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Ghosn: Tiida is “a success”

Getting it right: Australian Tiida sales have improved, but are still lower than Pulsar managed two years ago.

Global Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn defends Tiida despite its struggles in Australia

6 Nov 2007

NISSAN president and CEO Carlos Ghosn has declared the Tiida “a success”, despite the small car’s struggle to secure the sales numbers of its Pulsar predecessor in Australia.

Speaking at a media conference in Tokyo last month, Mr Ghosn quashed any claims that the next-generation Tiida would have to be “more traditional” in its size in order to better compete against other small-car competitors.

“Tiida is very successful,” he said. “This has been one of the most successful cars in our line-up.

“And it has been successful not only in the United States, but also in the Middle East and in many export countries.

“It’s often the number one in small cars.

“So when the car has been very successful, it means you do not make a very big revolution. It’s when the car is not successful that the field is ready for innovation.”

Mr Ghosn went on to explain that in Europe, the Tiida’s predecessor – the N16 Pulsar hatch-derived Almera small car, along with the medium-sized Primera range we do not see in Australia – never posed any serious threat to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and GM Astra.

“We said that we are not going to renew (Almera and Primera) because every single project with the same concept did not lead to any profitability,” he said.

12 center imageLeft: Nissan President and CEO, Carlos Ghosn.

“So with this, with the condition that we cannot be successful with a classic (traditional small and medium segment) car, we came up with Qashqai (Dualis in Australia).

“And Qashqai is a hit. But Qashqai was born from the fact that we were unable at the planning stage to make any profit from a classic (small car).

“Innovation is driven from the fact that from the beginning you are looking at your product and trying to imagine how you are going to have a return on this product, and if you have no return then it is the first signal that you are going to have to come up with something else. You are going to have to change your concept.

“(And) the next Tiida will be the same because it has been successful.” Despite a question directly referencing the Tiida’s Australian market situation, Mr Ghosn’s response did not consider the model’s reality in Australia.

However, Nissan Australia corporate communications manager Jeff Fisher defended his company’s small-car strategy with the Tiida.

“I admit we made mistakes when we launched the car back in 2006,” Mr Fisher said, revealing that the Tiida’s pricing, positioning and specification were not correct for Australia.

“But we have addressed each issue, and now the car is right.”

With the year-to-date sales tally of 11,576 units being 28 per cent up compared to the same time in 2006, the Tiida is gaining ground in its first full year on sale.

But this figure is still 2878 cars down – more than 19 per cent – compared with the 2005 year-to-date outcome recorded by the outgoing Pulsar.

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