DETROIT -- Nissan's top global product strategist is bullish about the possibility of building the IDx concept car that recalls the long gone Datsun 510.
But Nissan's U.S. team isn't so sure.
Andy Palmer, Nissan Motor Corp. executive vice president responsible for global product planning and strategy, gives every indication that production plans are in the works for the compact rear-wheel-drive sedan. Palmer says a factory strategy exists for the project, involving plastic body panels on a lightweight frame.
Speaking to reporters here last week, Palmer said the resulting car will fit into Nissan's lineup as an entry-level sports car, priced below the current 370Z, in a bid to woo young buyers.
But Jose Munoz, chairman of Nissan's North America region, doesn't see the Datsun-inspired IDx causing a showroom sensation.
"I like it. I like the sporty attitude," Munoz agrees. "But I don't see it so much as a model that would be a true revolution of our portfolio.
"It's a car that maybe one day will see the light. But for the time being, we need to grow the business we have. I want to keep selling my Versa, my Sentra, my Altima, my future Murano, my future Maxima, my future Titan and my future Nismo models."
Detroit saw two IDx concept models -- the IDx Freeflow and the motorsports-flavored IDx Nismo. Both caused considerable excitement when unveiled in November at the Toyota auto show.
Fred Diaz, Nissan Division senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing, parts and service, says he is not getting any questions about the proposed 510 throwback from Nissan's retailers.
"I've gotten very little, if any, comment about it," Diaz says. "I think we still have way too much research and things churning to determine whether or not that will actually be good for the U.S. market."
Pierre Loing, the automaker's vice president for North American product planning, acknowledges that the consumer feedback Nissan received from the car's Tokyo debut was "inconclusive."
Loing says Nissan now intends to survey consumers at the Detroit auto show to see what they think of the IDx.