NISSAN PRESS CONFERENCE
05 March 2013
Paul Willcox, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing Nissan in Europe
Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us.
You could use lots of catchy phrases to describe Nissan at the moment ‘bucking the trend', ‘on a roll', ‘triumph in the face of adversity'. We prefer to say that we are inspiring a new raft of customers by simply delivering ‘innovation that excites'.
Interbrand named us the Top Riser in their Best Global Brands of 2012. There are several reasons for this. Globally we are one of the fastest growing car brands. That's the same in Europe. We have increased share by 50% in four years. In fact, we've built more than 10 million cars in Europe since the very first vehicle rolled off the production line in Barcelona back in 1982. Our Sunderland factory is working 3 shifts 24hrs a day to meet Qashqai demand and has been since 2010.
We achieved a record market share of 3.8% last year. All this has been delivered against a shrinking market and in a really tough financial climate. And we're not ready to rest because Nissan is on the way to becoming the number 1 Asian brand in Europe.
So how have we delivered this?
We have put the customer at the centre of our business. We've acted local. Our commitment is to design in Europe, engineer in Europe and - critically - manufacture cars in Europe targeted directly to the needs of the European customer.
The best example of this has been the invention of the ‘crossover sector' by Nissan. This was led by the introduction of Qashqai. Last year we sold over quarter of a million Qashqais. With the introduction of Juke we are clear leaders in crossover sales with 140,000 Juke sales in its second year of production.
Not only that, we pioneered the world's first mass market electric vehicle with LEAF - and 50,000 drivers in Europe, the US and Japan have been inspired by us to start zero emissions motoring.
And not only that, we've taken advantage of the new digital world the blur the boundaries between virtual and reality - making successful racing drivers out of gamers and using a computer game to launch a new car, the fantastic Juke Nismo.
This virtual world is nothing new to us... Did you know that over a million Playstation enthusiasts entered Season 4 of Nissan GT Academy? These are all future Nissan customers.
Innovative? Without a doubt.
New product assault: Statement of intent
Today I can reveal our plans to bring even more innovation and excitement to even more customers.
Nissan will launch 15 models in Europe over the next three years. We will return to the core B and C segments. We will bring the gold dust of our Nismo performance brand to the heart of our passenger car range. And we will redefine how a car company brings technologies to the everyday customer.
And this is the innovative car that will spearhead our new product assault. The new Nissan Note. Built in Europe for Europe. A brilliant package of bold design with really smart technology, this car will be the smart choice for over 100 thousand customers a year.
Note: Technology to the masses
Why is it the smart choice? Well, in Nissan, we aim to make smart innovation accessible to everyone. To bring premium technologies, relevant and useful technologies, to as many of our customers as possible.
That's why we're launching our pioneering Safety Shield technology for the first time on our new Nissan Note. None of our key competitors can boast of introducing such breakthrough technology on a compact, affordable, mass-market car.
It brings together three advanced safety systems.
Combined with our Around View Monitor, this means safer for people on the inside and safer for people on the outside. With cities becoming more and more congested we want to make this Advanced Safety Shield technology available to as many people as possible.
The new Note is a great little package - stylish design and great handling combined with technology that will keep our drivers safer and in touch with their world.
Upgraded LEAF - 100 changes, big difference
We are also really proud of LEAF, the first mass market 100% electric car - as are the 50,000 LEAF customers on the road today. We've made it even better. Our latest generation brings together one hundred improvements.
So what's changed? Let me give you the headlines.
And we have redesigned the chassis to improve dynamic handling. And on top were repackaging the car to improve space, equivalent to an additional full suitcase in the trunk.
We are clearly committed to Zero Emission mobility. Quick charging infrastructure has more than tripled in the last year. Nissan dealers selling LEAF in Europe have grown from under 200 to 1,400 in the past 12 months. Now we're shifting the Electric Vehicle revolution up a gear with the mass production of LEAF from our UK plant.
New LEAF is European engineered, produced by European workers, with European manufactured components. This is targeted to the needs of the European customer.
Built in Europe for Europe
So that's the picture in Europe - strong sales, impressive growth and some really exciting new products. To tell you a little more about the global picture for Nissan and to give you a glimpse a bit further into the future, I'd like to invite Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer onto the stage.
Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
Paul's already told you that we'll be launching 15 new cars in Europe over the next 3 years. Well, I can tell you that globally, by the end of 2017 we'll have launched 40 more cars, touching virtually every segment and category.
That should tell you something about Nissan's commitment to innovation and excitement for everyone.
One great thing about being the Head of Product Planning is that I get to experience every product that comes through the Nissan system and I get to sign-off on each one.
A minute ago, Paul talked about Note's brilliant design and smart packaging: That's all true!
For me, Note also embodies the driving dynamics that I expect of every Nissan. So with Note as a reference, let me give you a glimpse of what our customers - and competitors - can expect from Nissan during the next few years.
This is Resonance. It's a concept crossover today, but it's close to what you'll see on the road very soon. We think that Resonance is both beautiful to look at - and definitely unconventional.
Our Chief Creative Officer, Shiro Nakamura, pioneered this new look. He tells me it was inspired by hypersonic travel. Look at the boomerang-shaped headlights and the roof's 'floating design'. Inside, our designers have imagined what first class space travel would be like.
Under the bonnet, there's a hybrid electric drive-train with Nissan's proprietary 'one-motor, two-clutch' system. It's both fuel-efficient and responsive. Resonance is a great example of where Nissan is heading, both in terms of design and accessible technology.
As Paul said, we're trying to introduce our new technologies right across our range, not just at the top end. We've said it before - and it bears repeating: We're bringing innovation and excitement to everyone, whether they drive a small car or a top of the range model.
Which brings me back to Note and LEAF: two cars that represent the next stage of our investment in Europe.
Our manufacturing plants in the UK, Russia and Spain, are booming. In 2011, we had a record year in the UK and we smashed that record again in 2012, producing an un-believable half a million units more than any other British car-plant has ever produced in one year!
Production of LEAF and the new Note will start to roll off the line in the summer. In Barcelona - we're building a new pick up. Soon we'll be adding our second electric vehicle - the e-NV200. And we have just announced that Barcelona will be building its first ever passenger car: an all-new C-segment Hatchback.
In Russia - the story's the same: We're expanding our manufacturing facilities and new models are set to roll off the line.
We are very proud of our vehicles and our technologies. But none of this would be possible without our people, the dedicated men and women who work in our offices and plants across Europe. So we've invited here today, ten of the production team -from Sunderland who are going to build the new Note and LEAF.
These guys will be with us all day - and are available to answer any questions you may have. And I bet - these are the only people you'll see here who actually make the cars.
From me and on behalf of the company: thank you, and thank you to the thousands of colleagues you represent.
So there you have it. Our factories go from strength to strength: in Sunderland, more than half a million vehicles this year and across Europe, over 10 million since 1982.
We're announcing our new product assault - 15 new vehicles in Europe over the next three years and it starts with the all-new Note.
We're going to continue to bring as many innovative technologies as possible - within reach of the greatest number of people. And with this focus, we're right on track to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.
Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our Press Conference.
Now, I'd like to invite Shiro Nakamura, Paul Wilcox and all the guys from our UK factory - to join me on stage for photographs.
Ladies and gentlemen thank you for being with us today.