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In a surprising announcement, Nissan says it is killing all sedan development beginning with the Japanese market. It is not saying when or where this will spread to, but it does put a lot of iconic Nissan models into question. We’re talking cars like the Altima and GT-R, for starters.

And what about the Godzilla Skyline? Nissan contacted suppliers last week about its decision according to Nikkei Asia. While some of Nissan’s cars are built in the US the GT-R isn’t. So if Nissan is stopping the production of cars in Japan, what happens to the GT-R in the US? The iconic sedan has been around since 2007.

Will the end of the GT-R be to make way for Nissan’s Ariya?

A gold 2022 Nissa Ariya electric compact SUV traveling uphill on a partly sunny day
2022 Nissa Ariya | Nissan Motor Corporation

Currently, the GT-R is built at Nissan’s Tochigi, Japan, plant. Plans have already been announced for the Ariya EV to be built there too. So it could be that the end of the GT-R is now to make way for Nissan’s Ariya. 

Nissan says this is being done in an effort to simplify development. And let’s face it; sedans are dying in the wake of trucks and SUVs. The market dictates almost everything manufacturers make and this is no different. 

Nissan sold only 5,800 of all four sedans combined in 2020

a red nissan altima on display
Nissan Altima is seen at the New York International Auto Show | Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Currently, Nissan makes four sedans. They are Skyline, Cima, Fuga, and Sylphy which just stopped production last year. The eye-popper is that Nillei says Nissan sold only 5,800 of all four of the sedans combined in 2020. That amounted to one percent of total sales. 

In markets outside of Japan Nissan sedans sold better. Nissan sold just under one million sedans worldwide. But that number is down sharply from 2016’s 1.7 million sold. The company said back in May it would be cutting the number of models it makes. 

A lot of this is tied to its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi. The group is finally getting serious about sharing platforms and not overlapping products. Without that economy of scale, it makes little sense to be under one umbrella. 

Most countries are seeing shifts away from sedans

A red 2021 Nissan Maxima sedan parked outside a modern concrete home overlooking mountains
2021 Nissan Maxima | Nissan Motor Corporation

But this is probably just the beginning of still more sedans being axed. Though some markets, like China, still find sedans popular, most countries are seeing shifts away from sedans. Consumers want SUVs and crossovers and it doesn’t look like that will slow down or reverse itself. 

Nissan’s Skyline has been around since 1957 and was always popular in Japan. We expect the name will find itself on some new SUV or crossover in the near future. Most of Nissan’s sedan names have recognition even if associated with cars. As we’ve seen with the Ford Maverick, a popular model name can be slapped onto another completely different vehicle with success.


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