Nissan (again) relied heavily on SUVs.
It dropped some of its passenger cars (Pulsar hatch and Mirage) and, despite a very expensive race program, sales of the underwhelming Altima continue to fall. Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail did the heavy lifting, albeit off the back off cashback and finance deals, but the new Navara hasn’t fired as expected.
2016 SALES 67k
2016 YTD results*55,413 sales, up 3.0%, 5.7% market share
2017 forecast: 64k
RANKING: 7th; 64,000 sales (down 4%), 5.3% market share
Navara is arguably Nissan’s biggest opportunity – but only if the recently arrived update is well received. Ute sales are booming and Nissan missed out (down 15 percent), so it needs to again lean heavily on a vehicle that once outsold all rivals except Toyota Hilux. Also expect an update to Pulsar sedan, which should help kick along below-par sales. X-Trail and Pathfinder should also get 2017 updates, helping reignite interest in models that sell more on size and price than driving manners.
Maintaining sales with fewer cars. The company has to learn how to settle into natural sales demand with fewer models. In some ways the smaller line-up will help because it focuses attention better, but the reality is the current Nissan line-up is largely underwhelming. Hopefully those planned updates can solve some of those issues.
If it wasn’t for a broad range of SUVs, Nissan’s pain would be a lot more acute. Next step is lifting the substance across its range.