Mizuno the CVE of the Nissan GT-R answers some questions about the R35 and its continuing development and improvement.
Q1. What are the key points of the 2012 Nissan GT-R?
The GT-R is evolving each year. The background behind this is that the car is for hobby or pleasure. The customers don't regard this as just a car, rather as a close friend or a lover. It is important to grow up, just as the Formula 1 car gets faster every year, or the records of athletes are revised each year.
We'd like to show that to the customer. They feel as if it's a loved one, or a child, growing up. I believe that's the characteristics or requirement of this car segment. We entered the global supercar segment with the GT-R in 2007. We are not just selling a car. We wanted to provide "kando", or emotion. We wanted to penetrate the hearts of customers.
There are two kinds of cars. One is a car that helps to create the future and contributes to society for the next generations through environmental friendliness, or what we call eco-cars.
Another gives power or energy to one's life by offering the ultimate driving performance. The motivation for working hard during the weekdays is to enjoy driving this car on weekends.
The former example would be electric vehicles – eco-cars. The latter is the GT-R, with kando, passion and emotion. I believe the world needs the balance of these two.
The reason we can develop and produce the GT-R is because Nissan has the LEAF as well. We can say this is like a double-edged blade, or the synchronized wheels of a car.
Q2: How has the GT-R grown?
The concept of a "multi-performance supercar" has been consistent since its launch in 2007. Traditionally, supercars were a closed market and only a few people could enjoy the high-performance in limited conditions.
On the contrary, though, GT-R is aimed at creating an open market, which everyone can enjoy. We didn't intend to compete with and then defeat competitors. Rather, we'd wanted to create a completely new market. The multi-performance supercar was key to achieve that goal.
What do we mean by that? You can cruise on the autobahn at 300kmh with a week of clothes loaded in the trunk. You can go shopping in town comfortably using the automatic transmission mode, while you could also be the fastest driving on the track. This is what we wanted to achieve with the GT-R to create an open market globally.
For the first three years, we have been concentrating on improving that dynamic performance. In a minor change when we launched the 2011 model, we worked on improving the utility, in addition toperformance. For the 2012 model, we went back to the basics and improved the performance as the basis for the future changes.
Customers want their own, original GT-Rs, just like having a lover. To fulfill their needs, we are now offering the factory option to customize the car. For the 2012 model, we have redesigned the engine and made it to have more power using less fuel, meaning a leaner air-fuel mixture ratio.
As a result we have achieved a higher engine output and better fuel economy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. As for engine characteristics, you can feel the high response and torque around 5,000rpm, and more at a level above 6,000rpm.
We can say this is a world first: We've adopted the asymmetric suspension settings for the 2012 model. The specifications differ between left and right. When stationary, the front-right wheel carries more weight, for the right-hand drive car. We have changed the suspension setting on both to make equal weight distribution while the car is in motion – a stiffer front-right spring, and a higher rear-left suspension alignment.
For the specific regions we now offer the factory-option package called "For Track Pack." This is for those who want to use the GT-R daily on the road, but also enjoy track driving. This includes un-installing the rear seat to lower the weight, like the Spec-V interior, and using newly-developed material for the front seat in which the seat cloth itself grips the driver's body. A traditional sports seat holds the driver with its bucket-shape, and this innovative seat material holds the driver like a suction cup.
For the brakes, For Track Pack offers the same cooling system as the Spec-V, using the same system used with carbon brakes for the steel brakes, to be suitable for the circuit driving. We'd like to improve the line up of factory options so that customers can createtheir own, original GT-Rs.
When we started the GT-R project we promised CEO Carlos Ghosn that we would develop this car as a company flagship model, using Nissan's most-advanced technologies, to make it loved by people all over the world.
In Europe, Nissan or Japanese cars had not appeared on the shopping lists of higher-end consumers – racing drivers, company executives, stars and celebrities. The GT-R now attracts these types of people and Nissan's name is becoming widely known.
Also, in dealerships, employees are now proud of selling Nissan cars because they have the GT-R in the line up. I feel that the GT-R is gradually serving its role as a Nissan flagship.
Last week we had an exclusive pre-launch marketing event at a circuit in the Middle East, inviting VIPs including racing drivers and members of royal families. Everyone was associating the brand name Nissan with the GT-R, calling it the "Nissan GT-R". I strongly believe GT-R is contributing to raising Nissan's brand power. That's on theexternal side.
On the internal side, I would like to say that if a person can forge such an idea using the power of imagination then they can help to change a car to a great extent. Lots of people in the company think the work is just doing what they are told to – doing a fixed task with fixed rules. However, if we look at the GT-R launched in 2007, and the evolution of the car since then, I want to show that people's inspiration and creativity can lead to incredible results.
For instance, with the 2012 model, 0-100kmh acceleration now takes less than 3 seconds; it has the potential to make less than 7 minutes 20 seconds at its Nurburgring test. There is no stress on snow; not only it can go up to 300kmh, but the driver can comfortably cruise at that speed on the autobahn.
Is this the end of the development? No, because the car can further improve if we use our creativity. I want to provide a spark for our employees to consider "What is our job?"
We have unlimited creativity and possibilities, and I want to show that a product can evolve incredibly if we concentrate greatly. I want to tell our employees there are more things we can do in the auto industry.
Q3: What is the future of the GT-R?
The EV is a car contributing to society to create a better future but the GT-R is a treat for yourself. The power to work and to live. The keyword is kando – to move the customer's heart.
We are not selling a car, we are creating kando and that's the world of GT-R. We want to expand that world, including its power and dynamic performance, customizing options to build your own GT-R, putting the DNA of driving pleasure to a high level that no one has experienced before.
In other words, you can expect future GT-Rs to increase key elements involving kando; it can be customization, improvement of power train efficiency and advancedtechnologies, or even providing other amazing capabilities.