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Car-makers play on nostalgia

Publication Date : 30-04-2012


Automakers are catering to the nostalgia of drivers by reviving old models or releasing new cars with names similar to those of famous old models, but with greater fuel efficiency and comfort.

Nissan Motor Co. is the latest automaker to follow the trend by announcing Wednesday its Cima luxury sedan would make a reappearance next month.

In December, Honda Motor Co. released the N Box light vehicle, which was named after its N 360 model, the automaker's first mass-produced light vehicle model released in 1967.

This month, Toyota Motor Corp. began selling the 86 sports car. The 86 is one of Toyota's model numbers for its Levin and Trueno small sports cars, both of which enjoyed wide popularity in the 1980s.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will reintroduce its new Mirage, a compact car, this summer for the first time in 12 years in this country.

Among foreign automakers, Italian automaker Alfa Romeo Automobiles SpA has recently revived its famous Giulietta model for the first time in about 30 years.

Nissan said it had received a number of requests from customers to revive the Cima after the automaker stopped production in 2010. The car will go on sale May 21.

The Cima made its debut in 1988 and became a big hit, selling about 36,400 units that year. The model was a symbol of the people's preference for high-grade products during the bubble economy, and the word "Cima phenomenon" became a buzzword.

Nissan stopped producing the Cima in August 2010 because adapting the car to the latest safety standards was too costly. But the company said it received a large number of requests from customers, mainly Cima owners, urging Nissan to revive the model.

The new Cima will not really be the same model. Instead, it will be a hybrid car with a fuel efficiency of 16.6 kilometres per liter, equivalent to that of compact and midsize cars, and the chassis will be based on Nissan's Fuga model.

To compensate for the large price tag--ranging from 7.35 million yen to 8.4 million yen--Nissan said it had improved the comfort of the new car by making the back seat wider than in older models.

It emphasised the luxuriousness of the new model by saying that each car had been polished manually by skilled workers.

Nissan said the new Cima will be ranked above the Fuga as the company's top model.

Kei Horai, vice president of SC-Abeam Automotive Consulting, said: "It takes money and time to popularise a new model after it is introduced. Reviving the names of famous models is not novel, but there is less risk."


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