The Nissan Skyline is not dead, according to Nissan executive’s strongly worded statement

Over the weekend a minor panic ensued among Nissan fans and car enthusiasts when the Nikkei Shimbun newspaper reported that Nissan was discontinuing the Skyline. The Fuga and Cima would go along with it, the article stated. Reasons cited included a shift towards the almighty SUV, and that resources would be reallocated to develop electric cars. However, a high-ranking Nissan executive has just denied that report.

In Japan today Nissan held a press conference to launch the new Nissan Note Aura. As the event was concluding, executive vice-president Asako Hoshino took the stage to add one final comment via translator (emphasis added):

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today. I would just like to say one word in concluding this session. At the end of last week, the in Nikkei Shimbun there was an article about the suspension of Skyline development. There was an article in the newspaper indicating that Nissan was going to close down its development of a historical model. There is no fact about such a decision making process. We have never made such a decision. Nissan will never abandon the Skyline. I just wanted to use this opportunity to convey this message to you. Thank you for joining us today.

Take note, automakers. This is how you properly refute an inaccurate report in the media. Rarely have we seen such an emphatic statement from a company. Clear, to the point, and immediate. Nissan clearly wanted to put an end to the rumors before speculation got out of control, and did it effectively. You can watch Hoshino deliver the statement at the 55:25 mark of the Note Aura launch video.

As the initial report marinated over the weekend, many accepted it as accurate. It made sense, after all, that Nissan would follow suit after the cancellation of the Crown sedan, arguably a greater symbol for Toyota than the Skyline is for Nissan. The Crown was a Toyota through and through, and has been in continuous production for 15 generations and 66 years, since 1955. The Skyline, on the other hand, started life as a Prince, arrived two years after the Crown, and has had 13 generations.

Nissan is in more dire financial straits than Toyota as well, and it was largely thought that the Fuga and Cima only existed because of the Infiniti brand in the US. With no further development of either model in sight, and an increasing shift towards SUVs around the world, it would have been a natural end for those two. It would then follow that the Skyline, built on the same platform, would meet the same fate.

It’s pretty unusual for an executive, during the launch of one model, to address a different one. It takes away from the news of the intended launch, which is exactly what is happening here. Only extenuating circumstances, like an inescapable scandal, can typically cause such a message departure. But Nissan obviously felt strongly enough about the Skyline to make the statement. From this rare occurrence, we can also learn what companies mean in the absence of such a forceful rebuttal.

What’s even better is that Hoshino made took such a powerful stance. By doing so, she holds the company itself accountable. Even if a product planner or beancounter gets the idea into their head to kill off the Skyline, everyone can point to this moment and challenge it. Score a win for the enthusiasts today. Good job, Nissan!

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14 Responses to The Nissan Skyline is not dead, according to Nissan executive’s strongly worded statement

  1. Steve H says:

    Great article about a great way to send a positive message. Thanks

  2. RainMeister says:

    I had read the original Nikkei article, and was initially alarmed by the prospect of Nissan abandoning such an iconic model, but in light of everything becoming electrified, or turned into SUVs, what assurance do we have that they wouldn’t just apply the name to a future electric SUV? After all, Ford didn’t hesitate to bastardize the iconic Mustang name with the successful launch of the Mach E (it’s reportedly outselling the gas-powered coupe).

    Given Nissan’s financial health, I can’t imagine them continuing to invest money in what is quickly becoming a niche product segment, even if it was to keep redressing the current Skyline in new duds (a la Fairlady Z). The days of a RWD coupe/sedan powered by a gasoline engine are history, notwithstanding the forthcoming Mazda 6 replacement. For my money, I’d much rather own a classic Skyline (R32 in gunmetal please) that doesn’t depreciate and allows me to bask in ’90s nostalgia.

  3. Land Ark says:

    Well, I guess I look forward to the next generation of Skyline – a FWD based crossover with a compromised rear hatch area in order to make the shape look coupe-like. In addition to 4 cubic inches more cargo space than a traditional sedan, it’ll also have .24″ more ground clearance than the sedan it replaces in order to get you through the difficult weather that most drivers encounter 340 times a year. Of course styling will include rugged dark gray textured plastic wheel arches and side skirts to let everyone know you are serious about off-roading. It will come standard with a 180 horsepower 2.5 liter 4 cylinder trimmed as the GTS and it will be available with an optional 240 horsepower 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo – trimmed as the RS.

    See, the Skyline never went anywhere – but up!

    • XRaider927 says:

      A FWD Crossover!? No….we already had a lot and I mean……..A LOT….Tell that to the QX55 which is not a worthy successor of the FX/QX70

      • XRaider927 says:

        I mean really…..Let me list down FWD Crossover SUVs for you:

        1. Magnite
        2. Kicks
        3. Juke
        4. Qasqhai/Rogue Sport
        5. XTrail/Rogue
        6. Murano
        7. Pathfinder
        8. QX50
        9. QX55
        10. QX60
        11. Ariya

        There…..need to say more…..The FWD side of Crossovers is already crowded and only two SUVs are RWD as of now….which is the Patrol/Armada/QX80 and the Terra….

  4. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Yeah, typical newspaper crap saying something outrageous to sell papers. They should can the idiot for writing something that was totally wrong.

    • Iwakuni91 says:

      Based on Japan’s culture of shame, I do wonder how the newspaper, and by extension that reporter, will respond to this in light of Hoshino-San publicly calling out the publication. Even if the original story was true and Nissan decided to change course, it puts Nikkei Shimbun in an unenviable position; stand up against a revered automaker/nameplate for a “true” story or acquiesce to a lie. Either way, it sucks to be that reporter.

      • Alan says:

        I was pondering this myself. If said reporter was indeed onto something, and in revealing it moved Nissan to publicly renounce plans, they’re an unknown martyr and hero to all of us.

        • Iwakuni91 says:

          To quote the announcer when the owl was asked how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, “the world may never know.”

      • DesignerD says:

        No he’ll be fine… He’ll just say, “wait and let’s see.” It’s up to Nissan to spend the millions to prove it wrong, but most likely is that skyline as a sedan is dead, but skyline as a GT cross SUV will live. So neither right or wrong in either camp, and in reality a very japanese “grey” answer without actual concrete proof of direction so that it can be changed later. Besides, this will all be forgotten in a months time as it’s eclipsed by something else in the Nissan news saga

  5. RX626 says:

    They did indeed say, “Nissan will never abandon the Skyline. This is good news.
    However, there is one thing we should all be aware of.
    They said they will never abandon the Skyline, but that is not the same as saying they will never abandon the saloon.

    They sold the Infiniti EX35 under the name “Skyline Crossover” in Japan.
    The car was disliked by many fans as it tarnished the Skyline brand and was not a success in terms of sales.

    But today, SUVs are a global craze, and saloons, by contrast, are dying a slow death. It is no exception in the Japanese market.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they kill all Nissan saloons and give the new SUV the name “Skyline”.

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