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Nissan too busy for Nismo in Oz

Tuning out: Hotted-up products like the Juke Nismo look unlikely to arrive in Australia any time soon.

Nismo introduction would risk dilution in busy Nissan launch schedule: Peffer

30 Jan 2013

INTRODUCING performance brand Nismo to Australia in the midst of a comprehensive range renewal would risk reduced recognition for the new metal as it arrives in showrooms, according to Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Bill Peffer.

The result is that Australians may have to wait until 2015 or beyond to get their hands on official Nismo products.

Mr Peffer told GoAuto the introduction of hotter Nismo-tuned versions of the 370Z coupe and Juke crossover – both of which were revealed in Tokyo last week – was “being thought about”, but that the company was wary of complicating the range.

“I know we are looking to grow the Nismo brand globally (but) how that interacts in the Australian market is yet to be seen,” said Mr Peffer.

“We are absolutely interested in looking at it but have no confirmation of what products and what time-frame.”

He explained that a simplified model mix with higher throughput of each variant was better for the 200-strong dealership network, in which each site sold on average 350 cars in 2011, or around half the per-outlet throughput of some competitors.

 center imageLeft: Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Bill Peffer.

“Fighting against that is the desire to spice the line-up with all these niche variants,” said Mr Peffer.

“I think we have products in our line-up that act as our product or brand halo, things like GT-R and Leaf and I am wary, on our core models, to add too many variants.”

Nissan Australia’s planned product onslaught will launch a new vehicle or variant onto the market at the average rate of one every 10 weeks for the next 30 months, starting this week with the re-born Pulsar sedan.

“The biggest challenge we’re going to have is giving each of these new products its own runway before the next one comes out,” said Mr Peffer.

“My biggest fear is that we don’t get enough runway, people won’t know we have changed our whole showroom.”

While that is going on, Nissan is nurturing its fledgling V8 Supercar race programme, represented by its upcoming Altima mid-size sedan that will go head-to-head with Holden Commodores, Ford Falcons and, also new for this season, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The race car is full of Nismo-developed parts and the enthusiast following likely to come from Nissan’s participation in Australian racing could provide opportunities for hot niche models and factory-backed aftermarket upgrades.

Mr Peffer described aftermarket upgrades in lieu of full-blown Nismo model variants as “maybe something we could look at”, but said a standalone performance parts catalogue was unlikely to get the same recognition if it was not backed up by full-blown Nismo cars on the showroom floor.

“It's way to early to talk about performance derivatives out of (V8 Supercars),” he said.

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