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Nissan GT-R zooms ahead despite quake

Automotive News reports on the new Nissan GT-R.

2012 Nissan GT-R
U.S. sales of the 2012 GT-R start this month.
2012 Nissan GT-R
U.S. sales of the 2012 GT-R start this month. Nissan

NASHVILLE -- Nissan North America believes its carefully choreographed launch of the refreshed 2012 GT-R sports car will go as planned despite the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The company expects the 620 U.S. dealers that sell the GT-R to get all of their allocated vehicles during the model year -- and possibly a few more, says Rich Latek, marketing director for the model line.

Latek says 70 percent of the 2012 GT-Rs allocated for U.S. dealers are on the ground in the United States or in transit.

Last week, the company issued a statement saying the disaster in Japan could delay some GT-R shipments. But Latek said those initial interruptions will be minimal.

Nissan sold down its 2011 GT-R inventory to prepare for the 2012 launch. Dealers have been told what their yearly allocation of the 2012 will be. Most of those have been sold in advance.

The sports car goes on sale this month in the United States with a base price of $90,950, including shipping. It is a small-volume halo product for the brand's performance image, challenging European luxury sports cars. Only about 4,000 will be built.

The car comes in two trim levels: the premium version and a "black edition" with carbon-fiber interior trim that sells for $96,100, including shipping.

Nissan has goosed the performance of the car's 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, producing 530 hp, up from 485 hp last year, and 448 pounds-feet of torque, up from 434 last year.

When Nissan introduced the GT-R to the United States in 2008, the recession prompted the company to cut global production capacity from 5,000 cars a year to 4,000.

Latek says the car is intended to be a low-volume nameplate, noting that the largest-volume GT-R dealer in the country has sold a total of 37 in three years.

This year some dealers will be able to get a few more GT-Rs than their allocations, he says.

"There is some wiggle room," he says. "We can ask for more production, but we can't just turn the plant on like we can with the Sentra. This is a supercar, and we want to control distribution."

(Source: Automotive News)