I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve gotten excited about the prospect of a new vehicle only to learn it’s going to limited to some lousy country where they don’t even bother to drive on the correct side of the street, have funny-sounding police sirens and/or happen to be involved in some other roadway debacle — like using the metric system on signs, just because it’s easier.
Meanwhile, nobody even seems to notice when we export our best automotive wares. Sure Europeans enjoy the Corvette’s mind-blowing performance and ability to absolutely devour highway miles at an unbeatable price (ignore the Euro-spec C8). But it probably lacks panache or the appropriate level of refinement (whatever the hell they’re looking for) and doesn’t accessorize with the sport coat and bare ankle look they seem so sprung on. Have you ever seen a Corvette in Europe? Of course, you haven’t. They almost never cracked 1,000 deliveries per year because the entire continent hates V8 engines.
Don’t fact check me on that last one because it’s irrelevant to the purposes of this article about pretty revenge. All you need to know is that I was just informed that Nissan’s upcoming 400Z (name pending) won’t be available in Europe.
The manufacturer had already committed itself to taking the United States more seriously but we didn’t think that would exclude the EU. In fact, when Nissan debuted the Proto Z (pictured) earlier this week it seemed a particularly good fit for Europe. It’s not a massive automobile, doesn’t use the hated V8 motor, has a manual transmission, and seems to be entirely focused on offering a balanced performance package. You’d think Europeans would be all over this thing.
What’s the deal?
Automotive News Europe reported that the car’s twin-turbo V6 would probably need to be tuned specifically for the market in order to pass EU emissions regulations. Nissan confirmed the claim, adding that it saw little point to cater to the market.
“A shrinking European sports cars market and specific regulations on emissions mean that Nissan was unable to build a viable business case for the introduction of the production version of the next generation Z-car in Europe,” a company spokesperson explained. “In Europe, Nissan’s priorities remain on its commitment to renew its crossover lineup and accelerate its range electrification strategy.”
It might have not have been the case if Nissan were in a healthier financial situation that didn’t require a massive restructuring effort. But Big N has basically said alliance partner Renault could handle anything interesting for the European market, leaving its own team to focus on mass-market vehicles. It could be for the best frankly. Nissan doesn’t need a bunch of emission fines from the EU and your average Josef seems to be falling out of love with the standard sports coupe. While that could be the result of the industry pricing them ever higher, crossovers have likewise taken up an increasingly large share of the market — just like here in North America.