Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated when the Nissan BladeGlider concept was introduced.
Nissan will show a crossover concept next week at the Frankfurt auto show that reports say will preview a new direction for the automaker's Z sports car subbrand.
Nissan gave no concrete information about the car other than to confirm it will be a crossover and to release a teaser picture. In a short statement it said the brand had “created a new way to feel driving excitement.”
Autocar in the UK said the concept will become the next Z sports car. The magazine predicted it would use Renault-Nissan’s new CMF-B platform that will underpin the next Nissan Juke.
Nissan has been casting about for a way to update the sports car genre and introduced the iDX rear-drive small sports concepts and the more radical electric BladeGlider at the Tokyo auto show in 2013. However despite initial enthusiasm within the brand, none will make production, reports have said.
A crossover would reach a larger market than a pure sports car, which are falling out of favor. Nissan’s rear-wheel drive 370Z sports car generated sales of just 443 vehicles in Europe in the first six months, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
“We’re looking for the antidote to the traditional sports car. You have to look at stats - the young aren’t buying [sports] cars in the same way they were,” former Nissan vice-president Andy Palmer said at the launch of the BladeGlider in 2013.
Younger car buyers in Europe are increasingly turning to SUVs, according to a new survey commissioned by Ford. In the European-wide poll of those adults between 17-34 considering buying a car within the next 12 months, a quarter said they would choose an SUV. Ford also quoted data from analysts IHS Automotive predicting European SUV sales would rise to 27 percent of the total market by 2020, up from 20 percent now.