In mid-2015, Nissan was not an industry leader. It had an aging product portfolio, weak profits across the value chain, lower dealer engagement and was using incentives and low prices to attract consumers. As a result, the manufacturer wasn’t investing in the brand and product and the vicious cycle continued.
Now, the manufacturer known for iconic nameplates such as the Z, Pathfinder and Xterra is staging a comeback and investing in its’ products, business and culture in a way that is yielding big results. “What we were trying to achieve was a virtuous cycle, a cycle where we are spinning up instead of spinning downwards,” Mike Colleran, senior vice president, U.S. sales and marketing told the crowd at the New York Auto Forum.
While the formula is working—Nissan was recently ranked in the top five brands on J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index Study and has announced a new $500 million investment to build two all-new EVs in Mississippi—the real proof of success is: “Are your dealers with you or not,” Colleran said.
“We believe that we go forward with our dealers. Our dealer network is a strategic advantage for Nissan. Our dealers are clearly with us. They weren’t two years ago,” but they are now, he said. “Our dealers are with us and they are a key part of our recovery.”
Colleran expanded on the role that dealers have played in Nissan’s new momentum later during his fireside chat with Jason Stein, Host of SiriusXM weekly “Cars & Culture.” “We went from dead last in the industry for a lot of years. But we took it very seriously,” Colleran explained. “I grew up in a family that had dealer experience… and the viewpoint that if you take care of dealers, they will do anything to run through the wall for your brand, for your division.” That’s the tactic that the company has taken and the strategy has paid off, Colleran said. “We want to continue to improve on this. We’re proud of it. It’s a lot of hard work and we’re going to continue to work at it.”