Fleet News

Nissan plans fleet attack next year

NISSAN is set to boost its share of the European fleet market with the 2002 launch of the next-generation Primera and Micra - shown here for the first time.

The Japanese manufacturer has been revitalised by partner Renault - and is now ready to step up its European fleet presence.

The adventurous-looking mm displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show last month is still described by Nissan as a 'concept vehicle', but Fleet News Europe can confirm it is basically a showroom-ready version of the Micra due for launch next year.

Nissan said: 'Concentrating on an array of convenience features in superior packaging, the mm is a stylish, new compact car that fits everyday life perfectly. With the mm, Nissan proposes a new standard for compact cars.'

Both the Micra and the new Primera boast a bold new design approach for Nissan. Nissan executive vice-president Norio Matsumura said the Primera will play a major role in increasing Nissan's European sales.

'Primera is the car that will win us upper-medium fleet sales,' he told Fleet News Europe at the Tokyo Motor Show.

In the UK, fleets are expected to account for about 70% of total Primera sales and the manufacturer hopes to increase its share of the upper-medium sector from about 3% to 5%.

Matsumura said the relationship with Renault benefited Nissan in terms of lower costs, particularly in purchasing and back-office functions, but stressed the two manufacturers would keep their products 'totally separate'.

'Nissan's brand identity is known as DQR - durability, quality and reliability - and we have clearly defined what kind of brand we have to build in the market.

'With this brand in mind our new models are quite different from Renault's and from other Japanese manufacturers.'

Matsumura said there were currently no plans to share any other platforms other than for the Micra/Clio and the Almera/ Megane.

Commenting on the fact that Nissan's place in the European market has slipped from best-selling Japanese manufacturer to second-best, behind Toyota, Matsumura said: 'At this stage it is not important - the company principle is that profit must come first. Volume itself cannot make a profit.'

The manufacturer announced last month it was taking a 15% stake in French manufacturer Renault as part of their alliance. Nissan is led by ex-Renault number two Carlos Ghosn. (November 2001)

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