Nissan to launch Nismo performance sub-brand
28 November 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Nissan is set to cash-in on its motorsports heritage by launching a series of sub-brands under the Nismo banner.
Nismo is Nissan's motorsports and performance division, famed among enthusiasts for its racing cars and prominence in the Gran Turismo computer game franchise.
Now the company is planning to fan the name out across its range with a suite of flagship models to boost its status.
The firm unveiled the first such model, the Juke Nismo, at the Paris motor show earlier this year, but UK boss Jim Wright said there would be more to come.
Speaking to BusinessCar, he said: "[The Juke Nismo] will be the first of others to come. It's probably what this brand has lacked for a while. Nismo's an ironic kind of story because car geeks know about it, but the general public don't."
Wright continued: "We've never really utilised this in the past. It's about what Nismo will say about the brand generally and maybe it's a bit of a coming of age in terms of position in the marketplace.
"Now I think we've got the product line-up that can support a sub-brand."
He said there would also be an even higher-performance version of Nismo-branded models coming to market in 2013: "Also, in a year from now, there will be an even higher Juke in the line-up.
"Because not only are we bringing Nismo, we are bringing something called Nismo RS. If you think about [Ford Focus] ST and RS, you're about there. So, more power, more performance."
Wright stressed that the addition of a performance sub-brand was not only about appealing to enthusiasts but that it also had value in terms of building the brand.
He claimed that the Nismo moniker was designed to have a similar effect to BMW's M-sport and Audi's S-line brands, which are not limited to high-performance cars and can be specced further down the range: "In terms of interest, this is something that's quite important for us.
"You can have a 3-series [BMW] with an M bodykit - it's not just about that particular car, it's about things that can come from that car.
"What Japanese car companies have traditionally been not particularly good at in comparison to their European counterparts is this notion of personalisation and niche.
"I think we've understood this now and I think the Nismo is the first step on that road."
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