Remember how Nissan showed off the IDx, a compact rear-wheel drive sports car that would go head-to-head against the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ? And remember how it toured the state of California to gauge feedback from consumers about whether or not the model would be profitable if put into production? Apparently Nissan still has cold feet about the entire idea.
The real issue is that the architecture required to make the IDx a production reality would be quite expensive. And the sad reality is that the sport compact would be a low-volume model and wouldn’t net very much profit per unit sold. In other words, Nissan could possibly lose a lot of money making the car, even though it would be incredibly cool to see and drive.
Pierre Loing told Ward’s that creating a “platform for 50,000 or 60,000 (units) a year — it’s not worth it.” Subaru had Toyota to help spread out the costs, but apparently nobody wants to team up with Nissan to do the same thing. That’s interesting considering that Nissan and Renault are more than a little cozy with each other these days. The only explanation is that the French automaker thinks a small, rear-wheel drive sports car is a waste of its incredibly important time.
The fact is that the market is much warmer toward “sporty” vehicles like the Juke, which offers the appearance of utility and the promise of performance. The days of compact sports cars from Japan tooling all around American city streets is pretty much a relic of the past, at least until Nissan and other companies can figure out how to make some money by offering such cars again.