The shapely Nissan Sport Sedan concept, a preview for its new American-market Maxima saloon shown at the Detroit motor show, debuts a variety of design flourishes that will feature in future Nissans, says design boss Shiro Nakamura. “Nissan was originally very sporty,” he says, “but we lost some of this. We want more character.
In future, all Nissans will feature the floating roof of the GT-R, the Sport Sedan’s cut-line through the D pillar, the muscular line defining the front wheel housing and what Nakamura calls the 'V-motion front grille design', which can be seen in more subtle form in the latest Qashqai.
This sportier, more sculptural design theme will take a while to work through the range, and the upcoming, VW Golf-rivalling Almera hatch “will get some elements, though not all,” says Nakamura, because it was largely finished before this theme took full root. “But it has got the face,” he says.
The next Micra will also be a beneficiary of the new look, and it will be bigger as well, to better compete with its European Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa competition. “We need to be more mainstream,” says Nakamura of the next iteration. “The current car is a bit small. We will now go for the main market in every segment, and not avoid the competition,” he says.
This shift is deliberate, and a sign of a stronger, more confident Nissan. The Qashqai and the Juke were conceived in a more difficult era, when a weaker Nissan had to find a way of competing away from its main competition. That strategy has been successful, explains Nakamura: “We are more credible now,” – and this will allow the company to once again compete head-on with its high-volume rivals.