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Nissan to end development of sedans in Japan

Exclusive: Skyline has been a fixture of automaker's lineup since 1957

Nissan will discontinue the development of all new versions of sedans in Japan, including the mainstay Skyline. (Photo by Yoichi Iwata)

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor will end development of new versions of all its sedans in Japan as sport utility vehicles make inroads into its home market, Nikkei has learned.

Major suppliers had been informed of the plans as of Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. All four sedan models sold in Japan will be affected by the development, including the long-running Skyline.

Nissan declined to comment on its development plans.

Narrowing its development pipeline will allow the car company, part of one of the world's largest automaking alliances with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, to channel more investment into SUVs and electric vehicles and elsewhere. Development of sedans for overseas markets will continue.

Nissan has yet to decide whether to stop making the Skyline, which debuted in 1957, and the luxury Fuga and Cima sedans at their current generation. Production of the Sylphy sedan ended in 2020.

The automaker's Tochigi factory north of Tokyo has been a production base for the Skyline and other sedans. Nissan plans to start assembling its new Ariya electric vehicle there sometime this year and may eventually dedicate the factory to electrics.

The Skyline is Nissan's oldest model still in production and boasts a deep fan base. But sedans are under pressure from SUVs, which have won a following among younger generations.

Nissan sold 5,800 of the four sedan models in 2020, accounting for just 1% of its new-vehicle sales, data from market research firm MarkLines shows. Skyline sales totaled 660,000 over four years in the 1970s, when the model peaked.

Nissan sedans fared better overseas, with around 950,000 sold in major markets in 2020. While this was down sharply from the roughly 1.7 million sold in 2016, sedans remain popular in China and elsewhere.

Given its brand cachet, Nissan will consider using the Skyline name for SUVs and electrics.

Nissan's move to halt sedan development is part of plans announced in May 2020 to cut its model count by roughly a fifth by the fiscal year ending March 2024.

The automaker is not alone -- top car companies around the world are moving away from sedans while offering more SUVs and other models.

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