Nissan’s specialist tuning division, Nismo, wants to become the company’s version of Mercedes’ official tuning partner AMG. Nismo will embark on an ambitious period of expansion with seven new models being launched into the European market by 2008. Akira Ogushi, the general manager of Nismo Europe said ‘It’s the company’s dream to become Nissan’s equivalent of AMG.’ Speaking at the brand’s 20th birthday celebration, Ogushi said the anniversary marked the start of a ‘new Nismo’ that would expand its motorsport and road car operations. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nissan, its initial focus will be on improving the brand image of the mother company. ‘Nissan’s basic image in Europe is boring and our products should put some passion into the brand,’ said Ogushi. Nismo bodykits are already available for the 350Z in the UK but Ogushi is adamant that the new models will be more than a styling exercise. ‘If we only change the aesthetics, the car is effectively dead in six months,’ he said. ‘We are establishing specific criteria for Nismo models and they will be more powerful.’
The first Nismo model, a tuned version of the 350Z, is currently being homologated and should be on sale in late 2005. It could be quickly followed by a Nismo version of the Micra, already sold in Japan as a March.