TOKYO -- Nissan Division plans to offer more Nismo performance models in the United States, bringing down the cost of the packages and introducing them on less expensive vehicles.
Company officials said during the Tokyo Motor Show that details of the expansion are not final. But Nissan has made Nismo a new business initiative in markets outside of Japan, where Nismo products already are popular.
Nissan displayed a Juke Nismo concept at the Tokyo show. Executives said privately that the event kicks off a marketing initiative among low-priced U.S. models.
The packages consist of engine enhancements, upgrades to braking and handling components, sportier interior trim parts and unique exterior styling cues.
The performance packages are popular in Japan, where Nissan has been marketing Nismo in conjunction with motorsports since the 1970s. But the concept has struggled to gain acceptance in the United States, and disappeared for a time in the late 1990s. More recently, Nissan has aimed high with Nismo, marketing it as high-end special editions of the low-volume GT-R and 370Z sports cars.
That will change, company officials said. Nissan hopes to use Nismo to give U.S. retailers a new avenue for parts sales.
Mark Perry, director of product planning for Nissan North America, said the initiative, which will encompass both car and truck models, will go beyond cosmetic interior and exterior features to emphasize the brand's link to performance and motorsports.
"There is a very big opportunity for Nismo in the United States," he said. "It can be marketed much heavier."