Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, in response to a question from Roadshow, claimed that sports cars are still important despite sinking sales because “they are a testimony of technology and of the brand.” It’s a nice sentiment, but it rings hollow considering Nissan’s current lineup of outdated sports cars and terminated concept cars.
Here’s the quote from Roadshow’s article:
While [Ghosn] doesn’t forecast robust sales ahead, he took pains to highlight the importance of such models “because they are flagships. They are a testimony of technology and of the brand.”
Part of that is due to the fact that “premium cars and sports cars probably represent 90 percent of the media coverage, even though they represent 10 percent of the sales of the industry,” said Ghosn.
Ghosn was also quoted saying, “we’re going to continue to develop sports cars because it’s so important for the storytelling.”
The brand’s other sports car, the 370Z, is also now seven years old. That’s not an unusual life-cycle for a car, but considering Nissan recently reportedly killed the extremely popular retro, inexpensive, rear-drive IDx concept car last year, there doesn’t seem to be a replacement for the Z coming anytime soon.
Is the GT-R really enough to fill that “90 percent” of publicity Ghosn claims is crucial to Nissan’s brand image? It’s an icon, for sure. Many fan-favorite earlier generations are just beginning to pass the 25 year import ban here in the U.S., and the current generation’s low price at launch quickly made it a prominent “supercar” in the growing YouTube enthusiast culture. But the GT-R’s price has now moved a mind-numbing $100,000 higher than what it started at back in 2007.
One has to wonder what, exactly, Nissan is thinking shelving an extremely popular inexpensive potential Z-replacement at the end of the current generations life-cycle, and what it’s planning to do with the increasingly-inflated GT-R.
Can Ghosn’s claimed “90 percent” of media coverage really float the brand based on one increasingly out-of-reach supercar? Perhaps it was the mellow reaction to the Toyota-Subaru sports car twins that killed the next Z car. Perhaps it’s just easier (and cheaper) for Nissan to push the GT-R to a higher pedestal and hope it carries the rest of the brand with it.
Whatever it is, it’s just disappointing.