Honda and Toyota have their luxury performance cars selling like mad (CL Type S and IS300, respectively). Why doesn’t Nissan jump on the bandwagon? It’s not like the Skyline just came out either. They’ve had it over in Japan since the mid 80s. What’s taking them so long?
For the same reason the Supra, 300ZX, and RX-7 are no longer imported. The only big Japanese luxury performance car for sale in the US is the Lexus SC (aka Soarer, IIRC) and now they have a 6 cylinder version to get the price a little lower. The sales number on this car are pathetic and it may soon get the axe as well. Sports cars are slowly coming back against SUVs, minivans, pickups, and sedans, but not quick enough to keep the bean counters happy.
FTR, there have always been several hot Japanese cars that never got imported to the US, going all the way back to the Toyota 2000GT.
A newspaper article I read some time ago (a year? two?) said they plan to start producing LHD versions of the Skyline the next time it undergoes a major model change. Though a lot has happened since then, so who knows what their current plans are… Apparently, the current Skyline is so cramped under the hood that they can’t move the steering wheel to the left without a major redesign.
It’s not cost effective for them to make a version that is U.S. street legal since there isn’t a large enough demand for them over here. But MotoRex Importers will bring one over and make the modifications that make it legal. The cost starts at around 85K for one though. Most folks who are willing to pay that much for a sportscar seem to prefer other cars over the Nissan.
An Infinity based off of the Skyline platform will eventually make it to America. I forgot the model number exactly but it’s probably not going to feature a high revving, high performance, turbocharged engine you’ll find in a better model Skyline.
In addition to demand problems, relatively stringent EPA emission standards for almost all cars in the U.S. also limits the likelyhood of Nissan ever offering it in showrooms. It’s the same reason why the Mitsubishi Lancer (and the Evo VII) isn’t being offered until this year even though it’s been in Japan for years. And the Evo VII thing isn’t even locked as a sure thing yet.
I read an article about this in a car magazine about a year ago. The story is the car would cost about $85,000 in the US, and as already mentioned, Nissan management doesn’t believe there would be enough of a market for the distribution network to even be self-supporting, let alone profitable. This was partly based on the low sales figures for the Acura NSX (a performance car in the same price range).
In North America it is known as the Lexus SC400 or the SC300, and in the rest of the world it is the Soarer. The only difference being the engines - the SC400 is a 4.0 liter V-8 and the other is a 3.0 liter I-6. They’ve been here since '92, and sadly, 2000 was their last produciton year.
Lexus has since replaced them with the chubby little SC430 which looks a lot like the Audi TT in my opinion. I’m predicting here and now that it will bomb.
Maybe if the previous Japanese sports cars had a decent reputation with the American people (other than the Motor Trend and Car and Driver losers who fawned all over them)…maybe then there would be a decent demand. (Nobody gives a crap if the old 1972 240z was balanced, and I don’t see the 280ZX at car shows - This is a sign of a total lack of respect for Japanses sports cars. The mass of the population wrenches their neck at an old American or Europeans sports car, but wouldn’t notice the old Japenese stuff)
By the time the Japanese put out a decent sports car in the U.S., you could have bought a Porsche or a Corvette for a similar price. And, true to our intelligent form, we Americans opted for the Porsche or the Vette, or we learned to enjoy Europeans sports sedans.
Of course, as in any society, there are few dopes -and they actually miss the Japanese sports cars. If the Japanses can get some good performance over here for under 30 thousand bucks, they have a shot. If they drop anything over here for near 40 g’s, they can kiss their sales good bye.
Porsche, Chevy, Ford and BMW all find a way to sell their sports cars. Maybe the Japanese should sell a car that has personality - maybe then they will have a shot.
Even the jack-asses at Motor Trend, and Car and Driver couldn’t gloat over the Jap junk enough to generate any sales. Let the Japs stick to pumping out even more ho-hum SUVs and torque starved sedans.
Sports cars are not appliances.
Slated for 2003, after the face-lift, according to my gearhead friend.
There is a dealership in Los Angeles which sells them gray-market right now, for close to the abovementioned $85,000.
What is it exactly that makes the Skylines illegal in the States? It fails emission tests? It’s too powerful to be street legal? It fails safety standards in crash tests? I’ve heard there’s extra space in the engine block in order to install turbo kits, and this makes the car really unsafe in a crash.
If it wasn’t for the Gran Turismo series of video games, I never would have heard of these things (and they kick ass in the game, BTW). What’s the deal?
I’m still waiting for the Nissan Cedric to appear here. (If it has, I just haven’t noticed it–my excuse will be: I’ve been busy.)
Who says they are illegal? These people sell them in the US - or used to, anyway (looks like the web site hasn’t been updated in a while). Tthey leave the steering wheel on the right side though.
To sell a new model in the US the manufacturer or importer has to pay for all the safety and emissions tests. That includes providing a couple of cars to be destroyed in crash tests, I believe.
philster- why the chip on the shoulder? i think somebody has been in south jersey for too long… there’s plenty of interest in Japanese “junk” sports cars- probably not anything that you would bother attending though.
there’s also plenty of good japanese sports cars. ever run against an S2000 around a track? if you profess to be such a fan of sports cars, things like balance should be important to you. otherwise you’re just another housewife doing grocery runs in her mustang… don’t talk about performance if you have no respect for it.
Monty, what’s so special about a Cedric? I thought they were just regular sedans. I think my father had one when I was little (late 70s), it was an ordinary family car.
The Subaru WRX starts at $24,000 and will beat the pants off any American made “sports car” anywhere near that price. Porsche doesn’t sell very many cars in America. Chevy sells sports cars so well that you wont be seeing anymore Camaros or Firebirds. Ford sells a “sports car” that gets its ass kicked by the soon to be dead Camaro. BMW’s are good cars, but again don’t sell in the same numbers that the Japanese sports cars did in thier hey day’s. The Rx-7 is the 2nd most sold sports car in the world all time behind the MGB. If it didnt have “personality” I dont know what car does. It will be back this fall (I think, I hope) too.
Drat, left out the following:
[ul]Heck, even your basic Benz is an ordinary family car. It’s the options that make it cool.[/ul]
Chevy and Ford sell sports cars, if your definition of a sports car is one that goes in a straight line.
Did Volkswagen ever sell the Golf (Rabbit) GTI in the States?
Philster - what about the Mazda MX-5 (Miata?)
The Skyline is coming to the US with a minor detuning, but it will still be a beast of a machine.
Porsche sells a lot of cars in the US, in fact if it wasn’t for the US market Porsche would have gone bankrupt and closed up shop back in the mid 1980’s. Hell, they’re even coming out with a Porsche SUV, which is the One True Sign Of The Apocalypse as far as I’m concerned.
The Firebird and the Camaro are going to be coming back in 2-3 years, not that I’m ever even going to test drive one, let alone buy one. Solid rear axle in this day and age?? What are you, a fucking idiot??!!?!!?