Nissan Wants to Make Driving Fun Again
Nissan, and other Japanese brands are zigging when others are zagging. This may be the last run of fun petrol cars and they are right to take advantage.
As petrol cars are starting to diminish and electric vehicles are becoming ubiquitous, Nissan is choosing a different marketing strategy. Their product choice of a new Z still being 3 pedals has planted them as a car brand still for the driver, something they are not shy about advertising. This all comes at a time when automakers are actually placing less responsibility in the driver's hands. Cars now have autonomous driving modes and more driver aids than ever.
This is a bolder move than it initially seems. Nissan is choosing to find those that still enjoy their daily drive as an activity as opposed to merely tolerating it as a form of transportation. The increase of autonomous cars show that driving is not the ultimate goal of quality vehicles, transport is. If busy individuals need to get from point A to B to C most would rather do so as easily as possible, in most cases using time for other productive purposes. This puts Nissan in a potential miopic area. Will the consumers respond saying they still enjoy driving or will that fizzle out into obscurity? Is there still a market for driving for the sake of driving.
The good thing is that Nissan doesnt have to choose, they can do both. There is no where that says a car company must make a sports car with archaic technology OR vehicles with heavy driver aides. They are able to make both if they have the resources.
The risk involved, however, is how much? Will the mass production of the new Z be worth it? Will they be in demand or will they go the same way as equine activites, something fun but only found in niche areas in the countryside. Will your cousin Beau's horse stable transform into an outdated garage next to a homemade race track put together with hay and "acquired" traffic barrels? Probably not, but it could be an eventuality.
Regardless of the outcome it is nice to see. Nissan used to have a sports car for every teir and should recognized for rekindling similar efforts to make cars fun. We still have another few years of petrol to enjoy and we might as well have proper cars to do so. The new Z will have the same twin turbo 3.0 V6 from the Infiniti Q60, predictabling turning out more than 400hp. With the dual forced induction being a nice nostalgiac omage to the ancestral 300zx of Nissan's past.
The hope is that Nissan will not be the only ones. Similar East Asian manufacturers are storied to be making a similar dive into the enthusiast market. This includes Toyota with its grmn Yaris (the supra doesnt count as it is a bmw), Hyundai with its hot hatch Velosi-sister, and Subaru which will soon be debuting another disappointing looking Wrx, though it will still sell very well.
That is not to say they we won't see similar versions of these once electric cars take over, but it is worth noting that the market for driving enthusiasm still exists—its just a matter of to what capacity.