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Nissan to launch product and corporate offensive

Date: 03 April 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Nissan's Qashqai barged into the top 10 chart

Nissan is to up its number of specialist fleet dealerships and launch a large range of new products over the next two years to target the corporate car market.

Speaking to BusinessCar, UK managing director Jim Wright said: "This year will be quiet, but we're gearing up for a massive product offensive next year.

"For 2012, by mid year we want 90 specialist fleet dealers [the firm currently has around 60, specialising in SMEs]. We can offer large corporates something compelling in terms of coverage."

He continued to say that the dealer network hadn't always offered the best level of service to business customers but claimed that it was now up to speed.

"We need to offer a standard of service level, which up until recently we haven't been so strong in. We're in a position to offer a better service level to fleets now. The network is generally profitable and the dealers are keen to grow and engage with fleet business."

Wright confessed that the company hadn't made as much progression with its fleet business as it had in the retail sector in recent years.

He also admitted that Nissan hadn't focussed enough on the economic benefits of the Leaf electric car but said that local production will reduce lead times and prices.

"The Leaf will become better from a total cost of ownership perspective and we expect a lot of benefit to come from local production. Local production starts in quarter one next year and those cars will be in the marketplace in April 2013. This is when you'll see us push a lot more."

He highlighted the fact that Nissan is in the process of rolling out a national network of 60 fast charging points at petrol stations and similar areas, capable of charging a Leaf to 80% capacity in half an hour.

Of the Leaf's performance in the UK so far, Wright said: "Supply was disrupted for three to four weeks because of the Japanese tsunami. We've sold about 700, which is a bit less than expected but not much less. We'll sell a bit more in 2012 and get close to doubling our volume. This will go up into the thousands in 2013."

Part of Nissan's product push next year includes a new Qashqai, which the company hopes will emulate the success of the outgoing model. Wright was confident that could be done, but said that supply remained one of the firm's biggest stumbling blocks.

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