Nissan eyes pole position
Australian favourite by 2012 is the goal, writes PAUL GOVER
BY 2012 Nissan plans to be No.1 in Australia. It is not aiming for first overall, but believes it can overtake Mazda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi to become the country’s favourite all-import brand.
Nissan is already doing better with everything from the supercar GT-R to the Maxima, 370Z and Murano, and believes the nextgeneration Tiida — which could revert to the Pulsar name when it lands in 2011— will push it to the top.
‘‘Our market aspiration is to be the No.1 full importer in this company. That’s the objective for 2012,’’ Nissan Australia managing director Dan Thompson says.
‘‘Where we sit now is No.2 or 3. Mazda is now clearly No.1 . . . in recent times Hyundai has joined the party, so we have three players vying for that spot.
‘‘We want to leapfrog Mazda by 2012, with two years of brand building and the next generation of cars.’’
It seems a big call and it will not be easy, but Thompson believes Nissan will have the vehicles to get the numbers for top spot.
‘‘This business isn’t rocket science. You have the right products, . . . and the rest . . . and you have market success,’’ he says.
The next piece of the product puzzle, after the front-wheel drive Dualis price-fighter revealed last week, is the Z Roadster.
‘‘It’s all falling into place. The results are being delivered just as we’d planned,’’ Thompson says. ‘‘The goal is to be sitting at 6 per cent. We were at 5.9 last year.
‘‘It won’t dramatically change in fiscal 2010 until the core-volume models — the new Micra and Tiida — arrive.’’
Nissan has tagged its plan as GT2012, but it’s not just about numbers.
‘‘G is for growth and T is for trust,’’ Thompson says. ‘‘The GT-R is a fantastic story. It’s not about volume, it’s about branding. We sold 300 cars but we had 20,000 visitors to our site each week to see the car.
‘‘Murano, Maxima, Z and GT-R have far exceeded our planning. The Dualis is the fifth piece.’’
Thompson says the biggest problem for Nissan this year is getting sufficient stock of its biggest sellers, including the Navara.
Doing better: the Maxima is already helping to push Nissan along.