Nissan will roll out a regionalised national pricing programme for fleets in March as it looks to raise its competitiveness against independent repairers.
The company estimates that around a quarter of SMR business for fleets is leaking out of its franchised dealer network. This new initiative is intended to reduce that figure.
“We want leasing companies to go to our dealer network for service and repair, so our dealers have to be good enough and we have to be competitive on price,” said James Douglas, Nissan fleet sales director.
Nissan has also launched a dealer fleet team intended to improve standards of service for corporate customers, particularly on aftersales.
“That’s important,” says Douglas. “It’s the one thing I can’t do and leasing companies can’t do but it’s what the fleet wants.”
He is focusing on keeping customers mobile, including speed of service, reaction to breakdown and courtesy car provision.
The more aggressive approach to retaining aftersales business follows an overhaul of the Nissan fleet department.
Cars and vans have been brought together under a single director – corporate sales director Tony Lewis – and the corporate team has been expanded from two to five people.
He believes it means Nissan can offer fleets a greater level of centralised support.
Last year Nissan withdrew from short-cycle rental business, which removed 10,000 cars from its plan, although sales only dipped by 3,000.
It believes this has helped to improve residual values: CAP agrees – its forecasts have typically risen by a couple of percentage points over the past six months (3yr/60k).
This year Nissan is looking to raise its fleet share from 3.8% to 4.2%. By 2012-13, it hopes to take 5% of the fleet sector (both cars and vans).
It expects to see continued growth with the Qashqai and Qashqai+2, plus a surge from full-year sales of the NV200. Juke in October and new Micra, on sale in November, will give an end of year push.
Electric Leaf proves a big hit with fleets
Nissan could launch the electric Leaf vehicle next March having already sold the full-year allocation – expected to be 2,000-2,500 cars - such is the level of initial interest from fleets.
Tony Lewis, Nissan corporate sales director, said the company had already received “a couple of hundred” enquiries for the Leaf, with a lot of interest from the public sector. Orders open in late spring.
The car has a typical range of 100 miles, although tests have shown potential for 150 miles if driven frugally.
Nissan has been preparing for the launch of the car by working with pricing guides, London councils and industry influencers to explain the concept.
It is also holding a ride-drive event in April.