09-21-2012, 06:40 AM
Drives: fat cars are still boats
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: compensating a fat car with horsepower is like giving an alcoholic cocaine to sober him up.
No Nissan Toyobaru rival
Nissan’s ‘Mini Z’ axed 18 months ago in favour of Juke, planning boss confirms
Nissan’s global product planning boss has killed off rumours the company is building a ‘Mini Z’ rival for the wildly successful Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ coupes.
Andy Palmer, Nissan Motor Company Executive Vice-President in charge of global product planning, told motoring.com.au the company had backed the goggle-eyed Juke mini crossover as the best way to communicate with a younger audience, rather than a traditional coupe in the same spirit as the defunct 200SX.
“We have a sportscar, we have the Z, but we don’t have a small Z coming to market,” he said.
Mr Palmer, in Australia last week for the local launch of Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti, also confirmed he was pushing local management to start selling the Juke in Australia.
“It’s more a question of time than anything else,” Mr Palmer said. “It frustrates me that you don’t have it.”
He said the ‘Mini Z’ project – which would have produced a rear-wheel drive coupe – was canned around 18 months ago.
“We went away from 86 and went down the road of Juke as a conscious decision. Gen Y and definitely Gen Z are less interested in that kind of execution of sportscars. We think Juke Nismo – which we introduced at Le Mans – is a much more profound way of going to market.”
Based on the same Nissan B platform as the Micra, the Juke is a 4.1-metre front/all-wheel drive five-door city-wagon offering both petrol and diesel power.
The Juke Nismo, which goes on-sale in early 2013, includes styling updates, suspension tuning and uprated performance from its 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine.
Mr Palmer said the sale of 350,000 Jukes per annum suggested Nissan had made the right call as it prioritised chasing the youth market.
“We think the Juke Nismo is a much more relevant execution,” he said.
Mr Palmer’s push for Juke to come to Australia included a meeting with Nissan Australia Managing Director Bill Peffer at Brisbane airport last Friday night. Mr Peffer is also a fan of the Juke and keen to bring it into Australia. As we’ve reported, after being on-and-off for Australia, the edgy Juke crossover is expected to be announced for local release at the Sydney Motor Show in October.