'The overall trends from the BRIC countries are positive. China will continue to grow. India is growing again.'

Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co, answers questions at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 14 Jan 2015 Views icon2994 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Carlos Ghosn: 'China will continue to grow. India is growing again. So, stay the course for BRICs, knowing that it is not going to be linear.'

Carlos Ghosn: 'China will continue to grow. India is growing again. So, stay the course for BRICs, knowing that it is not going to be linear.'

Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO, Nissan Motor Co, answers questions at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

What are your key corporate priorities in 2015, and what do you think will be Nissan's biggest challenge?
The corporate strategies for 2015 are going to be the same than as in 2014. There is no change. We just need to bring our performance higher on over-all opinion, still a very important objective.

I am talking about overall opinion car-by-car, market-by-market, which involves everybody at every level of the company. Second involves T.D.C, total delivered cost, in terms of being competitive will continue and third obviously pursing our sales offensive on all of the markets by gaining the market share and having the sales tactics necessary to have sustainable growth.

If there is one thing in particular I would like to stress for 2015 is over-all-opinion. The meticulous, articulate, specific contribution from each team. Whether we are talking about product attractiveness, or if we are talking about product quality and customer satisfaction, or if we are talking about awareness of the products through impactful marketing campaigns – all of this will need to continue to be enhanced.

Speaking of challenges, oil prices have leveled off significantly, and EV infrastructure is still in growth mode. What's your message about EVs for 2015?
Nobody can predict the price of oil. But there is one thing, which is not going to change: the emission problem continues to get more and more serious. The restrictions coming from regulation from different governments across the globe are going to get tougher.

There is no way you are going to meet these emissions restrictions and regulations without having an important percentage of sales in zero emission vehicles. We need to continue to develop the infrastructure for EVs and charging stations, and we will continue working on increasing the effectiveness of our EV technology including battery range. These investments will pay off over the long term and should not be dictated by the roller coast price of oil. So our strategies do not change. We will stay the course.

The Alliance's growth centers heavily around progress in the BRIC countries. How do you see these markets developing?
The overall trends from the BRIC countries are positive. Obviously we are going to see bumps, and we are going to see from time-to-time disappointment. That is the case today of Russia for a lot of reasons that we know, and of Brazil. 2014 has been terrible for these two markets.

I do not think it is going to be great for these two markets, either, in 2015. But does it mean that we are just giving up on these markets? Not at all. In these two markets, still, the level of motorisation is way too small compared to the potential of the country. In Russia we are at about 300 cars per 1,000 residents. Russia has at least the potential of 500 cars per 1,000 residents. In Brazil it is a little bit below 200 cars per 1,000 residents. There is no reason for Brazil to not be at the level of like Portugal for example.

China will continue to grow. India is growing again. So, stay the course for BRICs, knowing that it is not going to be linear. From time-to-time we are going to have some tough patches. We just need to continue to develop our strategy in order to make sure that when the market picks up again and continue its course, we will be there.

You have unveiled the next-generation Nissan Titan at the Detroit Motor Show. What's significant about this truck and concurrently, why is having this truck for the US market important?
More than two million full-size trucks are sold in the U.S. every year, but there is untapped potential in America's pick-up segment.  First, of the two-million-plus pickups sold annually in America, one quarter are in the ‘Heavy Duty’ category. And, the wide majority of those heavy-duty pick-ups have a diesel engine. Of the one-million-plus light-duty trucks sold in the U.S., ZERO has a V8 diesel engine.

Until now, if you wanted a V8 diesel, you simply didn't have an option. Each year, 75,000 U.S. buyers move up from light-duty to heavy-duty pickups. However, just as many people move the other way. That is 150,000 owners who are struggling to find the right truck. For many of these customers, the new Titan is the truck that they have been looking for. It fills in the unoccupied ‘white space’ in the market. With the 2016 Nissan Titan, we were not just going for ‘best-in-class’. We are really creating a new class and positioning ourselves at the best offer.

For the U.S. market, what is going to be the biggest driver of market share growth and profitability?
2014 went down as the best year ever for Nissan in the U.S. with almost 1.4 million units sold, an increase of 11 percent. Due to this performance we have performed according to analyst expectations from a financial standpoint in the 1H of FY14, and we will announce 3Q financial results next month.

We do not intend to slow down or become complacent or parade in front of these initial victories. We intend to keep pushing and fighting as we move closer to 10 percent market share in the U.S.

2015 brings us another exciting year with all-new products such as the recently launched Murano and the upcoming Maxima and Titan, which are all products with very big potential, sales potential, financial potential – which are going to be very important stepping stones toward the 10 percent. Again, the 10 percent is a milestone. It is a very important milestone for us in the U.S. I still think that what we are building for the U.S. – in terms of infrastructure, product, technology, team of people internally and at the level of the distribution network – should allow us to aim higher. But first we need to reach this important milestone of 10 percent.


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