Nissan: business case for next Z coupe "difficult"

Z car fans won\'t like what Nissan has to say about the nameplate\'s future.

The Tokyo Auto Show's press days have come and gone, and the born-again Nissan Z coupe many claimed we would see wasn't on the show floor. That's because there is no such thing; Nissan has again hinted replacing the aging 370Z (pictured) is very low on its list of priorities.

"It's an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle. This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult," Philippe Klein, Nissan's chief planning officer, told Australian website Drive.

He pointed out Nissan is still present in the sports car segment. The Japanese brand will continue to build the GT-R in the foreseeable future, and it's going to significant lengths to expand the reach of its performance-oriented Nismo sub-brand. Even the second-generation Leaf has received the Nismo treatment, though the modifications are more chassis- than performance-related.

"We have no intention to quit excitement but we're going to make it happen in different ways," Klein summed up.

That could simply mean buyers seeking a Nissan sports car after production of the 370Z ends will need to step up to a GT-R or purchase a Nismo-tuned model. It could also signal the brand is about to build a Z-badged crossover, a contentious vehicle previewed in 2015 by the Gripz Concept. Either way, the future looks dim for the Zee as we know it.

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