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Nissan tsunami starts in Tokyo
Look out for Nissan's wave of new product warns world boss
16 Jul 2001
By BRUCE NEWTON
GET set for a tidal wave of new Nissan products over the next few years - 44 in fact, according to chief Carlos Ghosn.
Six will make their debut at the Tokyo motor show in October, including the new Micra and Z-car.
The Nissan president, who visited Australia briefly last week, said 22 new vehicles, from mini cars to full-size pick-up trucks for the US and other markets, will hit the road until the end of 2002.
"It's not going to stop there either," Mr Ghosn said.
From 2003 to 2005 the second wave will hit with 22 new vehicles arriving into global markets.
"And when I say all new products I'm not talking about just new engines I'm talking about totally new productions and obviously if you count the derivatives there are many more vehicles arriving," Mr Ghosn said.
Mr Ghosn said an entry level car for Australia was desirable but "we have to bring them in in a profitable way".
"There may be a need one day for an entry level car ... we've had discussions with Nissan product planning here about that." Mr Ghosn believes the small car segment in Australia has potential and he has high hopes for the new X-trail, due to go on sale later this year.
"I think that the main evolution that we may see in the Australian market is entry level cars that are affordable, reliable and have high levels of quality - and I think we can do that." By far the most eagerly awaited Nissan new offerings will be the Z-car. Due in Australia in early 2003, the Z-Car is expected to sell for less than $70,000.
The US market will benefit from a new large pick-up truck and large sports utility vehicle, both to be launched in 2003 and made at Nissan's new Canton, Mississippi, plant.
The pick-up is based on the quad cab, 224kW, 4.5-litre, V8 Alpha-T truck concept.
Mega mergers not over yetWE haven't seen the last of big-time mergers and acquisitions in the automotive world, according to Nissan president and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn.
Mr Ghosn, on a lightning visit to Australia last week to check on Nissan Australia's operations, believes more hot merger activity will resurface "from time to time".
"Firstly, this industry is more and more competitive and to be able to boost your competitiveness you have to have a lot of change of know-how, best practice and economies of scale," he said.
"Secondly, I think the car industry will be required to continue to have a lot of new investment - hybrids, electric, new engines, innovations, concepts, materials and safety.
"A small car manufacturer cannot do all this. You have to have a minimum level of scale to be able to amortise this investment and make it compatible with your profitability." Mr Ghosn's visit was also designed to maximise input from local Nissan executives and gain feedback on future product requirements and marketing strategies for the next three years that could help Nissan win a bigger slice of the local market.
He also looked at the fledgling Renault operations.
Even though his visit was brief, Mr Ghosn quickly picked up on the fact that the Australian market was fiercely competitive.
"We consider the Australian market to be one of the most competitive in the world, not because of size but because of the demands of the market," he said.
Mr Ghosn did say he would like to see the new entry level Micra on sale here at some stage.
"We are trying to understand what products we have globally that Australia could use," he said.
Mr Ghosn spent a great deal of time with Nissan's production planning executives sorting out specifications for the X-trail four-wheel drive.
Mr Ghosn also stated during his trip Down Under that:
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