NISSAN Australia says it’s specializing in the positives in a tricky yr, with gross sales down 14.2 per cent to the top of July on the again of 29,154 automobiles bought, whereas a broader return to promoting passenger automobiles will enhance its quantity potential additional down the road.
Chatting with GoAuto at this month’s Navara N-Trek nationwide media launch in Maleny, Queensland, Nissan Australia managing director Stephen Lester stopped wanting specifying the corporate’s 2019 gross sales expectations however steered it should once more end within the decrease half of the highest 10, regardless of just lately expressing its aspirations for a podium end.
“We appear to bounce between sixth and ninth fairly routinely. We’re most likely going to finish up someplace in that vary,” he stated.
“We’ve received a really particular mandate to complete cleansing up our gross sales this yr, which we’ll endeavour to do, ensuring that our sellers’ stock is in line (and) ensuring that we’ve received a wholesome stock as nicely, and that stock is sort of youthful.
“And we’ve received a lot of merchandise that we’re targeted on persevering with to construct on the success and momentum with, be it Patrol for example. X-Path continues to be very, very sturdy and we’re excited in regards to the launch of the Leaf.”
The Patrol upper-large SUV is Nissan Australia’s solely mannequin to publish gross sales development this yr, its 1191 new registrations within the first seven months representing a large 48.7 per cent enhance over the 801 examples bought throughout the identical interval in 2018.
The X-Path mid-size SUV remains to be the corporate’s best-selling mannequin with 11,208 items discovering properties within the yr so far. Despite the fact that this determine is down 7.6 per cent, it represents the smallest loss in Nissan Australia’s line-up.
As reported, the second-generation all-electric Leaf small hatch formally launches this month, however 109 gross sales from a provide financial institution of 128 items for the remainder of this yr occurred in July alone, most of which had been believed to be supplier demonstrators.
When requested if Leaf is the primary in a brand new line of passenger automobiles for Nissan Australia, following the corporate’s axing of Micra, Pulsar, Altima and Maxima from 2013 to 2017, Mr Lester indicated it’s a matter of when, not if.
“Over time, you will notice extra passenger automobiles from us,” he stated. “You don’t really want to guess any additional than what essentially the most dominant segments are – by way of the place we might look and what we might try to push for. That’s completely the place we’ll go to.”
Mr Lester wouldn’t be drawn on timing for Nissan Australia’s return to promoting mainstream combustion-engined passenger automobiles, which can have to attend till the subsequent technology of fashions develop into accessible. The corporate is now solely buying and selling with the ageing 370Z and GT-R sportscars.
“There could be a distinction between my timeline and the timeline I could also be given in some unspecified time in the future or comply with,” he stated. “It may well by no means come fast sufficient in my eyes, nor our sellers’ eyes.
“That’s what we receives a commission to do – work laborious with the worldwide groups and see how we will deliver that to life.”
Whereas a returning Pulsar five-door hatch could be a logical entrant within the high-volume small-car class – the market’s second-largest section – its present C13 sequence was discontinued in Europe in September final yr resulting from low demand. It’s nonetheless, nonetheless, bought in China because the Tiida.
Conversely, the prospects of the Pulsar four-door sedan are a lot brighter, with the B18 sequence (referred to as Sylphy in China) debuting on the Shanghai motor present in April this yr.
Not like its hatch counterpart, the sedan will likely be produced in Japan for native consumption, which is the place Nissan Australia sources most of its right-hand-drive fashions. That is additionally key because of the decrease export prices caused by the free-trade settlement between the 2 international locations.
Alternatively, Nissan Australia could have a look at introducing the Ok14 Micra mild automotive. Whereas it’s in-built France, it’s manufactured in right-hand drive for the UK, which makes its prospects sturdy, notably in a comparatively buoyant class.
The L34 Altima mid-size sedan and A36 Maxima massive sedan are additionally prospects, regardless of being dominated out final yr. That stated, each fashions are manufactured within the US and China solely, which can weaken any enterprise case, alongside the truth that they compete in shrinking segments.
One other mannequin that has been mooted for Nissan Australia is the Navara-based Terra massive SUV, however Mr Lester admitted that’s no certain factor as the dearth of a Euro 5-compliant engine (to fulfill ADRs) and autonomous emergency braking (to obtain a five-star ANCAP security ranking) proceed to stop its introduction.
“We’re no nearer to seeing Terra, to be completely trustworthy,” he stated. “I’m not completely certain that venture will come to life or not for us.”
In the meantime, Mr Lester was fast to defend the Qashqai small SUV’s efficiency this yr (6496 gross sales, -22.eight% or 1922 items), which has dropped extra quantity than every other mannequin.
“I feel you really want to dive into the numbers on Qashqai. It’s really had fairly a fantastic yr,” he stated. “Once you have a look at the standard of gross sales and what we’re with the ability to recover from the road, I’m fairly assured Qashqai’s doing the job.”
The second-largest hit to Nissan’s gross sales has come from the Navara ute (8136, -14.7% or 1358 items), however Mr Lester identified that the changeover with the improve launched in July and the addition of its new N-Trek flagship this month briefly stunted its momentum.
“We’ve had the outgoing Collection III and the incoming Collection IV, in order that’s a part of the equation,” he stated. “I feel that Navara’s very well poised for a really, very sturdy second half. And, once more, we’re seeing actually good enchancment within the high quality of gross sales.”
As for the broader market, Mr Lester pressured that its return to development “couldn’t occur quickly sufficient”, with the trade down 7.7 per cent for the yr so far.
“We had the election come and go (and) issues haven’t moved as rapidly as anyone would’ve appreciated, however that being stated, we’re seeing another good lead indicators,” he stated.
“We’re going to be targeted on capturing no matter portion of the pie there may be for us to seize and persevering with to develop the enterprise.”