Nissan urges dealers to stay on track amid product blitz
Castignetti: "Everything's working. Let's just keep it going."
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
ORLANDO -- After setting a brand sales record in 2012 and two years of record dealer profitability, Nissan urged retailers at its make meeting to stay focused on the strategy of the past three years.
"Everything's working. Let's just keep it going," Al Castignetti, Nissan Division vice president for sales, told dealers at the meeting on Monday, held during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.
Nissan is midway through a plan to introduce five key model redesigns in 15 months.
Castignetti said at the meeting that more volume is coming in 2013 from the new-generation Versa Note hatchback and Rogue crossover, and he assured the audience that Nissan's long-delayed full-sized Titan pickup is on schedule to debut as a 2015 model.
He said that dealer gross profits have risen since the fourth-quarter launch of the redesigned Sentra compact and Pathfinder SUV. But he urged dealers to renew their focus on customer satisfaction.
He told dealers the brand has improved by 10 points on the new J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index, on top of a 43-point improvement in the 2012 ranking. "But we still went down one position on the ranking because some of our competitors increased more," he said.
Jon Brancheau, Nissan vice president of marketing, shared research data showing gains from the past year of advertising. He told dealers that Nissan's consumer awareness and shopping consideration are at their highest levels in the brand's history.
He said that Nissan will continue to match 40 percent of ad spending by Nissan's dealer ad association.
"We're going to keep running the same play," Brancheau said.
Nissan also said that a service plan will roll out this year to put more competitive prices on fast-moving parts, such as wiper blades, brake pads and oil filters. The plan will support a more aggressive push for quick-lube business, according to dealers.
"They have a lot of plans to help us improve our parts and service operations," said Nissan dealer council chief Brad Fenton, whose Fenton Motors owns four Nissan dealerships in Oklahoma. "It's a way to drive retention."
There was a loud round of applause at the meeting for Nissan North America's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Brian Carolin, who had announced his plan to retire at the end of March. His replacement on the job, Jose Munoz, now senior vice president for sales and marketing in Latin America, was introduced. But neither Munoz nor Carolin spoke at the meeting.
You can reach Lindsay Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.