GCC countries remain our largest markets in the Middle East

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GCC countries remain our largest markets in the Middle East

Nissan rules the roads of the GCC with its wide range of cars and now the Japanese auto manufacturer is all geared to increase the market share further with a slew of new launches.

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Published: Sun 18 Nov 2012, 7:40 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:26 PM

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Atsuo Kosaka, Managing Director, Nissan Middle East, shares his company’s plans and gives an insight into the Middle East auto market. Excerpts:

How does Nissan see the UAE new car market in comparison with last year’s car sales?

The UAE market is experiencing a very healthy development with a TIV (total industry volume) growth of over 20 per cent. We expect the growth trend to continue in the second half of the year.

In this growth environment, Nissan is doing extremely well with sales performance in line with the market growth rate.

While all markets have recorded robust growth for Nissan, this performance also comes on the back of product success. The Nissan Patrol, Altima, and Sunny especially contributed to the sales growth in 2012 so far.

What are your largest markets in the Middle East? Please elaborate.

Nissan Middle East or NMEF covers 22 countries including GCC, Levant and also Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and some of the CIS countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia. CIS countries show very high growth rates, yet GCC countries remain our largest markets when it comes to sales volumes and market share.

The all-new 2013 Nissan Altima is being hailed as breaking new ground for the mid-size sedan segment. Tell us something more about the car?

Nissan Altima’s market share has reached a record high across the GCC, achieving 23 per cent of all sales in the D/E class during September 2012 in the Gulf (GCC excluding KSA).

Nissan has just introduced the all-new 2013 Altima in the region, which boasts class-above design, a rewarding driving experience and segment defining technologies. All-new Altima’s features include world’s firsts and options unique to Nissan’s mid-size sedan in this class, such as the remote engine start, which has been seen only in luxury vehicles.

Nissan Altima has consistently been a strong challenger for the position of best selling mid-size sedan in the Middle East throughout all its generations, and September sales prove its appeal is only growing. In all-new 2013 Nissan Altima, we have redefined what buyers should expect from cars in this class with game-changing technologies and features, adding to the essential ownership demands of build quality, durability, safety and running costs. Nissan standards, the highest possible safety rating and commitment by us to keep service and maintenance costs 20 per cent lower than our competitors, makes us confident that all-new Altima sales will increase by 50 per cent over the next three years. All-new Altima’s best-in-class fuel efficiency, which reduces fuel consumption by 18 per cent compared with the previous generation, is the first of several cost-saving advantages over its competitors.

Are you planning to launch new car models in the region next year?

Nissan has launched the Power 88 Plan, a wide-range six-year business plan that will accelerate company’s growth across markets and segments.

With Power 88, Nissan has started a plan on the offensive instead of reconstructing something or defending something. Under the Power 88 Plan, Nissan will add a new vehicle model about every six weeks, for both brands, Nissan and Infiniti, across the world.

This means that as an organisation, Nissan will introduce 51 new models from FY11 to FY16. In the region, in FY12 (which starts April 2012 and ends March 2013), Nissan will launch five new cars.

Over the next few years what kind of market share do you plan to have in the Middle East?

Power 88 emphasises on key corporate goals: Nissan will renew its focus on the overall customer experience through actions that elevate its brands’ power and sales. By the end of fiscal 2016, the company will aim to achieve a global market share of 8 per cent and increase its consolidated operating profit to a sustainable 8 per cent.

In the Middle East region, NMEF enjoys an average market share of more than 9 per cent, above the global 8 per cent market share target. Nissan intends to further increase its market share by FY2016.

Under Power 88, Nissan has also introduced “The ‘Innovation that Excites’ global brand platform that marks a profound shift in Nissan’s operations,”

Those words, exciting and innovative, are at the heart of what we do at Nissan. We believe in delivering innovative products and excitement for everyone. We believe in innovation, which is useful to real people in the real world. This belief in customer focused innovation underlines everything we do.

Nissan is embarking on a global campaign that promotes so clearly the inherent role that innovation plays across every part of the company, globally. Now is an ideal time for us to communicate this, capitalising on the success the brand has achieved worldwide. Nissan has developed a ‘WHAT IF’ campaign that underlines Nissan’s commitment to bring innovative and exciting products to our customers.

To finish, could you update us on your performance with the legendary Patrol?

Nissan Patrol is a name synonymous with ruggedness — a legendary off-roader capable of going anywhere, anytime. Meticulously honed for over 60 years, the Patrol is Nissan’s flagship SUV model and enjoys a rich heritage and passionate following in the Middle East that dates back to the 1950s. It is no small statement to say that for many owners across the Middle East, the Patrol is the vehicle that they grew up with — becoming an inseparable part of the social and cultural fabric of Arabia.

Patrol is built with high level of safety, performance and quality that characterises the Nissan brand, and we paid special attention to the needs of GCC drivers and passengers. We are extremely happy with our Patrol sales performance in FY12, and are proud to say that during the last quarter, we recorded the highest sales ever for Patrol in the region.

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