Nissan remains committed to growing the profile and footprint of its Nismo performance sub-brand outside Japan, and that means expanding the range of bodystyles Nismo works on. Japan has been Nismo’s focus, but global Nismo CEO Takao Katagiri told Automotive News, “In overseas markets, the U.S. and Europe included, the so-called globalization of Nismo is something we are going to do from now on.” At the moment, that means a “lots of discussions” between the mothership and the racing folks at Nissan Motorsport International Limited, said discussions apparently encompassing Nismo-fied crossovers and pickups.
Neither a crossover nor a pickup featuring Nismo’s trademark red strip would be new. The first U.S.-market Nissan to wear the red flair was the second-gen Frontier, given a Nismo trim package that bolted on items like skid plates, Bilstein shocks, one or two limited-slip differentials depending on the drivetrain, an electronic rear locking diff, and unique 16-inch alloys on 265/75 BFG Rugged Trail tires. Since then, we’ve also seen the Juke Nismo subcompact crossover, as well as a Sentra Nismo sedan.
The only model left in the tricked-out section of the Nissan store is the GT-R, the 370Z Nismo sold out in preparation for the new model. However, the Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk YouTube channel supposedly got hold of a dealer presentation slide showing a Nismo version of the brand new Frontier pickup. And last year, Nismo rolled out a new range of performance-enhancing off-road parts for the Frontier, Titan, and discontinued Xterra SUV.
It must be said, though, that Katagiri’s latest comments to AutoNews are practically copied from his comments to the same outlet four years ago. In 2017, the CEO told AN, “We see potential in the expansion of categories,” and that Nismo wanted to double the number of models it worked on in order to reach a six-fold sales increase by 2022. The effort would also be advanced in the U.S. with a network of Nismo-focused performance dealerships, a two-tiered Nismo range pairing flagship tunes with less potent versions (think AMG and AMG Line), and Nismo driving academies.
None of that has happened, clearly, and the latest AN piece said Nismo won’t quote targets anymore. But know that Nismo wants to bring more of its goodies here, and we expect they’ll find a way to do so with the new Frontier and the coming 400Z. Until then, we’ll have to watch from afar as always, as the in-house tuners reel out new products like the Patrol Nismo in the Middle East and the Note Aura Nismo in Japan.