Nissan is in the midst of an ambitious plan to rebuild the brand, boost profits, plus establish a new generation of products, and key to its turnaround is a successor to the firm’s 370Z sports car. Expected to be revealed towards the end of 2022 and go on sale the following year, the new Z car’s launch will mark 15 years since the current 370Z was introduced, back in 2008.
The Japanese firm’s short-term plan, which goes up to 2023, will see the company focus its efforts on expanding its crossover model range, launch more than eight new electric vehicles and reinvigorate its sports car line-up. At the same time Nissan will reduce its overall product portfolio by 20 per cent, by discontinuing older models or vehicles that are specific to a single region.
The 370Z replacement, rumoured to be called 400Z, will be sold across Nissan’s major markets in North America and China, as well as Europe, in order to maximise profitability. Sports cars make up one per cent of Europe’s total new car sales.
Confirmation of the new Z car came earlier this year, along with a hazy teaser image of the two-door coupé. Although design details are hard to pick out, the image did reveal that the sports car will keep the sleek, cab-rearward silhouette that first appeared on the 240Z back in the sixties. Spy shots have revealed that Nissan is already under way with development on the newcomer, using the current 370Z as a test mule. Our exclusive images give you an idea of how the finished car could look.
Talking about the styling of the upcoming sports car, Nissan’s senior vice-president for design, Alfonso Albaisa, told us: “The Z is the car that democratised sports cars back in the sixties. The current car has been a long time in the dealerships, and so you could imagine the designers working on it.
“We could never leave this alone, it’s in our soul. You can feel this in other Nissan designs, like the new Ariya; it’s not just about fuel efficiency, it wants to be driven, for the love of driving.”
To ensure the Toyota Supra rival will be profitable for Nissan – something that’s famously difficult to achieve in the sports car class due to the small sales volumes – the firm will look to leverage its position within the Renault Nissan Alliance. Rather than develop a new platform for the sports car, Nissan is likely to use an evolution of the architecture that underpins a range of models, including the Infiniti Q60 coupé.
The platform is designed for front-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicles and is already compatible with a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged engine that is capable of producing in excess of 400bhp. Such a configuration will allow Nissan to develop the next Z model quickly, because components are readily available, while the performance figures would make the newcomer competitive in its class.
There’s also the possibility of the Nismo division developing a more powerful and more focused model further down the line.
Despite Nissan concentrating on electric and e-Power hybrid systems, Auto Express understands that the 370Z replacement will feature no electrification, and rely solely on an internal combustion engine for power. To that end, official documents released by Nissan show that an ICE vehicle will be launched towards the end of the company’s 2023 plan.
Beyond its short-term plan, Nissan will shift its focus away from Europe and try to expand the firm’s presence in China and North America. While it still intends to build and sell vehicles in Europe in the future, the firm will rely more heavily on the Alliance, chiefly Renault, by producing Nissan-badged versions of its sister company’s vehicles.
Renault and Nissan suffered heavy losses in 2020, check out the full story here…