After years of behind-the-scenes work, Nissan Australia’s plan to bring a range of NISMO road cars to this market is coming close to fruition with the automaker confirming to TMR today that NISMO’s consumer-grade offerings are finally on their way.
But while an official announcement of the NISMO road car programme is expected to happen later this year, the first cars likely won’t touch Australian soil until early 2017.
“At this stage, it’s too soon to specify a month for the release of any models,” said Nissan’s General Manager of Corporate Communications Peter Fadeyev to TMR. “Specific details such as first production months need to be set for such a forecast.”
However when asked when a local debut was likely, Fadeyev hinted that NISMO’s Australian launch activity might coincide with next year’s Bathurst 12-hour endurance race - where NISMO has enjoyed recent success with its GT-R NISMO GT3 race car, having won last year’s event in a nail-biting finish.
The arrival of NISMO-tuned (which stands for Nissan Motorsport) road cars has been a long time coming for Nissan Australia, which has been pursuing the high-performance variants for its local showrooms since 2013.
And while the lineup of models has yet to be announced, the two most likely suspects are the 261kW 370Z NISMO (which TMR drove in Japan in 2014) and the 441kW GT-R NISMO - both of which feature track-tuned suspensions, chassis reinforcements, brakes and unique aero kits.
At the lower end of the performance spectrum will likely be the Juke NISMO, which has milder tune-ups than its more serious stablemates. NISMO also offers their own version of the Nissan Micra light hatch in Japan, but it’s understood this model is not under consideration for Australia.
There’s already some pent-up demand for NISMO’s road cars, with Nissan already fielding enquiries from prospective buyers - mainly for the GT-R NISMO.
“It is evident Australian new-car buyers love official performance sub-brands – various European marques prove this – and we have, for some time now, received enquiries about the potential for NISMO’s official presence in Australia,” Fadeyev said to TMR.
“A number of our authorised Nissan GT-R dealers have had customers requesting the GT-R NISMO and I’ve been told several of them have already placed deposits for this model in anticipation of a local market introduction.”
However, the process of getting the NISMO models - most of which feature extensive modifications over the road cars they are based on - approved for local sale has been a lengthy one.
“Officially introducing a full performance automotive sub-brand is a large project”, explained Fadeyev.
“Outwardly, it might appear to simply be the addition of a new model or two but it’s far more involved and includes every facet of our vehicle distribution business in Australia as well as a multitude of functions in our global headquarters in Japan.
“It involves building existing models in Australian-market specification, establishing the necessary supply chain facilities, dealership franchising, a variety of branding and marketing requirements and more.”
And another obstacle has been the growing popularity of NISMO’s tastier vehicles in recent years. The two most likely candidates for our market, the 370Z NISMO and GT-R NISMO, have only been on the market since 2014.
“We have chosen to offer Australian buyers NISMO in its complete form; that is, a road vehicle range offered through our specialist franchised dealer network with complete aftersales support,” Fadeyev continued.
“This is up to and including the ability to buy and maintain a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 racing car, the same model that won last year’s Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race.
“We have not opted to simply offer selected performance parts - this is a complete market introduction and I can assure you it will be worth the wait.“