?”

    One of them just shrugged and said, “Hey man, we don’t make those calls.” But someone at Nissan who did make those calls insisted on building the Murano CrossCabriolet, despite departments within Nissan – tasked with researching things like model viability – warning management on at least four different occasions not to do it.

    Production lasted all of three years, with 5,769 made.

    I was hoping Nissan would redeem itself with the IDx, but I seriously doubt it will ever see production as anything more than a nameplate on an existing FWD chassis. Oh well, I’m glad I at least got to see it on stage at the Tokyo Motor Show.

  8. pete240z said:

    This is a good idea that Nissan is bailing on this car – Nissan doesn’t want the crowds chasing the dealers down for cars – they already suffered through that 240Z debacle and don’t want to regret those problems again.

    It is much better to sell CVT only Altima’s that can be dressed up like a race car with lego panels. Will Nissan be selling those pop off race panels?

  9. Tony said:

    FWD is not so bad if they put some additional engineering into the car… Think SE-R with 510 /IDX styling! If they offered a “HOT”version Nismo maybe as AWD that would be very cool but, all they need to do is make a car with the IDX styling that will go toe to toe with the Civic SI and Type R. It will be cheep to produce and it will be the gateway vehicle into the Nissan brand that will be needed to keep new generations interested… I just have 1 request and that is put some balls in the thing! 300hp!!!

    • Randy said:

      Wouldn’t that just be a Sentra 2-door?

      • wantyerknobbies said:

        Yeah ok Randy time really to give up the pipe dream. Everybody else with the Fwd bug up their arses, better hang on to your rwd relics whilst the rest of us cheer Nissan on to build a true challenger to the Focus ST (like that will ever happen). Watch Hammond’s test drive if you haven’t already done so…

        • Randy said:

          I can’t tell if you agree with me or not…

          Depending on the dimensions, it might just be a rebody of a Versa or Sentra.

          I’m not saying the Sentra couldn’t be hotted up; just that if it’s a 2-door Sentra, then it’s a 2-door Sentra… Making 2-door versions of pretty much EVERY car, at every price and performance level, would work for me; it’s just equipment and trim levels (“Your LX will be built on Wednesday. They all are.”).

          I’m personally fine with FWD; been driving that since about ’90, BUT if the idea is to compete against FR-S/BRZ/Miata, etc., then I don’t think it’s going to work. They could save the development money, and make the hotrod Sentras to go against the Focus ST line.
          .

          • Greyfox said:

            Didn’t they already re-body the Sentra? In the early 90’s, it was called the NX Coupe and it is a great little car…

          • Randy said:

            I thought they were actually smaller than the Sentra, but you could be right… COOL little rides. Didn’t sell many around my area, but still liked ’em, like the Mazda – I want to say MX-3.

      • Tony said:

        Yup, but it sounds like FWD is the only way the thing will be built! And the SE-R was a cult classic just like the 510… FWD can be built to offer good driving dynamics and in the unique styling and they may just have a winner just need to be on par or better with the Type-R that is coming

    • Pete240z said:

      Nissan shows that Sentra Nismo on their website. It’s got all the stuff and looks close to a real car. Next year? I have an Accord 5-speed and I am considering the Civic Si for my next car in 12 months but would seriously look at a Sentra Nismo first.

  10. cesariojpn said:

    So wait, there is NO existing platform that can be utilized for a RWD IDx? Not even a Keicar chassis?

  11. DesignerD said:

    I need a drink….

    • Randy said:

      So you got some practice!

      Think about this, man: You got PAID to go play with designing a car!

      The rest of us just did that in high school for NO pay.

    • Tony said:

      Is it really so hard to get the bean counters to see that Nissan needs a “gateway car” or that this was that vehicle… Can’t someone hint to them to chase the ring time set be the Civic R FWD and help get this sucker back on track in some kinda performance version?!?! what a shame! well Designer D maybe you could email a link to the powers that be to see what we all have to say? There are a lot of Nissan Fans looking for a car like this and if I remember correctly when Carlos took over one of the 1st things he did was bring back the SER and get Nissan fans something to play with!

  12. Daniel said:

    ….Really?
    Thanks Renault.

  13. Dallas D. said:

    The silver lining in this cloud is that if the IDx is dead, the Z will probably live on. Right, Nissan?

    Who would buy the IDx over a Z? I would. I have children, but didn’t want a sedan, so I got a 4-seat coupe. It’ll be at least 8 years before my lifestyle will allow for a 2-seater, so cars like the would-be IDx are my demographic’s dream come true.

    4-seat GTs are generally upmarket. Nissan, and any automaker, could change the game by introducing a lower-market GT, but they no longer have the guts. They are running from life; going with the flow rather than guiding it. This is nothing short of shameful.

    Nissan sees any purchase of the IDx as a lost Maxima or Z sale. Therefore, the best that my demographic can hope for is a proper Maxima; a sport sedan that regular people can afford. That’s what we should be lobbying for, because it’s more realistic. I don’t know anything about the upcoming Maxima, because I no longer have enough faith in Nissan to have researched it. Hopefully it’ll be a pleasant surprise.

    • Randy said:

      You are well-within the demographic we were talking about when we broke Ben’s “most posts generated” record.

      Now, let’s throw in the $$$ factor.

      Z and Maxima are running $30-ish-K to start. The ’16 Maxima is $32,410. I know this, ’cause I have it open in another window right now. The IDx was supposedly in the 20s. That’s a big chunk of difference; moreso to you – having other responsibilities – than it may even be to the single, no-other-responsibilities person. Also, I doubt that most of the Mustangs and Camaros being sold to the 20-somethings are the $40K models.

      I hate to say this, but the Z appears to be languishing, and the FEW times I’ve seen them, it was always a guy with grey hair driving it like a Corvette, which is to say, like a Volvo. (I smoked a ‘Vette one night on a local road, and I only have about 108hp!)

      Here’s what Nissan is losing without the IDx: They won’t lose a Maxima or Z sale to the IDx; they’ll lose ANY sale to you, because you’re more likely to buy a BMW 2-Series, or Mercedes CLA coupe (both around $31-32K, so if you can swing a Maxima, you’re in that price demo). If what I read is true, about people not having the brand loyalty they used to, Nissan won’t lose the (let’s say) $10K difference; they’ll lose the $30K sale.

      Oh well… It’s only global profit and market share…

    • Randy said:

      Hey – while I was on the page:

      http://www.nissanusa.com/cars/2016-maxima/versions-specs/

      Starting prices: $32,410 – $39,860
      CVT-only. No paddle-shifters for those who want to pretend they’re racers, but it does have the all-important “D-step logic!” (No, I don’t actually know what that is… Maybe fake shift-feel? Not interested enough to look it up.)

      Oh well – Hello Mazda 6! “Titanium Flash” or “Blue Reflex” (maybe “Snowflake White Pearl”) with the “Parchment” interior…and a stick shift!

      • Richie said:

        Funny you mention that. Exactly my thinking and why I HAVE a Mazda 6 in my driveway. 4 doors, 6 gears and fun. Mazda seems to be the only one doing things right.

        • Dallas D. said:

          The latest Mazda 6 is one of the few sedans that I would drive. You see, Nissan? That is how to have your cake and eat it too; by letting us have our cake and eat it too.

        • Randy said:

          Hey, what if they had a 2-door version; a new “MX-6?” Similar roofline, obviously longer doors, but with the same interior space?

      • Dallas D. said:

        It’s worth reading, to know how bad it is:

        “…the D-Step will prompt the CVT to jump ahead a gear around 4,000 rpm, creating a brief drop in driving power while lending a sense of gears changing, all to ease Nissan owners’ concerns that their vehicle’s transmission is somehow broken due to the lack of a notable gear change. More models will receive D-Step in 2016.”

        Defeating the purpose of a CVT in order to continue selling CVTs.

        • Randy said:

          Oy.

          That sounds about as enticing as Mustang’s engine-sound tube-thing that transfers engine sound to the firewall, or – I think – Camaro running engine sounds through the speakers.

          I’m thinking that if your customers think your $32,000 product is broken right from the start, that might be a bad sign.

  14. _John said:

    Well, on the plus side, that means that I won’t have a car payment in the near future. I’ll happily drive my 15 year old car around until something comes along that is enticing enough for me to purchase.

  15. spriso said:

    As a ex-die-hard Datsun/Nissan guy, the IDX was the first glimmer of something interesting from Nissan in a depressingly long time.

    My youth was spent beating the living daylights out of Datsun 510s– that car literally changed my life and made me want to understand, build and restore cars. I became so passionate about them, that I got a job at a Nissan dealership during Nissan’s second Renaissance (early 90s), when we had the 240SX, the SE-R, the Z32 300ZX, and even the Maxima SE 4DSC was respectable… and the toys from Japan could make those cars even more fun…

    As Nissan lost their way in the late 90s, by becoming stiff and inflexible with boring designs, I (like so many others), I quit my job at the dealership, and instead followed other Japanese cars such as Mazda– who still embrace the importance of cars that are “fun” to drive and that steer and stop properly. Mitsubishi with their staggeringly good EVO, and even Subaru with the boxer engine that snorts and burbles in such a lovely way.

    But no Nissans. Every now and then I will pick one up as a rental car and am astonished how poorly they drive, how heavy they feel, how lack-luster the designs look, and how buzzy the engines feel.

    I WANT to love Nissan again, and I probably was a little too excited when the IDX concept came out– my beloved 510 shape in a proper RWD platform. Could I dare think that a NEW Nissan would again grace my garage???

    Sadly, it is not to be– my current daily driver will last a year or two more, and then I will need to figure out something else… but we know that Nissan won’t be getting my dollars…

    -m

  16. Randy said:

    I got to thinking – – –

    WHAT IF it’s built on the Juke platform, allowing for FWD, RWD AND AWD?

    • wantyerknobbies said:

      fun to daydream but educate yousself on the Nissan platforms
      In the meantime, just know Juke is FF and every other drivetrain variant is just an accesory not the real deal
      AWD is just a bit of power thrown at the rear wheels for inclement weather and thus RWD is neither a possibilty nor a reality

      @TTAC xenophobic hick responses

      • Randy said:

        Is there a drive shaft that runs to the back axle?

        Test one, for proof-of-concept, disable the FWD parts of an AWD model. If necessary, modify a small pickup’s rear end for the differential. A machine shop could probably fabricate the needed parts.

        Yes, it’s an engineering challenge, but I doubt it’s insurmountable for a lot less than developing an entirely new chassis.

  17. alvin said:

    paging “DesignerD”…

  18. Tik B Lang said:

    5 nissan in the last 16 years, my next “CAR” will be an affordable RWD driven car. “PERIOD”

  19. Honda guy said:

    There aren’t any new nissan that i would get. But if they made the idx i would get it… i love datsun 510 and the retro idx would be the ticket… i more a honda person

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