Nissan is contemplating a foray into the small sports car market, a realm currently dominated by the likes of the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Toyota GR86. However, the Japanese automaker is considering a unique twist by potentially introducing an affordable electric sports car, as reported by Top Gear. Ivan Espinosa, the Senior Vice President for Nissan’s global product strategy and product planning division, shared insights on this intriguing prospect.
Espinosa outlined Nissan’s vision of re-establishing a three-tiered performance car lineup, reminiscent of their successful offerings from the ’80s and ’90s. This trio included the iconic GT-R, the Nissan Z, and an entry-level sports car, which could be likened to a hot hatch or a compact sports car. While the revival of a modern Pulsar GTi-R would be exciting, Nissan is leaning more towards the concept of a smaller, more affordable electric sports car.
The notion of an electric coupe might not sit well with traditional car enthusiasts, but Espinosa argues that such a move could attract a younger demographic to the Nissan brand. He referenced past Nissan concepts like the IDx and IDx Nismo, which hinted at the company’s interest in compact sports coupes, but they never progressed beyond the concept stage. Therefore, a compact and affordable electric sports car with stylish design and respectable performance could be a game-changer for Nissan, especially as the company transitions into the electric vehicle era.
Espinosa expressed concern over the declining passion for cars among young consumers worldwide, citing factors like affordability, robust public transport options, and environmental concerns. In response, he believes that an affordable electric sports car could reignite the passion for driving among younger customers, offering a fresh perspective on car ownership.
The vision for Nissan’s new sports car goes beyond just being electric; it also aims to incorporate engaging driving experiences and advanced connectivity features to appeal to younger buyers. These connectivity features extend beyond common offerings like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Instead, the focus is on creating a digital space that allows drivers to connect with friends and a broader Nissan sports car community.
Espinosa’s dream for Nissan’s sports car lineup involves three key elements: a top-tier GT-R with a Nismo variant, a Nissan Z with a Nismo variant, and an entry-level sports car also sporting a Nismo variant. This vision represents an ideal sports car offering that combines performance and affordability.
Ultimately, Nissan’s commitment to rekindling the spirit of fun and exciting cars for the masses is a promising sign for automotive enthusiasts. Whether it’s a modern incarnation of the Nissan SX series or an electric performance vehicle under a new name, the prospect of a budget-friendly, thrilling sports car from Nissan is indeed exciting for car enthusiasts and potential customers alike.