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Nissan bucks SME trend

Date: 16 February 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

James Douglas, Nissan, Fleet sales director

Nissan will buck the recent manufacturer trend of focussing on smaller businesses to target larger fleets, according to new fleet director James Douglas.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar in his first interview since being appointed to the new role, Douglas said: "Our new Qashqai is at the centre of everything for the next 6-12 months.

"Everyone says they are going after small fleets this year. We've been doing that successfully for the past few years, due to 350Z and our other products. But we're not going to focus Qashqai on just one area of the market. We're not limiting ourselves by going after certain areas. Qashqai is mainstream so we will come up against the likes of Ford and Vauxhall."

Nissan's corporate sales fell 30% in 2006, however Douglas still believes his department performed well.

"At the start of 2006 we were concerned due to the Primera and Almera ending production, we were concerned about the impact on sales so we got smarter about our client prospecting."

Douglas attributed the drop in sales to Nissan's planned reduction in short-term and daily rental business.

"In our financial year 2007/8 our short cycle business will total just 4050 units, in 2003 that figure was 25,000. So we thought we had a fantastic year."

Commenting on the launch of Qashqai, Douglas said Nissan had got the information supply to the RV guides right and this had helped the firm take 1400 orders ahead of the on sale date.

"We won't fully recover the 30% drop of 2006, but we will do 9500 Qashqais this year, overall the year will be broadly stable on last year," he said. Nissan sold almost 31,000 cars to fleet in 2006.