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Asean Spice

July 13 – Yokohama – Car demand in emerging markets is rising rapidly and Nissan expects it to soon capture more than half of global sales volumes. Asean countries – including Thailand and Indonesia – are strategic growth drivers that are key to that aim.

Takayuki Kimura, President of Nissan Motor Asia Pacific and Nissan Motor Thailand, joined the Global Media Center’s Ian Rowley to discuss growth in Asean, the importance of localization in the region, and the challenge of serving very different markets with specific needs.

Kimura was President of Nissan Motor Indonesia before assuming his current position in April this year.

Q1. The Asean region is expected to contribute to Nissan’s global expansion plan by increasing its market share to 15% by 2016. Are we on track for achieving that goal?

Takayuki Kimura, President of Nissan Motor Asia Pacific:

Takayuki Kimura speaking at the Asean Seminar at Nissan Global HQ in Yokohama

After the so-called Asian shock, in the year 2003 to recently, Nissan’s share has been stagnant between 3% and 5%. But since fiscal year 2010, share has been growing significantly. In FY 2010, we achieved 6%, for FY 2011 we achieved 7%, and this fiscal year we are on track to achieve 9%.

With this pace, and together with total industry volume (TIV) growth, volume is getting much, much bigger, so I think we are on the right track to achieve our mid-term plan.

Q2. FY2011 saw double-digit sales growth in Thailand, rising 18% compared to the same period. The goal is to sell over 100,000 vehicles. How do you plan to do that?

Kimura:

Surely, it’s achievable. Last year, we achieve 9.2% market share, and this year our aim is to achieve more than double-digit market share, meaning more than 10%, so we are on the right track.

We are going to add one more important product, a global C-segment sedan, so with that car and continuous leadership in the eco-car segment, I’m quite sure we can achieve more than double-digit market share and surely more than 100,000 unit sales.

Q3. During your time at Nissan Motor Indonesia you oversaw the addition of a new production facility that will come online in 2014. Thailand is also a key production hub for March exports. How important is localization for the region?

Kimura:

Kimura believes Datsun will create a new market in Indonesia for affordable, quality cars

Localization — I think that is the most important factor to make Asean survive as a global export base, to keep the cost competitiveness against other regions – for instance, against India or in the future, against China.

It is quite key to maintain Asean’s competitiveness, so localization and cost reduction have the same meaning in my opinion. Unless we further localize, not only in parts and power train, but also in human resource organization, Asean cannot survive. This is quite a significant part of our strategy, I believe.

Q4. Indonesia is one of the markets where Datsun will be introduced from 2014 to meet demand for the government’s low-cost green car program. What will the brand bring to the market?

Kimura:

I think that the role of Datsun in Asean, particularly in Asia, might be slightly different from other regions.

In that price bracket there is no car available in Asean, particularly in Indonesia, because the market has been dominated by Japanese makes. So Datsun, particularly in Asean, is a new offer that is something that will “wow” the market.

Japanese quality will be able to visualize this kind of price positioning, so our aim is to create a new market.

Q5. Asean is made up of various markets, and key markets like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have very different demands. How do you plan to address each of these markets and their specific needs?

Kimura:

That is an important point — to meet specific needs in each country from a product-planning viewpoint, or a product strategy viewpoint — that is the most important.

Asean is very unique country by country. But I think that’s an important strategic job for Nissan Motor Asia Pacific (NMAP). You’ve already raised the point of localization, product strategy and production strategy.

Today, we are focusing on Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – their motorization has already started. But how do you simulate motorization in the other countries, such as Vietnam, Philippines or even Myanmar? I think NMAP has a role in studying that type of thing.

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