New Models, And A New Realism In Nissan Australia Photo:
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Tim O'Brien | Jul, 15 2014 | 10 Comments

It hasn't been an easy first 100 days for Nissan Australia CEO Richard Emery.

Appointed in April to steady the Nissan operation here, Mr Emery inherited a widely reported glut of unsold Nissan cars and an oversupplied dealer arm.

A long-time industry professional, with years at Mercedes-Benz Australia and Mitsubishi Motors, Ballarat-based Mr Emery has more than a long commute on the table as he works to get Nissan back on track with a new model line-up and a refreshed company direction.

But one thing is absolutely "off the table". That is the oft-quoted ambition by Nissan of recent years of overtaking Hyundai and Mazda to be number one imported brand.

"Nissan now," Mr Emery said, "is about hitting the re-set button. (Aiming to be number one) is not valid for our business".

"Winning in the VFACTS figures is all about bragging rights. Our focus (instead) is on our customers, our dealers and having the right products for Australian buyers," he told TMR.

At the launch of the new Qashqai SUV in Sydney, Mr Emery was also keen to erase a couple of myths about Nissan's current situation.

"Nissan does not have 20,000 cars on grass," he said at the media press conference, adding that Nissan dealers "are not overstocked".

Instead, Mr Emery said that "the facts are that Nissan dealers have 38 days supply", which is inside the industry standard, and also that "Nissan Australia has less than 60 days of stock supply", again inside the industry standard.

Certainly, looking across the new Nissan line-up, Mr Emery and Nissan dealers have reason for optimism.

The new Dualis replacement, the Qashqai, is the top-selling mid-sized SUV in Europe (beating the VW Tiguan), and, as our introduction yesterday showed, is an impressive package that will win a lot of favour with buyers. Watch for our review this week.

The new X-Trail and Pathfinder have also been very well-received by Australian buyers, and, come August, a new Navara is soon to be launched to global markets. (TMR is heading to its launch in Thailand later this month.)

June VFACTS had Nissan holding 6.8 percent market share, slipping behind Mitsubishi's 7.0 percent for June.

But, with the new Qashqai to crow about, and the Navara coming not too long after, that situation will likely be fluid.

The medium segment Altima sedan remains a challenge (it notched up just 219 sales in June), and also underperforming is the Pulsar (1172 sales), which is a better car than the market seems to recognise.

It sits in seventh place in VFACTS registrations, well behind segment leaders Toyota Corolla and Mazda3. "We'd like to be selling more Pulsars," Mr Emery said.

A new Navara is on the way, sure to boost sales.
A new Navara is on the way, sure to boost sales.

Of course, that ambition aside, Mr Emery is right on the matter of "bragging rights" and VFACTS monthly sales figures.

VFACTS, published by the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), records and tallies vehicle registrations, not sales.

At the end of each month, especially between brands locked in tight tussels for segment leadership, it prompts a rash of registrations in dealerships of 'demo models' to inflate VFACTS results.

The object is those all-important "bragging rights".

For Nissan Australia at the moment, it's got its focus on other things - a smart new model line-up foremost among them and a re-energised Nissan brand here.

MORE: Nissan News and Reviews

Above: the Pulsar, a better car than the market seems to recognise.
Above: the Pulsar, a better car than the market seems to recognise.

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