Snapshot

  • New Z isn’t necessarily the last petrol-powered incarnation
  • Future of Z’s powertrain could depend on local emissions regulations
  • Ariya EV’s launch still delayed for same reason

The boss of Nissan Australia has not ruled out there being a future petrol-powered Z car after the new one which has just launched locally this week.

Asked whether the next Z – if there was one – would be a hybrid or fully-electric vehicle, and if the new model was the last of its kind, Managing Director Adam Paterson said it depended on if changes were made to local emissions standards.

If, in theory, Australia’s fuel-efficiency standards didn’t budge and continued to lag well behind other OECD countries as they are now, the MD said another internal combustion-engined Z could still be a possibility.

“I think we’ll consider internal combustion investment if there’s a market to sell it – based on the longer timeframe that sports cars generally run as far as product cycles are concerned, and what the regulatory environment is,” Paterson told Wheels.

“The question will be, are we able to offer it based on what the main three markets [Japan, the US and Australia] globally allow us to from an emissions standpoint?

“I think it’s difficult for us to at this point to say: ‘yes, there’ll be another one’ or ‘no, this is the last one’, because I don’t think we have absolute clarity on the regulatory environment that we would be selling the next generation into.

“But why not right? When we built the last one did we ever think that there would be a next generation? I’m not sure. But as we’re launching this one the next one isn’t developed and ready to go for 2026… or something like that.”

This isn’t the first time that Australia’s emissions standards have influenced what Nissan’s future product lineup might look like locally. Earlier this year, Wheels reported that the Ariya EV is facing delays for similar reasons.

Nissan will introduce its second full-electric vehicle to the Australian market with the new Ariya crossover chalked for launch as soon as global production allows, joining its smaller Leaf sibling in local showrooms.

The all-new model was rolled out first in Japan around the middle of 2021, followed by Europe and the US late in the year.

It was hoped that the Ariya, which is Nissan’s second dedicated EV after the Leaf, would arrive locally this year to take on the likes of the Tesla Model Y and Polestar 2. But global production delays due to the semiconductor shortage, and Australia’s position as a lower-priority market for EVs, means the Ariya’s arrival timing has blown out until at least 2023.

“We want to get the car here as soon as soon as we can. We’re very interested in it. We’re screaming and shouting for it, and global realises that,” Nissan Australia’s Managing Director, Adam Paterson, told Wheels.

“But I think they’re making allocation decisions as to where those cars go based on regulatory requirements. And right now we don’t have any regulatory requirements to allow us to have it here.

“In New Zealand the discussion there is quite different, because some of the regulations that have come in quite recently where, you know, there is going to be a requirement to have your fleet average CO2 at X and the credits that are offered to zero-emission vehicles – especially ones of a higher weight or larger size – are more substantial. So that’s something that we have to look at quite quickly.

“As all the countries line up and say ‘we’d like Ariya’, the company’s having to decide, well, where is it required when we can only build so many?”

COMMENTS

Keyword: Nissan boss 'not ruling out' another petrol-powered Z car

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