News - Nissan
Style, power to drive Nissan's future
With Renault at the helm, Nissan plans a product-led worldwide recovery
18 May 2000
NISSAN's plan for the future involves ditching its bland image with a raft of new models built around style and power.
With Renault now pulling the reins, Nissan has an ambitious new model plan that will see 22 new vehicles launched over the next three years.
Almost half of these will be limited to the United States market but many of the others will find their way into Australian showrooms.
It will be a few years before we see the first car built on a shared Nissan-Renault platform, but within 10 years all cars from the two companies will use shared platforms.
The product assault is central to the revival plan for Nissan under the guidance of chief operating officer Carlos Ghosn.
Mr Ghosn believes the company previously spent too little on product development while overspending on dealer incentives and administration.
While becoming more adventurous with its styling, Nissan will pull back on the engineering side and be more conservative with what it brings to the market. Innovations like continuously variable transmissions will only be made available when consumers want or need them.
"Our strength is rooted in being known as a high quality, high reliability, no-problem car," Mr Ghosn told Automotive News.
"But we also have the most brilliant engineers and designers in the industry and they are capable of developing surprising, attractive, competitive cars.
"Nissans are also good value. We'll want to keep some of that and add more features." Chief designer Shiro Nakamura confirmed the company's goal of having distinctive products that do not all look the same - like Audis and BMWs - , adding that the proportions of the cars were his top priority.
The first joint development product of the Nissan-Renault alliance will be the Z sports car, but there is no certainty of it coming to Australia.
What is certain is that Nissan Australia dealers will later this year start selling Renaults from dedicated sections of existing dealerships.
Nissan global product development chief Patrick Pelata said he wanted all the cars to have class-leading power, which will see the next generation V6 Maxima get a capacity boost to 3.5-litres.
"We want to be courageous, to take risks. We do not want to be in Toyota's shadow. We want to have our own sunlight," said Mr Pelata.
"We still have a lot of work to do in terms of perceived value but there is no reason that, with Nissan's manufacturing quality, we can't have a better image than German cars."
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