The head of Nissan Australia says the Japanese automaker’s local arm is interested in bringing the Nismo performance brand here… but not just yet.
Reacting to comments from Nismo President Shoichi Miyatani that the Nismo brand would be launched Down Under in 2014, Nissan Australia Managing Director and CEO Peter Jones said that wasn’t the case.
But, despite its own keen interest in the Nismo brand's potential, Nissan Australia has yet to commit to a launch schedule.
“Our comments got gazumped a bit by the president of Nismo saying he wants to see the cars here in 2014,” Mr Jones told TMR at the launch of the Nissan Altima.
“My view has always been that there’s a place for Nismo in our lineup, and it’s something that we need to study."
“At the moment we’re launching road cars like Juke, Pathfinder and Altima, and Nismo will come later.”
As for exactly when, Jones said that had yet to be locked in.
Interest in the brand is strong, however, and while Nissan has no current plans to sell Nismo products in Australia, the announcement last week of the hard-core GT-R Nismo saw a handful of Aussie customers contacting their dealers..
“The Nismo GT-R has created a level of interest that surprised me,” Jones said. “I had a dealer call me and say that he had five orders for Nismo GT-Rs."
“But at this point in time, we don’t plan to bring that car here.”
Nissan Australia’s intent for Nismo is to launch it as an all-encompassing sub-brand that includes dealer-fit accessories, performance parts and whole models.
It will be a stark contrast to Toyota’s aborted attempt to establish the TRD performance brand in Australia in 2007.
But unlike Toyota, Nissan Australia will have a wide range of product to choose from by the time Nismo’s local launch happens.
The GT-R Nismo will become the flagship of the Nismo lineup next year, and a Nismo-tweaked Pulsar has already been revealed as a 180kW concept too.
According to Jones, the potential for the Nismo brand in Australia is considerable.
“I think that we need to look at Nismo as a whole, and what it can offer us and what it can do for the [Nissan] brand,” Jones said.
“It will change our brand dramatically. People see Nismo as a true performance option.
“In the same way that Juke changed our brand in terms of the people that we appeal to, Nismo will do the same thing.”