Fleet News

How are fleet manufacturers meeting the challenges of Covid-19? Nissan responds

Peter McDonald Nissan

In May and June, Fleet News surveyed all the major manufacturers to find out how they were responding to the coronavirus pandemic, how they are supporting their fleets customers and their views on the type of impact it would have on the fleet sector.

The resulting article was published in the June edition of Fleet News.

Here is Nissan's response.

Fleet News spoke to Peter McDonald, Nissan fleet director (answers as at 8/6/20)


How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19?

We’ve maintained a good proportion of our fleet team, and prioritised direct relationships with our core customers.

We’ve also been closely communicating with our key fleet customers directly from their account manager and providing support to those in the process of introducing electrification initiatives.


What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?

We’re opening up communication channels and ensuring we’re available to fully support our fleet customers.

This has predominantly been about prioritising mobility with particular focus on key worker organisations such as major logistics firms and government departments, who we’re really proud to being work with, and who have played a vital role in keeping the country moving.


What proportion of your retail network remained open for SMR business?

A significant proportion of our dealer aftersales network remained open to support service and maintenance requirements for key worker fleets.

As of the June 1, the majority of our dealerships in England are re-opening and more and more servicing capacity is available; we expect this to normalise soon.


Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008? Please explain your view.

There’s little doubt that the lockdown has had a significant impact on all our lives. Many of us have had to adapt to new ways of working, and the disruption to commutes and travel plans will continue for the foreseeable future.

It’s too early to predict what will happen long term, but there were already some trends before COVID-19 that we will likely see accelerate in the coming months – the rise in adoption of electric vehicles for company drivers, for example.

For now, it’s about focusing on recovery from the effects of the pandemic and rapidly adapting our business to a new, and very different, business environment.


Please outline your exit strategy and how you believe the way business is carried out in future might change – the so-called ‘new normal’.

We think many fleets will wish to continue their efforts to electrify their vehicles, and will be seeking experts in this space to support their pilot initiatives.

Whilst we’ve seen a reduction in order take during the lockdown, orders for our battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – LEAF and e-NV200 – have remained quite steady.

We will continue to support fleets with their electrification plans and believe this is where we can add real value to fleet customers.


Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?

We don’t anticipate a slowdown in fleet electrification. Many fleet decision makers will have experienced considerable change in the way they and their companies operate, but now more than ever there’s an appreciation of the need to switch to a low emission, more sustainable society. Electric vehicles can play a significant role here.


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