nissan-idx-concept

The retro Nissan IDx Freeflow and its Nismo sister from Tokyo 2013 have to be among the coolest concept cars in recent times, with strong inspiration from the classic Datsun 510. Compact, turbocharged and rear-wheel drive, the pair got enthusiasts dreaming of a Nissan alternative to the Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5.

That will not happen. Top Nissan execs told Auto Express at NYIAS 2016 that while the firm’s GT-R supercar and Z sports car will always remain in the range due to customer loyalty, plans to add a smaller sports car to the family have been shelved for now.

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s senior VP and chief creative officer, said that the biggest stumbling block is the costs associated with building a new platform for the project. “You need a proper platform because it has to be light and small and also affordable. In reality that is not easy to find. It also has to be rear-wheel drive – if we make it front-wheel drive it would be cheating. It is expensive and we are struggling,” he said.

Famous Nissan sports car nameplates like GT-R and Z will remain as they’re needed as halo cars

“We have to renew the platform strategy across the company. If we can find a good solution to produce something more affordable and light, we can bring it back. Today’s industry is all about platform strategy – in the past it never used to be like that,” he added.

Pointed to the platform of the upcoming Renault Alpine sports car, Nakamura dismissed the idea. “We are not a mid-engined car company – we don’t have the same heritage as Alpine,” he said.

It’s not all bad news however, as the famous “GT-R” and “Z” nameplates will carry on “forever”. Nissan corporate VP for product strategy Keno Kato told AE that while the company is focused on leading the way in electric vehicles, it needs halo sports cars like the GT-R (facelifted car debut at NYIAS) and 370Z in the range – just like how Porsche and Chevrolet continue to make the 911 and Corvette despite both brands selling profitable SUVs in bigger numbers.