PARIS – Nissan executive Bernard Loire has returned to Paris from Portugal to implement a shake-up in the Japanese carmakers sales and marketing operations.
Nissan is separating its sales and marketing functions from alliance partner Renaults in a move that analysts say will reduce the risk of the two carmakers stealing each others sales.
Loire, 43, will steer the creation of three new regional business units. The business unit begin work in January 2007.
One business unit will be based in Germany and also will cover Austria and Switzerland. Another will be in France and also will cover the Netherlands. The third will be in Spain and also will be responsible for Portugal.
The average sales of each business unit will be about 80,000 cars a year.
The creation of the business units is a shift in strategy for Nissan, which has spent the last five years merging its European sales and marketing operations with Renault.
A Nissan Europe spokesman said last week that the carmaker is setting up the new business units because it no longer needed Renaults support in sales and marketing.
Synergies create risk
Analysts say Renault and Nissan need to separate sales and marketing operations. They fear that the carmakers growing synergies in manufacturing and purchasing increase the risk of sales cannibalization between similar models such as the Renault Modus and Nissan Note small minivans.
The marketing departments of the new business units will decide which cars they will sell in their territories. The marketing teams also will choose prices and trim levels for cars in their zones. The sales teams at each business unit will handle dealer relations, allocation of dealer territories and bonuses.
In his new role, Loire, who previously was managing director of Nissan Portugal, reports to Brian Carolin, Nissan Europes senior vice president for sales and marketing.
Nissans sales and marketing in the UK, its No. 1 market in Europe for unit sales, and in Italy, its third-biggest market after No. 2 Germany, were never merged with Renaults so those markets are unaffected by the changes. Private importers handle distribution for Nissan in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Nissan already has regional business units in Russia, Scandinavia and central Europe.
You may e-mail Sylviane de Saint-Seine at [email protected]
– Paulo Soares de Oliveira contributed