YOKOHAMA, Japan – Global Sales EVP Takao Katagiri speaks with the Global Media Center on the strategy behind Nissan's newly launched sedans, record November sales in the U.S., and the market outlook ahead.
Media Center: How did global sales fare in November?
Takao Katagiri EVP: Global Nissan sales in November ended up at -6.7% against last year. Good sales in the U.S. and in Asia, especially Thailand, couldn't completely offset or compensate for the volume of loss in China or Europe. So, we ended up with -6.7% against last year.
But, as for China, the situation is getting better and better, month by month. Especially showroom traffic to Nissan dealers is almost at the same level as that of last year. At the same time, retail sales in China have recovered to something like 85% of last year's. So, the situation is getting better and better.
Media Center: What are sales for Nissan's newly-launched sedans and how is that helping Nissan in the highly-competitive C-segment market?
EVP: The new Sylphy was launched in Japan at the beginning of December and has been very well-accepted. The new Sylphy has been developed as a global C-segment strategic sedan that has been launched in the U.S. as the Sentra, and also has been launched in China as the Sylphy, and Thailand as well. This is a global sedan.
In Japan, the sedan market has been shrinking, but still we need a successor of the C-segment sedan. Our strategy was to make a global sedan by combining the volume for all markets. This is the result.
Thanks to the volume and each market requirements, we successfully made a very, highly-competitive, high-quality sedan. And that's why this model has been successful in all the markets, including Japan. In Japan, the business model has been very well accepted, thanks to very high quality and high specifications of quality. That is driven by the global strategy of the Nissan sedan.
Our strategy is to make a sedan that is global but with requirements that differ from market to market. Our strategy is to combine sedan volume and also strategy on a global basis for B-segment, C-segment and D-segment. And we have already launched those three models in many markets. And in every market, all models are well accepted, including Japan. So our strategy is making some results already.
Media Center: How is Nissan performing in the U.S. market?
EVP: The U.S. market is growing up to the highest level since 2008, as of TIV in November. At the same time, competition is harder and harder. In such circumstances, Nissan has successfully increased volume by 12.9% and made a November sales record. That success was driven mainly by the new models, such as the new Altima or new Pathfinder. At the same time, current models, such as the Rogue, have been very successful. Rogue is almost at the end of its life cycle and it's still keeping its competitiveness.
Media Center: What is your outlook for 2013?
EVP: We believe that the U.S. market will grow in terms of total industry volume next year. At the same time, we at Nissan have launched many new models this year. Next year is a full year for us to utilize the competitive new models, so we are very optimistic and we have a very bright view for the market next year.
And also, the Asian markets are the same. The Asian market will grow strongly next year and our models are very competitive in those markets, so we are very optimistic and we will challenge a lot in Asian markets.
As for the Japan market, compared with this year when we had government incentives, as we probably won't next year we will still introduce some new models, including new mini-cars. We will challenge to increase volume and share in the Japanese market.
For China, as I've said before, we are recovering from the impact of the island issue. I hope we're going to recover strongly through next year.
The European market is still difficult, but we'll have new launches and new challenges.
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