Nissan Nurturing NISMO into Full-Fledged Performance Brand

The new NISMO HQ by night

Against the grain of modern automotive promotion of safety and overall reducing carbon footprints, performance still reigns supreme. Learning many lessons in recent years, auto companies have become educated to the fact that they must infuse excitement into every vehicle they build. From the most economy-oriented subcompact to their flagship car, the desire for quality performing automobiles drivers want to handle provokes greater influence from motorsports. Originally founded as a competition division of Nissan, NISMO will be launched into a more prominent role as a specialty sub brand from 2013 and beyond.

In a major announcement, Nissan has officially declared the NISMO name will step into the forefront of the auto company’s strategy. Opening NISMO’s new headquarters and development center in the Japanese city of Yokohama, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was on hand to reveal a new global focus for the auto company’s motorsport arm. Confirming that the NISMO name will be behind enhanced versions of a large line-up of Nissan automobiles, Ghosn said, “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,”

Speaking of the “NISMO Spirit”, Nissan touts the focus for the expanded division is to sculpt racing-inspired production vehicles that combine fun performance and practically. NISMO vehicles will be developed to also draw attention to quality and innovation. This auto show season, we have receiving a taste of the NISMO spirit with two new vehicles. Launching the NISMO is an unforgettable version of the Nissan Juke. The 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO’s 197 horsepower and performance themed handling and styling has excelled in grabbing attention. Keeping in mind that the Nissan Juke already known to deviate from conventions, NISMO touches pushes a distinctive style for what we may expect from future products from Nissan‘s performance line. Returning as an elevated version of Nissan’s more accessible sports car magic, a refreshed 350-horsepower 2014 370Z NISMO goes on sale this summer in the United States. A new Nissan GT-R NISMO is one of many vehicles on the drawing board.

The 370Z NISMO in the new NISMO showroom

An abbreviation of Nissan Motorsports, the NISMO name first appeared in 1984 with the purpose of perpetuating the auto brand in auto racing. Creating vehicles mostly for sports car-type activities, NISMO has participated in Japanese and other global racing competitions. Relating to North American motorsports, NISMO was completely behind an overall victory at the 1992 Rolex 24 at Daytona. As Nissan was propelled to success on-track, NISMO was mentioned more frequently off-track.

Since the late 1980s, NISMO had been tempting Nissan owners with an array of tuner kits and components for bring more performance out of their vehicles. Recently, the NISMO badge has been used on several tricked-out models. Nissan’s Sentra, Z Series cars and the GT-R supercar have been recipients of NISMO performance enhancements. NISMO appearance attached to Nissan cars in several popular video games such as Gran Turismo 5 has filled the virtual world with Japanese brand racing packages. Despite the popularity of NISMO, Nissan had up until now fallen short of throwing a continuous global commitment to the performance brand in a similar way to how Mercedes-Benz backs AMG or the SRT division now operates within Chrysler.

Nissan NISMO Badge

The expansion of the NISMO brand will also include a more visible global motorsport presence. Auto racing programs will operate under NISMO in 2013 with continuous emphasis on the FIA GT Series and Japanese Super GT Series. The New Year adds the newly started Australian V8 Supercars Championship effort with the Altima sedan powered by a production-based engine.

As many remember from last year, the DeltaWing chassis was powered by a Nissan powerplant similar to that found in the Juke. Since the Nissan-DeltaWing has competed in a non-classified manner in 2012 sports car racing, the motorsport world had been introduced to a new school of thought for building the racing vehicles of the future. Two years after Nissan participated in the Project 56 experiment, their reinvigorated performance arm NISMO will be one car builder with plans of upping the game of the DeltaWing. Nissan promises the NISMO name will be behind an all-new prototype sports car effort involving a potentially groundbreaking vehicle occupying Garage 56 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014. A program just announced to the public, the NISMO racecar is pledged to integrate electric vehicle technology for the 2014 sports car effort. Nissan and NISMO will continue to support competitors in other sports car prototype classes at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans with engines. The DeltaWing’s first official season of competition in the American Le Mans Series is also likely to depend on Nissan-NISMO power.

Creating everything from potent everyday driving vehicles to extreme technology racecars, Nissan and NISMO is prepared to make noise ahead of the Japanese auto company’s 80th birthday in December.

 

Information and photo source: Chris Nagy, Nissan North America

Chris Nagy

Chris Nagy

Automotive Editor
Admiring automobiles ever since childhood viewership of the TV show Knight Rider, Chris Nagy grew as an enthusiast enroute to become an automotive and motorsport writer. Drawn to the rich world of motoring, Chris discovers charm everywhere in the industry from supercars like the Bugatti Veyron to a Kia Soul. Car design, engineering, performance and the passion itself fuels his daily existence.
Chris Nagy

@ChrisnagyCarGuy

Mech Eng. Grad, Automotive & Motorsport Journalist with a wide range of intrigue. An Unsuccessful Quitter Who Continues to Try.
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