Nissan launches new model avalanche

Published: 14 May 2008

Nissan will launch 60 new products in the next five years, the company’s latest business plan reveals. And it'll need every new model it can lay its hands on, amid a profit warning and a 30 percent collapse in profits this year.

The company certainly loves catchily titled grands projets; following hot on the heels of the Nissan Revival Plan, Nissan 180 and Value-Up, it’s now announced the Nissan GT 2012 plan – spelling out the company’s strategic aims for the next five years. Interestingly, having missed key profit targets this year, the new plan makes less mention of profit levels amid tough economic conditions around the globe.

Chief executive Carlos Ghosn might have turned around an ailing business, but he still resorts to cliché with such titles. Apparently, the G stands for growth, the T for trust (bear with us here). GT 2012 has three key tenets:

1) Quality leadership.

Nissan has pledged to increase quality across the board. And so it needs to. In the UK’s latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey, the brand managed a 13th equal position. That’s admittedly level-pegging with VW, but still sitting bang on the industry average.

2) Zero-emissions leadership.

CAR Online has already reported that Nissan aims to have full electric cars on sale by 2010 – with full global sales by 2012. And Ghosn has vowed to have a range of electric cars on sale, not just a standalone niche product.

3) Five percent revenue growth on average over five years

Boosted by the arrival of 60 new models in the next five years, and more than 15 new technologies every year from 2009. Plus they’re plotting ambitious expansion into new markets: Infiniti is launching in Europe this year and there’s continuing growth in India, China and Russia.

‘There’s a balance to be sought between the potential growth in world markets and the demand for a cleaner planet,’ admitted Ghosn. ‘We are convinced that the mass availability of affordable zero-emission vehicles is the most significant breakthrough our industry could deliver, and, together with Renault, Nissan intends to be the breakthrough leader.’

The problems at Nissan

There's a lot of work ahead for Nissan. It has missed its profit target for the second year running, reporting an operating profit of Y791 billion ($7.6bn), up 1.8 percent but missing the targeted Y8bn. The company blamed the soaring cost of raw materials and a forecast drop in sales for its latest problems.

Not that Nissan is starting from a terrible position. It sold a record 3.77 million vehicles in the 2007 tax year – up 8 percent. And sales were up in most key markets, including the US (up 1.3 percent) and Europe (up 17.9 percent), although the domestic market slipped by 2.5 percent. But it looks like there are tough times ahead...

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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