Nissan working on Nismo Navara, X-Trail
A performance-focused Nismo Navara ute looks likely to join Nissan's GT-R in showrooms as the brand doubles its performance offering around the globe.
New Nismo chief Takao Katagiri revealed the plans for a dramatic expansion of the Nismo brand that would see produce vehicles relevant to local markets.
"We have a plan to expand our lineup, and also a plan to expand into [new] countries, both," Katagiri says.
"We want to make the Nismo brand as a kind of AMG for Daimler, or Renault Sport for Renault. We want to make Nismo a true performance brand for Nissan.
"We are now making a plan, with process and rules to realise that."
Katagiri says Nismo will double its performance lineup over the next five years, culminating in around a dozen performance-bred variants of popular Nissan models.
The brand will establish a tiered structure with varying levels of Nismo involvement – some cars will benefit from comprehensive performance upgrades, while others will feature a more cosmetic focus.
Acknowledging that Nismo needs to carefully select which cars it will focus on, Katagiri says "the expansion should reflect Nissan's strengths".
"An expansion of SUV and crossovers for the Nismo performance brand could be a very unique approach for Nissan, and we know that the customer requirement is there," he says.
"The crossover includes a pickup truck, the Navara of course.
"For Australia, and Thailand definitely – it's a very expensive car, the Navara double cab, it's almost a luxury SUV – having something sporty and premium with higher performance in a pick-up truck is definitely required.
"... Navara and SUVs such as the X-Trail and Qashqai are the key models without any doubt.
"Nismo needs to do something with those."
Such models have the potential to be successful in this part of the world, where top-end utes like Ford's Ranger Wildtrak and performance SUVs such as the Audi SQ5 have proved popular.
The Nismo chief says his intention to push Nismo into new areas represents more than wishful thinking.
"It is not a wish. We have a plan," Katagiri says.
"I am not in a position to disclose everything, but in terms of a direction this is something we are working on."