Congratulations, Playstation generation, Nissan has listened to you and is expanding NISMO beyond what it’s ever been.
What is NISMO? In short, Nissan Motorsports, its racing division that’s like Toyota’s TRD and Ford’s SVT. But it has never had a real presence in the U.S. That is, until now.
Today, Nissan has announced that it is expanding NISMO, redeveloping the high-performance brand’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, and bringing power to the people.
“NISMO will democratize performance and bring new excitement to the Nissan portfolio with a broader range of affordable and innovative performance models for more markets and more people,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan. “Whether it’s a small car or a sports car, if it’s wearing the NISMO badge it offers something special–quality, functionality, and efficiency, with NISMO’s distinctive styling, sporty handling, and dynamic performance capabilities.”
Takeaway: Get ready for a whole lot of speed.
First up will be the 2014 Nissan Juke NISMO that will complement the 370Z NISMO sports car that is already sold here. Along with a sports suspension and other under-the-sheetmetal upgrades, the Juke is getting a bump from 188 horsepower to 197 horsepower from its turbocharged four-cylinder, stepping ever-closer to taking on the John Cooper Works Mini Countryman. It also has a body kit that provides a boat-load more downforce than the standard Juke’s digs.
But that’s not all. During the Nissan Power 88 era, which will run for through 2016, Nissan will be debuting at least one new high-performance product every year. Already announced is the Nissan GT-R NISMO, which we assume will slot above the already crazy GT-R Track Edition that’s debuting for 2014. Nissan has always had a high-performance version of the Nissan Sentra, called the SE-R, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s resurrected as a NISMO model. And then there are cars sold overseas like the Renault Megane RS that have gotten heaps of praise and never come stateside. They could as a Nissan product under the pretenses of being a specialty sport model.
Nissan looks to be serious about its NISMO aspirations, as it’s moving the operation closer to its headquarters in a brand new facility that will bring production-car development and race car engineering under one roof. Nissan is looking at aligning their operations to complement one another, intending to “surprise people by exploring advanced forms of motorsports,” says NISMO’s president Shoichi Miyatani, in a statement. NISMO already did when it raced the experimental Deltawing for two years. Mazda and Panoz are undertaking the project now.
NISMO was formally established in 1984 after years of skunkwerks teams building performance cars within Nissan, including the first Skyline GT-R coupes. It didn’t gain much international notoriety until the Gran Turismo video game series launched in 1998. We’re excited about this announcement because Nissan has explicitly stated that it’s in the sports car game for the long run and will bring out new fun cars for the masses. The bar has been set high in the U.S. with the likes of the Subaru WRX and Ford Focus ST. Let’s see what Nissan can do now with NISMO to meet the challege.