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Can this super car rev up Nissan?

Turnaround CEO Carlos Ghosn pins his hopes on an $85,000 revamped classic.

By Kevin Kelleher, Business 2.0 Magazine


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(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Nissan has long lagged Toyota in sales. But in the world of high-performance racing cars, Japan's second-largest automaker leaves its rival in the dust.

That's thanks to the Skyline GT-R, which has been the hot rod of choice in Japan, with nearly 70,000 sold since 1990. In the United States, the car gained an underground following: Paul Walker drove one in the film 2 Fast 2 Furious, and 100 or so have been imported and adapted to meet U.S. safety standards during the past decade.

Now, Nissan is preparing a new-generation GT-R, to be sold in the United States in 2008.

CEO Carlos Ghosn, who's spent the past five years turning Nissan around, is hoping the GT-R will burnish his company's reputation for performance in the States, just as the 1990s version put Nissan on par with Ferrari and Porsche back home.

The rollout will start small, with word-of-mouth marketing and a few thousand cars, which people close to the company say will cost about $85,000.

A prototype unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005 sported a sleek, aerodynamic design; the finished product is expected to preserve many of the car's legendary characteristics, like four-wheel drive and a customizable chassis.

Will its cult following make it a Stateside hit?

Below you'll see what the experts are saying about the GT-R's prospects.


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