“Lego® Group Introduces Nissan GT-R NISSMO Model,” by S.M. O’Connor

On Monday, November 25, 2019, Lego A/S doing business as The LEGO® Group, and Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. debuted a model of the Nissan GT-R NISMO, one of the most famous examples of a Japanese supercar, will be on store shelves next year as part of the new Speed Champions theme (product line) of car replicas.  This is the first collaboration between The LEGO® Group and a Japanese automaker.  Niels B. Christiansen, C.E.O. of The LEGO® Group, and Asako Hoshino, Executive Vice President of Nissan, made the announcement at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.  The set will become available around the world in January of 2020. The LEGO® Group stated, “New for 2020, LEGO Speed Champions replicas will be 25% bigger and more realistic than ever, allowing car fans to build mini versions of the world’s most famous cars and put themselves in the driver’s seat.”

Nissan is a Japanese full-line vehicle manufacturer with international operations.  It sells over sixty models under the Nissan, INFINITY, and Datsun brands.  In fiscal year 2018, the company sold 5,520,000 vehicles globally, generating revenue of ¥11,600,000,000.  Nissan’s global headquarters manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East, and India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America.  In 1999, Nissan entered a strategic partnership with the French auto manufacturer Renault.  Originally, this was known as the Renault-Nissan Alliance.  In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% ownership stake in the Japanese auto manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors.  Combined, the three auto manufacturers in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance sold 10,760,000 vehicles in the calendar year 2018.

In a press release, Mr. Christiansen stated, “In addition to offering a wonderful and fun building and play experience, we hope the model will also inspire children to learn more about engineering and how to create things in real life.  Just as engineers across decades have improved the design and performance of this car, children build, unbuild and rebuild during play – stimulating and developing crucial skills, such as creativity, resilience, problem-solving and critical thinking.  Inspiring them to become the builders of tomorrow is our mission.”

Ms. Hoshino stated, “The Nissan GT-R and the LEGO brand are both renowned and loved by fans of all ages throughout the world, and we are honored to be the first-ever Japanese car manufacturer to partner with the LEGO Group.  Many of our Nissan customers can trace their automotive passion back to when they built LEGO cars as children.  With this partnership, everyone can be a ‘takumi’ – the specialized craftsmen that build the GT-R.  And, it’s the GT-R’s 50th anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than to share the GT-R with Nissan and LEGO fans around the world!” 

Note the Japanese word takumi means artisan.  It is also a boy’s name and a surname.

The LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO will be available around the world next month.  It’s one of the first in the 2020 Speed Champions-themed sets, which will be 25% bigger than in previous years.  The LEGO® Group stated, “The GT-R NISMO model, made from 298 LEGO elements, captures the authentic and intricate details of the life-size race car in a relatively small LEGO model.  This posed an interesting challenge for LEGO design lead Chris Stamp.”

 “In LEGO Speed Champions, we always aim to include new types of racing vehicles.  And when we focused on drifting and racing, the record-breaking Nissan GT-R, and especially the new GT-R NISMO, was at the top of our wish list.  Authenticity is always our main concern, and we spent a lot of time exploring different building techniques to correctly recreate the taillights, as they are one of the most recognizable details on the car.  I am really happy with the end result.”

Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan’s chief product specialist for the GT-R – known informally as “Mr. GT-R” – gave the LEGO® model his stamp of approval.  He stated, “The GT-R has been part of my life since I was 10 years old.  Working with the LEGO Group was like awakening my inner 10-year-old self to rediscover what makes the GT-R so special to me.  It’s amazing how much the LEGO Group’s attention to detail reminds me of our own craftsmen.”

The 2020 GT-R NISMO appeared alongside the LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO model at the event in Yokohama.  According to The LEGO® Group, “Available now, the most extreme, most capable GT-R in history [the 2020 GT-R NISMO] features carbon-fiber front and rear bumpers, roof, trunk and rear spoiler; carbon-fiber front fenders with special scalloped vents; new lightweight wheels and new tires; tuned suspension and transmission; Brembo carbon breaks; and new turbochargers.”

REAL NISSAN GT-R NISMO vs. LEGO® Speed Champions GT-R NISMO

CategoryReal Nissan GT-R NISMOLEGO® Speed Champions GT-R NISMO
Development TimeOver 10 YearsApproximately 12 months
PartsMore than 90,000298
Assembly TimeApproximately 8 hours for the vehicle, plus additional hours for the takumi-built engineExpert LEGO® builder: 20 minutes Normal LEGO® builder: 1 hour
Top Speed310 kilometer per hourHand-driven
Gears6-speed dual clutch1 forward, 1 backward
Weight1,720 kilometers193 grams
Building InstructionsNot includedIncluded
FuelPremium gasolineCreativity
Range550 kilometersUnlimited
Hours of FunEndlessEndless
Figure 1 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO (Set #76896) will become available around the world in January of 2020.

Figure 2 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO is comprised of 298 LEGO® elements.

Figure 3 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: It will take an expert LEGO® builder around twenty minutes to construct the LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO (Set #76896) and the average person around one hour.

Figure 4 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The LEGO® Speed Champions Nissan GT-R NISMO (Set #76896) is designed to be constructed by youngsters at least seven years of age.  Although it is not one of the more complex models explicitly aimed at adults and older teenagers, it might make a suitable gift for a man or teenage boy who loves supercars to be placed on a desk or bookshelf like the new LEGO® Technic™ Rally Car (Set #42109) which will become available on Thursday, December 26, 2019.

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