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nnovative products, locally produced, help the company grow despite industry's downward trend Record market share in 2012 in a declining marketQashqai remains the most popular NissanNissan number one Asian brand in SpainMore investment and new models planned for Europe's plantsMore than 10 million Nissans built in Europe since 1986 In
achieving a record market share in Europe in 2012, Nissan's performance
bucked the general downward trend in a market severely depressed by the
global economic climate. Nissan's
share of the European market rose to 3.9 per cent despite an overall
market slide of 6 per cent, which saw total sales fall to 17.6 million
vehicles, its lowest figure since 1979. The
company's sales for the year totalled 665,756 vehicles with significant
year-on-year growth in its two key markets, the UK and Russia, of 10
and 12 per cent respectively. Nissan
is now the best selling Asian brand in Spain, while no fewer than 22
European countries posted higher market shares in 2012. The firm's best
selling model, accounting for one in three sales, was the Qashqai
crossover. Nissan's
European manufacturing story is equally strong. Nissan Motor
Manufacturing UK (NMUK) - the company's main European plant in
Sunderland, England - produced more than 500,000 units in the year, the
first time any UK car plant has achieved this milestone. And
at the end of January it had passed another milestone: since operations
started at the plant in September 1986, more than 7 million units have
been produced at the factory. With
a further 3.2 million vehicles having been produced at the company's
plants in Spain and an additional 178,000 built at its newest factory,
in St Petersburg, Russia, Nissan has now built almost 10.4 million cars,
crossovers, SUVs and light commercials in Europe. "Our
success in a shrinking market is down to a number of factors, the most
important of which is our continued investment in manufacturing in the
region," said Paul Willcox, senior vice president, sales &
marketing, Nissan Europe. "With
more than 80 per cent of sales in Europe being built in Europe, it is
clear we are creating innovative products totally in tune with customers
demands and expectations," he added. Thanks
to continued investment in Europe, that position is not about to
change. In 2012, Nissan pledged more than €0.5 billion of investment in
new models to be built in Spain, Russia and the UK. The
Geneva Show stand displays two of the latest models to be produced in
Sunderland - Note and LEAF - while a recent announcement confirmed that a
forthcoming passenger car will be built in Barcelona in Spain. This new
car will boost annual production at the plant by 80,000 units. At
the same time, production of Nissan's 1-ton Pick-up at the plant has
been increased by an additional 24,000 units annually while Barcelona
will also be assembling the gearbox for the LEAF and e-NV200 electric
vehicles. Together, the three announcements represent an investment of
€130 million at Barcelona and will create more than 4,000 jobs for the
factory and local suppliers. Expansion
in Russia is not restricted to demand-led growth at the St Petersburg
facility, but also at Togliatti where a newly installed line - the
result of a cooperation between between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and
AVTOVAZ - is producing the new Nissan Almera for the Russian market. Russia
will also see the return of the Datsun brand over the next few years,
while over at Infiniti, a new compact model created specifically for
Europe is already in development and will be built at NMUK. "Although
we are a global brand and employ and enjoy the economies of scale that
brings, we are also aware that different markets have different needs. "By
investing so much in local facilities we are able to offer our own
unique models to European customers at the same time as benefiting from
global platform and engineering development," said Willcox. Sales
success is also down to Nissan's ability to innovate and its
willingness to challenge convention. Whether on the mountain roads of
Switzerland, the congested streets of Europe's cities or even on the Le
Mans racetrack, Nissan products are refreshingly different. Nissan
created the crossover segment with the Qashqai and in 2012 ­ -some six
years after its launch - sold more than a quarter of a million examples,
bettering its 2011 sales achievement in the process. That
success looks like being repeated by Nissan Juke, the world's first
compact crossover, which saw sales rise by 13 per cent in 2012. Nissan
is the global leader in the emerging electric vehicle segment, with the
multi-award winning Nissan LEAF being by far and away the most
successful electric car in the world. Two
years after its launch, an updated model will be built in Sunderland.
With more than 100 minor changes - many inspired by customer feedback -
Nissan LEAF is even more in tune with the needs of European drivers. Much
of the technology behind LEAF has been adopted for e-NV200, an electric
version of Nissan's award winning light commercial vehicle and people
carrier due for launch in 2014. Nissan's
commitment to the environment extends beyond the cars and vans,
however. The company is actively working with governments, local
authorities, energy companies and infrastructure providers to accelerate
the provision of Quick Charging networks across Europe. By
ensuring EV drivers can 'refuel' their vehicles as easily as drivers of
conventional cars are able, the most frequently mentioned concern about
owning an electric vehicle can be removed. Nissan's
commitment to innovation also extends to the new Note, which is built
alongside Juke, Qashqai and LEAF at Sunderland and which goes on sale in
Europe in October. Note embodies Nissan's determination to reduce
accidents and by launching advanced technology on a mass-market small
car, the company is redefining how manufacturers bring important safety
concepts to market. Excitement
is an integral part of Nissan's innovative make-up, too - found in the
powerful Nismo models, the first two of which -­ Juke Nismo and 370Z
Nismo - have been launched in Europe. "Innovation,
excitement and a desire to provide something different are the bedrock
on which Nissan's success is built. This success comes at a difficult
time for the industry but reflects how Nissan can quickly adapt to
changing trading conditions at the same time as appealing to new
segments with our range of crossovers, EVs and advanced small cars like
Note." "Our
ambition to be the best selling Asian brand in Europe remains stronger
than ever. We are on track to achieve this thanks to the breadth of our
expanding model range, through our growth in new and established
markets, through local manufacturing and through our relentless drive to
innovate," said Willcox.
 
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