The ongoing saga of the Nissan IDx is a sad one of dreams meeting reality. But now it might coming to its inevitable end, with a Nissan exec telling our friends over at The Truth About Cars that we might not be seeing a pretty, small, retro, inexpensive, rear-drive coupe anytime soon.
I’m not kidding about the saga of the IDx being a sad one, either. When we first saw it, we were instantly in love. And then Nissan confirmed that it would see production, we were in ecstasy. So much ecstasy, in fact, that we briefly had a vision of utopia, a place where automakers actually listened to our insane babblings. And then real life wormed its way in, and Nissan began to admit that they couldn’t *quite* figure out how to make the money work. Our hopes were still slightly alive, however, just barely gasping for air, when Nissan said it was stepping back from the brink of making us all happy little children.
But now, it sounds like it’s really dead.
Mark Stevenson at TTAC was talking to Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America while at the Nissan Maxima media preview (Full Disclosure: I was supposed to be there as well, but my flight was first delayed two hours, then cancelled, and the next scheduled flight to Nashville was at 8 PM the next day, meaning I would have missed the entire trip anyways in a best-case scenario, so I ended up just wasting a whole day at LaGuardia Airport and not driving the Maxima anyways, and that is how your automotive journalism sausage is made) when Loing decided to keep it real, saying that there’s just no way Nissan could make any money after developing a whole new small rear-wheel drive platform for a car that they couldn’t guarantee would sell in any big numbers.
And while Nissan already does have a small, rear-wheel drive platform in the form of the Nissan 370Z, it’s been designed around the big Nissan V6, making it unsuitable for a smaller engine:
Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment,” said Loing.
Stevenson then asked Loing if it was at all possible if we’d see some variant of the IDx. Maybe, if we couldn’t get a little rear-wheel-drive coupe, what about one with power going through the front wheels that looks just like an updated old-school Datsun, and thus just like the concept?
But Loing shot that down, too:
“It wouldn’t be the same design because, of course, the proportions are based on a rear-wheel drive platform,” Loing explained.
That’s not to say everything coming out of Nissan last week was all doom-and-gloom. Loing went on to say that they could come up with some sort of retro design if it was front-wheel-drive, although it wouldn’t look the same as the beloved IDx. And furthermore, the Renault-Nissan alliance, of which Nissan is half, has a bunch of small, sporty FWD cars in its stable like Megane Renaultsport, Loing told TTAC.
So for now, the rear-wheel retro IDx is dead. Long live the front-wheel drive IDx, if it ever ends up becoming real.
Which it hasn’t, yet. Fingers crossed.