Nissan will be seeking to boost its share of the fleet market through new products and a global strategy to target corporate customers, according to its new fleet chief.
Jon Pollock (pictured) was appointed corporate sales director in November, and he says the company is ready to build on its best ever year for fleet sales in 2012.
He said: “2012 was a great year for fleet. Compared with 2009, our fleet volume has grown by 40%. This is part of Nissan’s global plan and part of our European strategy, and fleet is getting the right level of investment.
“Our fleet market share this year is expected to be 5.3%, up from 5.16% in 2012 and we need to bring all the elements together to allow us to do this.”
Nissan sold 50,990 cars into the fleet market last year. The Qashqai took more than half of this, with almost 28,000 registrations.
Pollock said the number of dealers designated as specialist business centres will continue to grow, and there was room to improve Nissan’s relationships with the leasing industry.
“The dealer network is the window to the brand, for drivers and for fleet operators,” said Pollock.
“We currently have 72 business centres in our dealer network and we will expand this to 90. We need to be easier to do business with and offer appropriate levels of service. I want us to improve our relationships with contract hire companies in the van sector.”
Pollock added that Nissan’s appointment of Matthew Dale in 2012 as national LCV sales manager, recruited from Lombard Vehicle Management, gives the company a better understanding of the needs of its partners in the leasing industry when it comes to commercial vehicles.
The next major commercial vehicle launch for Nissan will be an electric version of the NV200 small van, which has been steadily growing in popularity since its launch in 2010. It posted fleet sales figures of 2,796 for 2012, a rise of 68% on the previous year.
Pollock said: “We will launch our e-NV200 at the Commercial Vehicle Show and allow customers to test drive the vehicle, including people from the leasing industry in time to ensure a proper level of understanding before the van goes on sale.”
Nissan has recently beefed up the battery warranty on the Leaf to protect customers against capacity loss during the first five years of ownership and the e-NV200 is likely to offer the same improved peace of mind.
When the European-built Leaf is introduced later in the year, it will be more appealing, with a broader model range and lower entry price point as well as allowing a greater distance between recharges.
Pollock says he expects to improve on the model’s 582 fleet sales in 2012, as well as offer a broader range of cars with less than 100g/km, including the new Note, while Nissan’s only current sub-100g/km conventionally powered car, the Micra, will also receive a significant facelift.
Nissan will be making more use of the Nismo sub-brand, which will be familiar to high-performance enthusiasts. The company is hoping for success along similar lines to Fiat using Abarth and Vauxhall using VXR.
Nissan is also about to launch a 200bhp Juke Nismo and Pollock says there will be more to come.
When asked about the likelihood of diesel Nismo products, he said: “I wouldn’t be surprised,” adding that Nissan wanted to bring Nismo as a ‘halo’ for mainstream vehicles.
New products in 2013
- New Note expanding Nissan’s sub-100g/km range
- Revised British-built Leaf with lower-priced derivatives and longer range
- Heavily-revised Micra with more appealing styling
- Electric NV200 van to be launched at the Commercial Vehicle Show