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Report: Nissan abandons thoughts of 240SX revival, ponders Sentra coupe instead

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Report: Nissan abandons thoughts of 240SX revival, ponders Sentra coupe instead

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Sep 22nd 2010 at 2:28PM

As much as we'd love to see Nissan hearken back to its performance roots with a remake of the classic 240SX coupe, it seems the Japanese automaker is content to earn sales by sticking to the tried-and-true approach of offering competent vehicles at attainable prices. In other words, if Nissan has a sporty-looking coupe in the pipeline, it'll be more of a Scion tC competitor than a Hyundai Genesis Coupe-challenger.

This revelation comes by way of Larry Dominique, chief product planner for Nissan North America, who tells Wards "he would be more inclined to do a derivative of the Sentra than introduce an entirely new nameplate." Nissan's internal data suggests that it could only sell about 30,000 240SX coupes in America per year, which isn't enough to make a convincing production argument. Sad, sure, but very likely also true.

In related news, Dominique also says that the next generation of Nissan cars in the States will share a great deal of design DNA. At present, there is very little visually that ties the Versa, Sentra and Altima together in any meaningful cohesive way besides the Nissan badge on the trunk. Expect that to change in the coming years as the nameplates receive their next rounds of styling updates.



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By Mark Kleis

Like many performance cars being considered by mainstream automakers, there is often a long, drawn out process of on-again, off-again announcements, before the eventual downturn of the economy finally puts the project to rest. Sadly, for the 240SX Silvia, it appears as if a down economy and an estimated low volume have put the final nail in the coffin - again.

But with this bad news comes a silver lining - maybe - as the confirmation by Larry Dominique, chief product planner for Nissan North America to Ward's also mentioned that a he would be open to considering another variant of an existing nameplate, ie a Sentra Coupe.

Nissan already offers the Sentra in several trim levels, including the SE-R with 177 horsepower and the range-topping SE-R Spec V with 200 horsepower, albeit in sedan form only. Adding a coupe variant would allow for an economies of scale benefit, more impressive nameplate sales, and it should be far less expensive to transplant the SE-R Spec V upgrades onto a Sentra Coupe than to create an all-new model completely.

At this point, the only thing for sure is that a 240SX is not in the cards at Nissan, with the possibility of a coupe Sentra only slim at best for the near-term.



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Nissan Silvia (240SX) Revival Dead, Sentra Coupe Instead?

By Nelson Ireson


September 22nd, 2010

We aren't big fans of the current Sentra. It's not that it's a bad car, it's just not all that sporty, even in SE-R trim. The CVT transmission has a lot to do with it, though the Spec V remedies that. But Nissan appears to have done away with plans to revive the 240SX/Silvia as a Mazda MX-5 competitor and instead is looking at a Sentra-based coupe.

The loss may not be as big as it seems on face, however: the 240SX successor would likely have been front-wheel drive as well. The difference, then would be a matter of degree, and styling. Instad of the long-nosed, lean proportions of the last 240SX, we'll likely get something cuter and, ultimately, more appropriate for the target market. That target just isn't likely to be you.

Projected sales figures lie at the root of the shift. According to Ward's, Nissan's chief North American product planner, Larry Dominique, says the projected volume of 30,000 cars annually wasn't enough to justify a whole new platform. Basing a small coupe off the Sentra, on the other hand, would require a much smaller investment. That path makes more sense for a carmaker eying growth and market share increases.

That leaves the 370Z alone as the sole enthusiast model in the Nissan lineup (outside of Infiniti, of course). Fans of the smaller, leaner Silvia will just have to look elsewhere.

All hope isn't lost yet, however. The sharpest Sentra, the Spec V, sports a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a six-speed manual transmission. That's the basic price of entry into the sporty coupe realm, and if Nissan can make the Sentra coupe light enough, stiff enough, and give it a proper suspension setup, it may yet prove to be a fun little two-door. If you can get past the Sentra face.



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