TOKYO — Not too long ago, Nissan was wrestling with what to do about its iconic Z car.
Sports cars are a shrinking niche in a market conquered by crossovers. Then there is the industry's new obsession with all things electric, and Nissan's considerable financial woes don't help either.
Splurging to invest in a rubber-peeling internal-combustion car — especially one that seats just two people — seemed a bit out of sync, if not outright overindulgent.
But instead of hitting the brakes, Nissan Motor Co. has doubled down to make the seventh-generation Z car the most powerful in the line's history, a fire-breathing, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 speedster that delivers 400 hp and plenty of old-school street cred for petrol-head purists.
For Nissan, which has been struggling to reignite brand excitement amid waves of red ink and falling sales, keeping the Z alive was an almost spiritual imperative for rebooting the entire company.