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Expanded Nissan team tackles mid-sized fleets

Date: 20 April 2016   |   Author:

Nissan has moved to help fill a perceived weakness with medium-sized fleets by increasing the size of its team, as well as putting money into customer relationship management and data activity.

"With the fleet team dedicated to corporates, we are currently asking them to do too much - they have too many clients," Nissan GB boss Jim Wright told BusinessCar. "We are rated highly by leasing companies and small fleets, but by medium [fleets] we are not."

The new investment comprises an additional four area managers to take the total to 14, reducing the number of relationships with individual companies that each one has to manage. This is supplemented by extra back-office investment.

The company has enjoyed strong recent growth in the company car sector, which has meant Nissan didn't necessarily focus on its weak point.

"As we expanded fleet volume we concentrated on things we are good at and not necessarily on expanding the customer base, so in 2016 we are trying to address it with more resources and people [put into] meeting more customers," Wright admitted. "We've got a product that's good for that but we're not very good at marketing it for that part of the marketplace, and our share in mid-sized fleets is not what it should be - far less than 6%.

"This is Nissan's opportunity," he continued. "If we could double volume in this sector of the marketplace then it's a significant opportunity for us."

The company is targeting a 6% overall share of the car and light commercial vehicle market in the UK, compared with the current figure of around 5.3%, although Wright admits the company doesn't have the LCV coverage of other brands, so will need the car share to reach its target. That will, the firm hopes, be driven in part by the new Micra supermini coming late this year. "Today, we do 12,000-14,000 Micras - we used to do a lot more," said Wright, claiming that interior quality will be at best-in-class levels. "We've got high hopes for that car. It's a gap we need to fill."

Wright also hinted at expanding the range of models it offers: "Our coverage is very wide but not particularly deep - expect to see more depth than width," he said. "If you look at Golf bodystyles, they have a lot; it's something we will add in the future."

The arrival of a new medium van this summer will also boost volume by filling the gap in the company's van range vacated by the Primastar. "We need an entire portfolio to show we are serious about the market," Nissan's van boss Ponz Pandikuthira told BusinessCar. "It's one thing if you've never had a product but where you have had one and now don't it's a bigger problem."