But not for the reasons you might expect.
Ever since Nissan revealed the Z Proto concept late last year, there's been endless speculation surrounding the next-generation Z car. We know the car will make its production debut on August 17 at the 2021 New York Auto Show, but we still have no idea what it will be called. The 2022 Nissan 400Z name makes sense as a continuation from the outgoing 370Z, but rumors suggest the new model will go by "Nissan Z" instead. Or, could Nissan go with something outside the box?
On July 11, 2021, Nissan filed a trademark with the USPTO for "Fairlady Z." This is significant because the first-generation 240Z was originally sold as the Fairlady Z in Japan, but the name never made its way stateside. The Z Proto featured a Fairlady badge on the rear decklid as an homage to the original, possibly hinting at a comeback for the iconic name.
Delving deeper into the trademark filing, it seems unlikely Nissan will call the new car a Fairlady here in the US. Rather than protect the name for use on a vehicle, the trademark only covers "stylized words/letters." Specifically, Nissan intends to use the Fairlady name on "tie tacks, cuff links, lapel pins, watches, clocks, wall clocks, keyrings of precious metal, [and] ornamental badges of precious metal." A similar application for a stylized letter Z was also submitted to the USPTO.
Nissan president Katsuji Kawamata came up with the name after seeing the Broadway musical 'My Fair Lady' during a visit to the US. He believed the name would represent the beauty of the car and the music, but Nissan eventually decided it wasn't aggressive enough for a sports car and came up with 240Z instead.
It appears Nissan will keep the next-generation Z car's name close to its chest until the official reveal next month. If we had to guess, the Z car will likely go by different names depending on the market. In the US, it will go on sale as the Nissan Z, while Japan will get it as the Fairlady Z. We look forward to seeing the new Z with its twin-turbocharged V6 engine at the 2021 NY Auto Show next month.