A sporty rear wheel drive coupe to take the place of the current Nissan 370Z seems unlikely.
Despite two generations of Z-car since the 350Z was released overseas in 2002, and a history that stretches back to 1969’s original 240Z, the head of Nissan’s planning department was non-committal about the car’s future.
The continuing decline of sports car sales, Nissan’s growth efforts placed behind Nismo-branded performance versions of mainstream models, and the continuing investment in electric vehicles, could spell the end of the Z-car.
“It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle,” Klein said.
“This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult.”
“We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side.”
“We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”
Although the Z-range may not continue in its current form Nissan has explored the possibility of evolving beyond the 370Z’s traditional low-slung sportscar format, presenting the performance-SUV Gripz concept in 2015: a high-rider with several classic Z-car styling cues.
While the Zed as we know it may be on borrowed time, Nissan’s prestige arm, Infiniti will continue to use a development of the front-engine, rear-wheel drive platform that currently underpins the 370Z.
Sharing the development costs of any potential 370Z replacement with as many Infiniti models as possible would improve the business case, but at this stage a new-generation Z-car is anything but a sure-thing.
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