TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co.'s new Silvia apparently will be the basis for a revived Z-car if that project gets approval.
The new Silvia, which debuted here late last month, uses a carryover platform from the old model, which once was sold in the United States as the 240SX.
But Nissan plans no exports of the new Silvia and hopes for Japan-market sales of 3,000 a month at best, at prices from ¥1.77 million, or about $15,660 at current exchange rates. Those volumes do not make a good business case for keeping the Silvia in Nissan's lineup.
Enter the Z, a car Nissan's U.S. sales arm keeps promising to revive. The automaker showed a concept New Z at the Detroit auto show in January, but it is not clear how many of its styling touches would make it onto a production model.
The Japan-market Silvia offers only an inline, four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower with an optional turbocharger. Company insiders say a six-banger would be a must for the American market and could be fitted into the Silvia's engine bay.
By itself, the Silvia is a sports coupe. It should give the Toyota Altezza, to be known as the Lexus IS 200 outside Japan, some competition. It offers styling that stands out from Nissan's recent bland offerings.
One offbeat touch: a turbo-boost gauge mounted on the driver-side A-pillar.
The Silvia is 175 inches long, 66.7 inches wide and 50.6 inches tall. It rides on a 99.4-inch wheelbase and weighs 2,728 pounds.