One of the dedicated and observant fans of Nissan’s upcoming new Z car over at the New Nissan Z forum noticed that the company took out an interesting trademark very recently, on July 11 of this year: the name Fairlady Z. This is interesting because while Nissan’s famous sports car has been known by that name in Japan since the Datsun days, it’s never been called something so quaint in America. But even this trademark isn’t necessarily a sign that it will be known as a Fairlady here. Still, interesting!
The trademark registration suggests that the mark would be used for
“tie tacks, cuff links, lapel pins, watches, wall clocks, key rings of precious metal, ornamental badges of precious metal”
...a list that’s pretty heavy on jewelry and pretty light on actual automobiles.
Based on this, I think what we’re likely to see is a bunch of, um, “lifestyle brand” crap that will be targeted to Nissan Z-car buyers who like the JDM-style of the Fairlady name or perhaps are less insecure than most American sports car buyers, who I imagine Nissan’s market research has shown are unlikely to want to buy a sports car named for a 1950s musical based on a George Bernard Shaw play.
That’s actually where the Fairlady name comes from, by the way; the head of Nissan, Katsuji Kawamata saw the musical My Fair Lady in the 1950s, on a trip to America. The show so moved him that he decided that Datsun’s next sports car, the 1961 Datsun Sports SPL213, would be known as the Fairlady, leveraging the musical’s popularity.
The name was then applied to the Datsun 240Z when it came out in 1969, but the name was only really used in Japan, not America, which is sort of ironic, as it was a trip to America and a very American thing—a Broadway musical—that gave the car its name in the first place.
Even though the Fairlady name was never intended for America, the badging was always in English, because that’s how the Japanese do things.
So, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much about the new Nissan Z car coming here with the Fairlady Z name. Chances are it’ll be the 400Z here, but I bet buyers will have a lot of options to rebadge their cars with this charming and unexpected (at least in America) name.