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EVP Katagiri looks back at Nissan’s record global sales in 2011


EVP for Global Sales Takao Katagiri speaks with the Nissan Global Media Center on the record performance in 2011.

Q1. How do you describe global sales results in December?


Our sales remain strong keeping the best tempo in our history. Nissan sold 436,000 units in December, reaching an all-time high for the month. The figure rose by 19% on year, growing for 28 months in a row. Our global market share stood at 6.6% up 0.9 percentage point and setting a new record for the month of December.

Nissan set a new sales record in many markets for a single month. We broke the record for monthly sales in China, Brazil, Russia, and Puerto Rico, while reaching an all-time high for the month of December in the U.S., Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Egypt and India.


Q2. How do you characterize calendar 2011 sales?


Despite a tough business climate including the earthquake and tsunami last March as well as the flooding in Thailand, our global sales volume and market share hit new records in calendar 2011. We sold 4.67 million units globally, capturing 6.2% of the global market. Nissan sales set a new mark for the year in many countries including China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Switzerland and India.


Q3. What were the specific highlights of some main markets?


Nissan surmounted headwinds and achieved double-digit growth on-year in three (U.S., China, Europe) of the four main regions.

The Chinese auto market remains strong, marking 17.2 million units. Lately, people are expressing concerns about growth slowdown. The TIV growth rate was limited to 3.3%, smaller than the past years, but this was mainly due to a decline in the light commercial market. The passenger vehicle market grew 8.4%, maintaining significant growth. In fact, Nissan sold 1.248 million units in calendar 2011, up 21.9% thanks to successful products such as the Sunny and Tiida. We came in 4th among all carmakers.

In the U.S., the total market stood at 12.8 million units, up 10.3% and growing at a steady tempo. TIV was supported by recovery in the truck market due to lower gas prices on year. Nissan sold 1.043 million units, up 14.7% and exceeding the market increase. Sales of the Versa and Roguehit record highs for a calendar year. Moreover, our major product, Altima, became the second largest-selling passenger vehicle in the U.S. Our market share was 8.2%, a record for a calendar year.

In Europe where people are concerned about a possible market plunge, the market increased 4.2%, reaching 18.6 million units in 2011. That number includes Russia. Demand in southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, dropped whereas Germany remained robust. As a result, the European market excluding Russia slightly grew on year. Overall, Europe including Russia rose to 18.6 million units, which is significant. Order-taking for the time being is expected to remain stable in western Europe. We do not foresee a sudden decline of demand. Having said that, we should not let our guard down in this uncertain environment.

Nissan sold 696,000 units, up 25.4% in Europe including Russia. The main drivers were the Juke and Qashqaicrossovers.

TIV in Japan stood at 4.2 million units, a 15% decline from the prior year, affected by the earthquake and tsunami last March and floods in Thailand. Nissan’s sales decline was limited to 8.6%, a total of 592,000 units. Our performance was extremely strong, driven by Serena and the Juke SUV that achieved the No. 1 position in its class. As a result, Nissan’s market share stood at 14.1% topping 14% for the first time after six years.


Q4. What are the reasons behind Nissan’s record high sales?


Nissan’s order intake enjoyed momentum before the natural disasters hit Japan, thanks to the company’s projects and initiatives in past years. One of the main contributors has been successful product launches. Another reason is the quick recovery from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, and a minimization of the impact of flooding in Thailand. I strongly believe this is the fruit of the company’s cross-functional and cross-regional endeavors, represented in effective collaboration between the monozukuri team and the sales gemba. There is no fixed formula to address a crisis. Nissan has overcome extreme difficulties on many occasions, and learned a lot from each one. As a result, the company built its capability to tackle challenges swiftly.

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