Things were looking up when Nissan stole the spotlight at last year’s Tokyo auto show, wowing onlookers with the refreshingly simple and retro-flavored Nissan IDx Freeflow and Nissan IDx Nismo concepts. Now, WardsAuto reports that a production version of the concepts is less likely than we’d hoped, due to its low probable volume and profit margin.
Word reached our eager ears at the Detroit auto show that the Japanese automaker was hunting for plant space to build the Datsun 510-inspired Nissan IDx coupe. Enthusiasts practically salivated at thoughts of a rear-wheel-drive production sports car to duel with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. The big stumbling block, however, is finding a chassis on which to build the car.
“It’s not easy to do, (and) if you do something like this and you manage to do a vehicle at (a low) price, what else would you do on this platform?” Nissan Americas product planning vice president Pierre Loing asked WardsAuto. “Because frankly to do a platform for 50,000 or 60,000 (units) a year – it’s not worth it.”
The IDx concept would of course be rear-wheel drive and under $30,000 if it was intended to lure in prospective Toyobaru buyers. Now, the rub: Nissan’s existing rear-wheel-drive platforms all underpin significantly pricier vehicles like the Nissan 370Z, Infiniti Q50, and Infiniti Q60. A sub-$30,000 car on such a platform simply wouldn’t be profitable enough for executives to green-light development.
On the other hand, if Nissan were to engineer a new, smaller platform just for us tail-happy enthusiasts, there would need to be significant volume to justify the effort—volume that the twinned FR-S and BRZ reportedly don’t even broach. Nissan probably couldn’t justify selling one, cheap sports car on a pricey new platform.
The news comes amidst recent reports that, contrary to earlier rumors, there will be a second generation for the Subaru BRZ. Given that Subaru cannot sustain the project on BRZ sales alone, it’s a safe bet that the Scion FR-S will be tagging along for a second generation as well. If Nissan throws down the gauntlet with its own affordable Nissan IDx rear-wheel-drive sports car, you’ll find us first in line for a comparison test.