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Market Insight: Nissan’s renewal paves growth

New models help drive Nissan sales but market share still not at pre-pandemic levels

25 Jun 2024

NISSAN is nearing the end of a significant model cycle refresh that sees only its workhorse Navara and off-road Patrol essentially unchanged. 
Elsewhere, the two-and-a-half-year renewal of staple SUV models including the Juke, Qashqai, X-Trail and Pathfinder are providing much-needed impetus for a steady rise in showroom traffic, the Japanese importer scoring some serious runs on the new car sales board. 
Calendar year-to-date sales show Nissan is the fastest growing brand in the top 10 with standout performances from X-Trail (up 70 per cent year-on-year and of which 28 per cent are E-Power hybrids), Patrol (up 46 per cent YoY), Navara (up 42 per cent), and Juke (up 83 per cent). 
It’s an important time for Nissan in Australia as it seeks to further grow its market share. 
With even more new models on the horizon, including a bevy of electrified offerings, Nissan says it is now well prepared for an expected uptick in sales volumes, much of which is expected to come from NVES-compliant passenger and SUV models. 
Speaking with GoAuto this week, Nissan Australia vice president and managing director Andrew Humberstone outlined the framework for a steady increase in growth over the coming five to 10 years. 
He said much of the brand’s success in Australia would come from delivering the right product mix to a diverse market, while at the same time continuing Nissan’s advancement of electrified product offerings. 
“Having arrived in Australia in early April, my key focus has been deep diving into the Nissan business in Oceania. Meeting our internal team and 180 dealer partners has been crucial as we work together to continue to grow the Nissan brand in this market,” he said. 
“Something that has struck me in my first three months is the strength of the product portfolio. Nissan covers over 70 per cent of the segments in the Australian TIV (total industry volume) and with recent model launches, we have one of the freshest showrooms in the market. 
“The first six months of 2024 have seen strong results across a number of key models in the Nissan portfolio. This has been demonstrated through growth in our reinvented hybrid, E-Power technology and key models such as X-Trail, Patrol, Navara, which all feature in some of the most popular segments in the Australian market.” 
Mr Humberstone said the company was pleased to see that almost a third of X-Trail sales in Australia are for the E-Power hybrids. 
"This shows that Australians understand the unique benefits of this electrified powertrain and how it is ideal for the Australian lifestyle,” he enthused. 
“During the first half of 2024 the industry has continued to see record TIV levels as brands deliver to the order banks that have been built up over time. We are predicting a very strong end of financial year across the industry with strong offers across the market and stock levels returning – it really is a great time to be in the market for a new car. 
“Looking further ahead, the second half of 2024 is going to be highly competitive. Brands will need to set themselves apart from the competition with unique product and we’re confident that Nissan has the ability to do this.” 
However, in looking at the preceding five years, it would seem Nissan has a way to go in returning to the market share it once held. 
Across the COVD-19 pandemic, sales of Nissan models dropped to almost half that of the 50,575 units delivered in 2019, with just 26,491 units sold across 2022. 
Slow supply and ageing models did not a prosperous mix make, but the table have turned as the effects of the pandemic have eased. 
As Nissan models have been renewed, so too have the numbers of vehicles sold. It managed 39,376 units in 2023, and has delivered 20,623 to the end of May 2024. 
Based on Nissan’s monthly sales volume year to date, it is expected the importer will notch up close to 50,000 sales (49,495 estimated) by the end of the calendar year, returning it to its pre-pandemic volume. 
Year-to-date highlights (to the end of May 2024) include Juke (1045 sales / 4.6 per cent share of the light SUV segment; up 83.0 per cent YoY), Qashqai (3172 sales / 5.0 per cent share of the sub-$45K small SUV segment; up 17.8 per cent YoY), and X-Trail (8011 sales / 8.7 per cent share of the sub-$60K medium SUV segment; up 70.5 per cent YoY). 
The off-road favourite Patrol continues to perform well (3274 sales / 30.7 per cent share of the sub-$120K upper large SUV segment; up 46.3 per cent), as does the ageing Navara 4x2 (492 sales / 4.3 per cent share of the 4x2 ute segment; up 152.3 per cent), and Navara 4x4 (4020 sales / 4.6 per cent of the 4x4 ute segment; up 35.2 per cent). 
Nissan’s crowd favourite Z is also performing exceptionally well, with 458 sales capturing 33.9 per cent of the sub-$80K sportscar segment; up 20.7 per cent. 
Models with lower segment shares include the all-electric Leaf (127 sales, down 40.9 per cent YoY), and Pathfinder (301 sales / 0.6 per cent share of the sub $80K large SUV segment; down 61.7 per cent) – the latter recently bolstered with additional more affordable variants and a price adjustment. 
For 2024, Nissan Australia is expected to sell approximately 49,495 units (based on current monthly averages), a figure that will see numbers rise by over 10,000 units from those achieved in 2023. 

The figure, however, is still well behind the importer’s pre-pandemic high of 57,699 unit sales set in 2018.

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