Though the two have been linked closely for almost three decades, today, Nissan named motorsport and engineering firm Nismo its exclusive global performance and motorsport partner.
Nismo is already highly regarded in performance circles, though Nissan has never fully exploited the potential of the firm’s talents, particularly outside of its home market of Japan.
Now Nismo is poised for accelerated global impact, in both the world of motorsport and high-performance road cars.
Two of the first projects will be the launch of a GT-R Nismo model and a 24 Hours of Le Mans campaign, both in 2014.
Coinciding with the announcement, Nissan opened the new Nismo global headquarters and development center in Yokohama, Japan. Here is where the next-generation of high-performance Nissans will be developed and the automaker’s various motorsport programs managed.
The new facility allows Nismo's 180-strong team to be located in one place, bringing together the functional areas for the performance divisions key activities and technical and competition expertise under one roof. Divisions include a general workshop, engine shop, rooms for fabrication, grinding and carbon composite production.
A new showroom also allows up to eight vehicles to be displayed, and includes a sizable retail area for merchandise.
The spirit and inspiration for Nismo started with a group of maverick Nissan engineers almost fifty years ago. In their efforts to boost car sales through racing success, they shoehorned a powerful engine into an ordinary Nissan sedan to create the first of a legendary line of sporty road cars with the Nissan Skyline 2000GT, which would eventually lead to the original Skyline 2000 GT-R just a few years later. What came next was a run of highly successful competition and performance road cars in Japan, culminating in the birth of Nismo itself in 1984.
Currently, Nismo has the 370Z Nismo and recently reveled Juke Nismo in its stable, though these have only been announced for a few markets so far. As Nissan’s new global performance partner, a range of Nismo-badged cars will be available from Nissan dealers for the first time in many markets around the world.
Furthermore, Nissan is promising a rapid pace of introduction of even more Nismo models, with at least one model to be launched every year, starting with the aforementioned GT-R Nismo next year.
At the heart of each new Nismo road car will be a consistent DNA focused on delivering quality, functionality, and efficiency in every day driving with Nismo’s distinctive styling, sporty handling and performance capabilities.
When it comes to mainstream automakers, there are few official performance divisions. However, there is the possibility for great success, as evidenced by Volkswagen and Chrysler and their respective R and SRT divisions. Soon, we should be seeing the Nismo name mentioned in the same breath as these.
At the other end of the spectrum, Infiniti, Nissan’s upmarket brand, is expected to be more closely allied with the successful Red Bull Racing Formula One team, which it is currently the title sponsor of.
(c) 2013, High Gear Media.