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New Nissan Australia MD outlines 100-day plan

Customer-centric outlook, electrification commitment underscore Nissan’s road ahead

20 Jun 2024

NISSAN Oceania’s new vice president and managing director Andrew Humberstone has announced a scale-up of pace for the brand Down Under, addressing a range of concerns around the brand’s electrification strategy and model reinvigoration over the coming five to 10 years.


With more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry, having previously headed Nissan’s Independent Markets in Europe after joining Nissan Europe in May 2019, Mr Humberstone told Australian automotive media that he is already working to establish a clear future path for the brand, with more to be announced within his first 100 days in office.


“I am very passionate about future-backed strategies (and) I am very passionate about having a clear 100-day plan,” he said on his 46th day in the new role.


“I’ve spent the first 40-odd days really listening and trying to gather as much data as quickly as possible – and the best way to do that was obviously, visiting showrooms and visiting dealers and engaging with customers to effectively dilute filters within the organisation and get data as quickly as possible myself.


“We have over 180 Nissan dealers across the country. We’re amongst the top five (in terms of) margins, and in terms of our dealer network, and the disbursement we have across the country, we cover about 90 per cent, effectively, of Australian buyers.


“If we look at the new partners we’re bringing into the business, that will give us about 93 per cent coverage. This is important because we’re a very customer-centric business, and it is about how we build that relationship with our customers and retain our customers in the long term.”


As the third-largest OEM employer in the country, Mr Humberstone said Nissan was fully committed to the market, one which he will work to grow over the coming five to 10 years – and in the face of unprecedented change.


“One of the challenges we face – and there are many at the moment – is that there are many disruptors in the market,” he emphasised.


“Some of those (disruptors) create additional complexity, but we’d like to challenge that by asking you to look at where we are right now – we are the fastest growing brand in the top 10, we have a massive product line representing over 70 per cent of the TIV (total industry volume), and we have our own in-house finance.”


Mr Humberstone said Nissan’s Arc plan of introducing up to 30 new models by 2027 would also impact the way in which the brand challenged so-called disruptors by curating a market-centric approach towards electrification.


For Australia, the tailored approach would include E-Power (hybrid) and battery electric vehicles (BEV), as well as internal combustion engines (ICE) for those segments where an appropriate alternative was not yet offered.


“One of the things that we were looking at addressing is being transparent about our strategic approach in the market, and there’s a lot of discussion at the moment in terms of disruption around the whole electrification story and what is the narrative thread between where we are today and what the future has in hold for us,” continued Mr Humberstone.


“We have a global philosophy which is referred to as the Arc, and the Arc is effectively between where we are today in terms of a product portfolio and technology and ICE vehicles, to effectively where we go in terms of new technology, be that E-Power and moving on to full electric vehicles.


“So, it’s really important that we navigate that market-by-market, region-by-region.”


Of the new models proposed, Nissan says 16 will be electrified, of which half are to be BEVs.


For the Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) region in which Nissan Australia operates, the business plan states it will receive five of the global planned BEVs – including a new Leaf – and six ICE models, although the new-model rollout for Oceania will comprise just four vehicles.


Confirming once and for all that the recently launched Mitsubishi Triton ute will form the basis of Nissan’s next Navara, the Oceania part of the business plan states that among the four new models will be a “new one-tonne pickup, leveraging Nissan’s partnership with Mitsubishi Motors”.


Importantly, Mr Humberstone said the Australian market would need to adapt to ensure the needs of various customers are met, saying he believed Nissan was in the right position to ensure the challenge is met.


“We must remain customer centric and make sure that we adapt to customer needs in different markets appropriately,” he stated.


“As a global brand, we are in a position to absolutely navigate those challenges market-by-market and when it comes to EVs I can tell you we are absolutely committed.


“We have been in the EV space for over 15 years – more than any other manufacturer – and we have been fairly quiet, in essence, on where we are going in terms of new products and new technology.


“We have solid state batteries that we are working on, all kinds of new technology, which, as I say, we’ve not been as vocal as perhaps some of our competitors have been.


“But it is certainly something that we are planning, and certainly something that I think is going to be a game changer in the market and the business.”

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