Sunday, April 16, 2006

It's Official: Next GT-R Will Be A Nissan

At the Tokyo Motor Show, we previewed the GT-R Proto but we did not disclose the global branding for the car. I am pleased to reveal today that the next GT-R will be sold exclusively through the Nissan sales channel in the U.S. and around the world. GT-R will be available in the U.S. in the spring of 2008.

-Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO Nissan Motor Co., Ltd
That little bit of news was tucked in at the end of Nissan honcho Carlos Ghosn's introduction of the new Altima and facelifted Maxima at the New York Auto Show last week.

Traditionalists and Gran Turismo devotees worldwide are sure to be pleased that the legendary GT-R name won't be attached to the luxury-oriented Infiniti brand here in the U.S.

For future buyers of the new GT-R, however, the downside is that the sales and service experience for what is sure to be a reasonably expensive and extremely desirable car will all be centered around regular Nissan dealerships, which do not offer the same benefits one receives at Infiniti outlets.

That's why I'm surprised by the announcement. The new GT-R is going to be priced in the same range as more upmarket Infiniti product, and customers who spend that kind of money have expectations about how they'll be treated that probably won't be met at the local Nissan dealer. For that reason alone, I was personally convinced that GT-R would wear an Infiniti badge in the US.

All that said, no matter what nameplate it wears, the enthusiast in me can't wait for it to get here.

Download Carlos Ghosn's full Altima/Maxima remarks here.

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Infiniti dealers are not happy. Leftlane News has the story.

Photos courtesy of Nissan.