Nissan is planning a dramatic expansion of its retailer high performance centres from 11 to as many as 25 as part of a strategy by managing director Paul Willcox to harness the brand’s sports car heritage.
UK customers have ordered 1,300 £54,800 Skyline GT-Rs, half the annual European allocation, and Willcox admitted that the company has failed to exploit the appeal of its stablemate, the “lost gem” 350Z.
He also hinted that Nissan could be planning a Mazda MX-5 sized sports car and said: “We must connect the GT-R to the rest of the brand, something which Honda failed to do with its NSX.
“The 350Z is our lost gem and we need to spend more on that car to make it better known when the 370Z arrives next April.”
Willcox admitted: “It would also make sense to include other sports cars in the portfolio, and for us to have an MX-5 type of sports car is logical.
High performance centre expansion
Having between 20 and 25 high performance centres will also help relaunch 350Z although every dealer will still be able to sell it. It is about attitude and dedication rather than added costs, which the 11 GT-R HPCs demonstrate.”
The former head of Nissan’s European marketing operation said he was optimistic about getting additional supplies for the Skyline GT-R, whose deliveries begin next March.
Meanwhile, Willcox said Nissan did not “make enough in our communication” of its Sunderland plant which, despite being Britain’s largest car exporter and producer, was almost concealed by “radio silence”. The factory manufacturers the Micra, Note and Qashqai.