Is Nissan Giving Up on the Z-Car?

With the half-century anniversary of the Z-car arriving, Nissan is unsure if the 370z will have a successor.

via Getty Images

The Z-car is Nissan’s signature line of sports coupes, spanning six generations since the car was first sold in 1970. Nissan's main goal was to develop a successor to their existing line of roadsters that would compete with the British and Italian roadsters of the time in the North American market. They would accomplish this by making the car stylish, quick, and affordable—primarily by reusing parts salvaged from older models. Thus was born the 240z, a classic to this day.

Fast forward to the future: 2018, nine years after the 370z was first available. Getting close to the end of a historic product cycle (the 350z was ten years between going to market and the 370z’s release), Nissan announced some changes for the next year model.

But, the changes are unamusingly bland. A “Heritage edition” will be made available for buyers, but that’s basically your choice of black or yellow paint with some stripes. Other upgrades include an Exedy clutch for the cars equipped with manual transmissions, darker door handles, and some changes to the lighting. It’s essentially the same car, with the same power, for the same audience.

At the New York Auto Show, Christian Meunier, vice president of Nissan Sales, didn't really remove the feeling of beige-ness from the floor.

The 370Z is not a priority for us […] I hope we can make a successor.

-Christian Meunier

Uh-oh. So as we’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Z-car, we still don’t have a definite answer to its future. But if Nissan won't focus on the successor to the 370z, what would the focus shift to?

The GT-R is a halo car, so we need to continue to develop that vehicle

-Christian Meunier

Obviously we can't forget that Nissan does make a flagship sports coupe already. Nissan seems to want to put more effort on the development of the GT-R, however there is nearly an $80,000 gap between the two models. Focusing on the higher priced of the two will leave a blank space between enthusiasts on a budget, and GT-R owners.

Nissan has been toying with the idea of releasing their IDx after teasing concepts back in 2013, and then stating that they wanted to debut their new Z-car concepts to the world at the Tokyo Auto Show later this year. What is even scarier is the hint that Nissan wants a performance crossover or SUV – and we’re not just talking about the Juke, but an all-new redesigned concept they dubbed (wait for it) the Nissan Gripz since SUVs are taking over.

Whatever they decide, our hopes is that it’s a surprise to celebrate the half-century anniversary of the classic sports coupe. Only time will tell!