February 2, 2012
A Running Start for Nissan in North America
In a year that begins the launch of 20 new products in 24 months in the U.S. market, Brian Carolin, Nissan North America’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, spoke with the Media Center about January results. Carolin’s team produced a 10.4 percent increase over last January sales; leading the effort were the Nissan Versa, Altima, Rogue and Frontier.
Q1. NISSAN reported January U.S. sales today (Feb. 1, 2012), how were your results?
We had a strong January, we (Nissan North America) delivered 79,313 sales, which was a 10.4 percent increase over last January. Once again, our biggest-selling volume product, the (Nissan) Altima, did especially well. It continues to really perform well. It’s Americas second best-selling car. But a number of other vehicles also did well. We had a good (Nissan) LEAFmonth; we sold almost 700, so we’re well over the ten-thousand mark since we launched the car; this is a good start to the year.
Q2. The Altima continues to sell well in a segment where the competition is offering fresh product. Why?
I was looking at some of the loyalty figures recently and (Nissan) Altima has proven to be very good at retaining customers. Customers who have owned an Altima are very loyal, not just to the brand but also to that model. We really are performing at a high-level in that respect.
Data demonstrates that we are conquesting more customers from Toyota and also Honda. So, why is that? The styling of the car is quite unique and very appealing in the segment. We continue to offer very good value in the segment. The emotional appeal of the vehicle, the styling, is very strong. What I get very excited about, of course, is we are on the verge of replacing that product. We have an all-new Altima coming in the next few months. I’ve seen the product, it’s going to be a big step forward for us. Today’s model has given us a really strong foundation; the next model is going to take us to the next level.
Q3. Have Toyota and Honda fully recovered their inventory position and if so, what does this mean for Nissan in the new year?
We are in a good position at the moment in terms of dealer inventory. We recovered much better, much quicker than the other Japanese brands in terms of the earthquake and tsunami of last year. It is pretty clear when we look at the numbers that neither Toyota nor Honda are back to the levels that you would normally expect. Rest assured, we taking full advantage of that.
Q4. The Super Bowl is this coming weekend in the U.S. Any plans to advertise there?
Rather than spending a ton of money on one single sporting event, we are going to make sure that customers, over the course of the next 18 months, really understand the features, benefits and why they should consider buying a Nissan product, especially our new vehicles. But also really take away what our brand stands for (innovation and excitement for everyone). It’s something we’ve been working on very diligently for the last 12- to 18-months. You are going to see the volume, and the cut-through, of our advertising, increase pretty significantly in the next year.