“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," said Philippe Klein, Nissan's chief planning officer when asked about a successor to the 370Z back in October.
“We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side. We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”
This sparked speculation that either the 370Z would be going the way of the dodo bird or go a completely different route. It seems death isn't on the table for the Z car.
"The Z is a difficult market. It is rather shrinking worldwide. But we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that's what we're working on," said Klein to Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.
"That's for the midterm. For the long term, there are other considerations. If we do a complete new vehicle, what should it be to keep the passion alive? And we're working very seriously on this — how we can keep the Z alive and refreshing and what would be the next generation?"
Those are very good questions to be asking considering how many people are taken with the likes of SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. Not helping are government regulations on safety and fuel economy that has required automakers to add more equipment, which in turn causes vehicle weight to increase. Not a good thing for a model that is marketed as a lightweight and affordable sports car.
"The passion is there," said Klein. "The question is how can we refresh it and what will be the breakthrough for the long term?"
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)