2013 South India Special - Andy Palmer, executive vice-president, Nissan Motor Co

Nissan Motor Co's executive vice-president on Nissan's unbridled ambition to be the world’s leading LCV maker by 2016. An interview by Sumantra Barooah.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 05 Aug 2013 Views icon3440 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

The Stile not only marks the entry of the Ashok Leyland-Nissan JV to enter a new segment but gives Nissan more economies of scale in India. What is your outlook for the Stile here and in other potential markets?
The Nissan and Ashok Leyland JV has been extremely positive. The JV products will appeal to different target customers. For example, the Evalia is aimed at satisfying premium and highly-demanding customers such as entrepreneurs and families, with world-class innovative and sophisticated features including best-in-class fuel efficiency and vast interior space. ALL’s sales network and vehicle configuration will reach customers that Nissan never could.

The Evalia has fallen behind on expectations in its market performance. Any lessons in the Stile project in terms of product and strategy?
It would be foolish not to catch on lessons learnt. India is new to us and we have to learn about the market. So that’s why we chose Ashok Leyland. The Evalia is not a conventional product; we have created a new reference point in the MPV segment and have a product with many core strengths such as spaciousness, flexibility and best-in-class fuel economy. Therefore, we remain very confident about the Evalia. Remember, this is the basis of the Taxi of Tomorrow in New York; it was International Van of the Year in 2010; this is the basis of our most advanced technology as we launch the eNV200 in 2014. However, we are listening to our customers and can confirm we have a programme to make further improvements which will be introduced through the rest of the year. We have done this with our other models including the introduction of CVTs in the Micra and Sunny, completely refreshing the Micra’s styling inside and out, and introducing the Micra Active at an amazing entry price.

What will Nissan’s LCV arm do to the overall Nissan Power 88 plan?
LCVs are a central part of Nissan’s portfolio. We will sell over one million LCVs per year. Our LCV business contributes to the fifth pillar of our Nissan Power 88 plan, related to the strategies aimed at business expansion. In line with the NP88 mid-term business plan, we wish to be the world’s leading LCV manufacturer by 2016.

How is the current performance of Nissan’s LCV business globally?
In 2011, our global LCV sales volume hit a record one million units (1.09 million), which accounted for more than 20 percent of Nissan global sales. Nissan kept up the momentum in 2012 (1.14 million) toward achieving its bold sales growth goals. With customers’ trust in us through considerate service and strong products, we have been expanding geographically and have strong presence in Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the GCC and China. Aiming to become the leading LCV manufacturer by 2016, we plan to increase our LCV presence significantly in Europe, the US, Canada, India, and South Asian markets.

Finally, one question on Datsun. How premium will the Datsun car brand go without cannibalising Nissan-branded products?
With Datsun, we aim to satisfy the unmet needs of up-and-coming customers at the core segment of the market in high-growth countries like India, Indonesia and Russia. We have an almost-zero Nissan brand car offer in this segment so we do not expect any cannibalisationwith Nissan. The Datsun Go will be the top of the range for the brand in India.

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