Nissan will tomorrow unveil this Nismo-tuned Juke concept car at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, and it signals the start of grand plans for the company’s motorsport arm. Nissan Motorsport (Nismo) will tune mainstream models, and this Juke show car shows how such a strategy could come to fruition.
So what is Nissan’s plan for Nismo?
Besides building and running various race cars, Nissan Motorsport has developed a number of its own cars over the years, but these have always been niche products and/or built in small numbers. Cars like the Z-tune R34 GT-R were limited to just 20 units, and the Nismo versions of the 350Z and 370Z have never been made available in Europe. But all that’s about to change as Nissan has announced a major expansion programme for its legendary performance arm, a strong brand that’s remained untapped for too long outside of Japan.
The plan is for Nismo to produce both complete performance versions of Nissan models (a Nismo 370Z already exists, and the Juke concept showcases how that thinking will be applied to more mainstream models) and to expand its performance parts and accessories range. To accomplish all this, it’s getting a new global HQ in Yokohama – it’ll be ready for the start of 2013 ‘Nismo adds even more excitement and innovation to Nissan products,’ said Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani. ‘We now plan to inject that style and excitement into other models in the Nissan range. As the Concept shows, Nismo brings new levels of individuality to mainstream Nissan cars like Juke. The future for Nismo is to develop premium sports designs for an ever-widening range of customers. Our forthcoming range of cars will be just as accessible and innovative as every Nissan product, but with added Nismo energy they will be even more fun to own and drive.’
What about the Nismo Juke itself?
There’s a Nismo bodykit, with widened wings, new front and rear bumpers, a different grille, sleeker wing mirrors and revised sills, and it’s all finished in the racing arm’s signature pearl white and red highlight colour scheme. There are 19in wheels as well, lowered and stiffened suspension (using components that should become part of Nismo’s expanded aftermarket accessories range), and a few choice upgrades to the direct injection 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Inside the standard front seats have been replaced with leather-trimmed buckets, there are revision to the steering wheel, pedals and gearstick, and the rev counter is now illuminated in red.
‘The global sales success of the Juke has proved beyond doubt that customers are looking for something different,’ said Nissan’s vice president Andy Palmer. ‘The Juke Nismo Concept takes that idea to the next level. It’s energetic, distinctive and highly desirable.’