AZ SUV exists because of Nissan’s technical college

A Nissan Z SUV concept will be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2023 next month, but it wasn’t developed by Nissan but by students at Nissan Automobile Technical College in Japan.

The concept is called the Nissan Fairlady X and was built by students learning how to repair crash damage and add modifications. Nissan’s technical college, which is helping to educate the next generation of automotive specialists, has five campuses, with the Aichi and Kyoto campuses involved in the Fairlady X project. The students also built a Serena minivan, with styling borrowed from the Cedric sedan.

The Fairlady X concept is based on Nissan’s second-generation Murano crossover that debuted as a 2009 model and incorporates design cues borrowed from the latest 2023 Z sports car, known in Japan as the Fairlady.

Nissan Fairlady X concept by Nissan Automobile Technical College students

Nissan Fairlady X concept by Nissan Automobile Technical College students

The Murano was chosen for its similar width to the Z. However, reconciling the design of the low-slung Z with the body of the high-seated Murano proved to be a major challenge. Another major challenge was to reduce platen spacing to factory-like levels.

Nissan itself has explored the sports car SUV mashup with the Gripz concept from 2015. While the automaker has no plans to mass-produce a vehicle like the Gripz or this Fairlady X, other automakers have begun offering sports cars with SUV-like capability. Last month we saw Porsche unveil its 911 Dakar and Lamborghini the Huracán Sterrato.

The Tokyo Auto Salon is scheduled for January 13-15. Nissan will showcase a diverse collection of concept and production models, including the new Z, which comes equipped with official accessories that the automaker plans to launch shortly.