Nissan goes cold on Toyota GT 86 rival

Nissan plans to keep sports car range to two models citing high cost of new platform as reason for death of small sports car

Nissan iDx coupe design rethink

Nissan has gone cold on the idea of introducing a small Toyota GT 86 rival to its range for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to Auto Express at the New York Motor Show, executives said the GT-R supercar and Z sports car will always remain in the range due to customer loyalty, but plans to add a smaller third sports car to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GT 86 have been shelved for now.

Nissan created a real buzz at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show with its IDx concept cars. The IDx Freeflow followed a retro design that harked back to the Datsun 510 of the 1970s, while the IDx Nismo was the tuned version. They were four-seat, rear-wheel drive two-door coupes powered by small turbocharged engines. But despite a great reception to the retro concepts, Nissan has only ever hinted at producing them. However, now it seems the plan to build a small sports car – not just the retro IDx cars – in general is on the back burner.

Best sports cars to buy right now

Nissan’s senior vice president, and chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura told Auto Express the idea of a small sports car to join Z and GT-R have been put off due to the vast costs associated with building a new platform for the project.

“You need a proper platform because it has to be light and small and also affordable,” he said. “In reality that is not easy to find. It also has to be rear-wheel drive – if we make it front-wheel drive it would be cheating. It is expensive and we are struggling.” 

Nissan IDx concept 2013 Tokyo Motor Show front

Nakamura pointed to the current climate of building cars and making the sums add up is all down to having the right platforms. “We have to renew the platform strategy across the company,” he said. “If we can find a good solution to produce something more affordable and light, we can bring it back. Today’s industry is all about platform strategy – in the past it never used to be like that.”

Nakamura dismissed the idea of using the forthcoming Renault Alpine platform, even though in theory it would be possible to use thanks to Renault-Nissan Alliance. “We are not a mid-engined car company – we don’t have the same heritage as Alpine.”

While Nissan sports car fans may bemoan Nakamura’s remarks, they can take comfort in the fact that the GT-R supercar and the Nissan Z sports car will remain in the range “for ever”.

Keno Kato, Nissan’s corporate vice president for product strategy, told Auto Express that while the Japanese giant is focused on leading the way in electric vehicles, Nissan needs halo sports cars like the GT-R and 370Z in the range.

He likened Nissan to Porsche and Chevrolet in still building the 911 and Corvette despite both firms selling more profitable SUVs in greater numbers than their sports cars. However, Nissan’s sports cars need to move with the times and while a hybrid powertrain still hasn’t been confirmed for the next GT-R, it does seem increasingly likely Nissan will use some of its EV know-how for its halo car.   

Are you disappointed that Nissan won't be building a Toyota GT 86 rival? Let us know below...

Recommended

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020
Renault

Renault and Nissan suffer heavy losses in 2020

Renault posted a loss of almost £6.6 billion for the first half of 2020 – and Nissan’s finances took a £1.12 billion hit
30 Jul 2020
New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV
Nissan

New Nissan logo revealed alongside Ariya electric SUV

Just like Volkswagen, Nissan has revealed a new logo to kickstart its EV revolution
15 Jul 2020
New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Nissan Ariya

New Nissan Ariya electric SUV unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

The Nissan Ariya, a rival for the Tesla Model Y, has arrived with a maximum range of 310 miles and pricing from around £37,500
15 Jul 2020
Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal
Nissan Ariya concept
Nissan

Nissan Sunderland: Factory's future dependent on Brexit deal

Nissan's vast Sunderland plant survived global cost-cutting measures from Japanese maker, but its future is still in the balance
3 Jun 2020

Most Popular

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market
News

New Suzuki Swace estate launched on UK market

Based on the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, the Suzuki Swace estate comes to the UK
11 Nov 2020
All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch
Renault Kangoo ZE Concept - show pic
Renault Kangoo

All-new Renault Kangoo van unveiled ahead of 2021 launch

First images of the third-generation Renault Kangoo panel van - which will soon square-up to the new Volkswagen Caddy
12 Nov 2020
How to transfer a number plate from one car to another
MINI number plate change
Tips & advice

How to transfer a number plate from one car to another

Need to know how to transfer a number plate between vehicles? Our step-by-step guide breaks it down
22 Nov 2020