Andy Palmer Q+A

Andy Palmer
30 Nov, 2011 9:32am Sam Hardy

We get the low-down on Nissan's Nismo performance arm and its electric future

What is the thinking behind Nismo?

To give you some background, we have gone through a period of product transformation. The design and positioning of Nissan models is now much different. Our Power 88 plan means many things, but one of the most important is brand power. We needed to improve the clarity of what Nissan stands for globally - and we needed to elevate our capacity for story telling.

We have already established where we are in terms of innovation – and Leaf is the pinnacle of our innovation right now. Likewise, the GT-R is the pinnacle of excitement. Nismo is about excitement. We asked ourselves, how do we express in a simple way the excitement to the customer? The answer is Nismo.

So, rather than have a GT trim or such like, the top of our production lines will have Nismo models.

Will all Nissan models have Nismo versions?

Not all. They have to have their roots in sportiness. What we won't do is go into a horsepower race. Nismo will be more about handling and looks. And that will go all the way up to the GT-R - it's certainly possible. After all, the Nismo brand is built around the GT-R.

What level of performance criteria do you have?

As I said, it's not a horsepower race, but each Nismo model will have around 10 percent more power than the standard car. It will also have better handling. And this will not come at the expense of comfort - I want the cars to have the ability to drive down a bumpy twisty British B-road. There is a ride like this near our Cranfield test centre – and the Cranfield team are very much involved in the Nismo project.

You've shown us the Juke Nismo concept - what's next?

I have a short list of cars I'd like to have the Nismo treatment and of course the 370Z is on that list. But so is the Leaf. The Leaf Nismo will have 10 percent improvement in power but also a weight reduction too.

What does the ES-FLOW concept mean for Nissan sports cars?

The ESFLOW points to our new direction for sports cars. It is rear-drive and has twin electric motors - there will definitely be an upcoming electric sports car.

What's next in terms of electric cars?

A van, then an Infiniti [thought to be a small BMW 1 Series-sized hatchback] and then a city car. I think we've transformed the industry with the LEAF. The next step is to modify the architecture and take advantage of the packaging benefits that EVs bring. You will see us produce small volume, very exciting electric cars. Look at Pivo3 [Nissan's city car concept] and its in-wheel motors.

Will you go back into the large family car sector?

We're not following anybody and we're satisfied with the cars we are launching.


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