Nissan’s first-quarter sales in China were announced.

On April 8th, Nissan China announced the latest sales data. The data shows that in March, Nissan’s cumulative terminal auto sales in China were 59,914 vehicles, with a year-on-year growth of 10.05%; among them, Dongfeng Nissan (including Nissan, Venucia, and Infiniti brands) had sales of 56,486 vehicles.

In addition, from January to March this year, the cumulative sales of Nissan Motor China, including the two business segments of passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles, were 167,291 vehicles, with a year-on-year growth of 3.29%.

Currently, Dongfeng Nissan’s passenger vehicles mainly operate three major brands: Nissan, Infiniti, and Venucia. Among them, the Nissan brand is the main source of sales for Nissan China, and the models on sale include Sylphy, Teana, Qijun, Xtrail, Tuda, Jinkke, and Loulan. The Sylphy is the main product of Dongfeng Nissan. Retail data shows that from January to February 2024, the sales of Sylphy, Xtrail, and Teana were 50,262 vehicles, 16,768 vehicles, and 12,962 vehicles respectively, and the sales of other models were all less than 1,000 vehicles. For example, the Qijun, which ranked fourth, was only 6,819 vehicles, and Jinkke and Tiida were only 3,862 vehicles and 3,090 vehicles respectively.

In the field of new energy vehicles, Dongfeng Nissan’s performance is also not good. Taking the ARIYA Ariya as an example, the cumulative retail sales from January to February 2024 were 296 vehicles, of which 120 were in February.

Currently, Nissan Motors is not having an easy time. On March 12th, “Nikkei News Network” reported that Nissan Motors is considering reducing production in China by 30%. Nissan Motors has an annual production capacity of about 1.6 million units in China. Reducing production capacity by 30% means that its annual production capacity will be reduced by about 500,000 vehicles.

On March 14th, Nissan China announced a number of senior personnel appointments on its official website, and the new personnel appointments took effect on April 1, 2024. Among them, Shozo Yamazaki, senior vice president of Nissan Motors and chairman of the China Management Committee, will continue to hold his current position and his existing scope of responsibilities will remain unchanged; the current ASEAN regional president of Nissan Motors, Kosei Sekiguchi, will be promoted to corporate vice president of Nissan Motors and general manager of Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company, and report to Shozo Yamazaki. For the personnel adjustment, the official said that the personnel appointments are aimed at supporting the implementation of the new fiscal year and the next medium-term plan, accelerating the implementation of Nissan Motors’ electric drive and market promotion strategies, and achieving long-term sustainable development.

The next day, Nissan Motors and Honda Motors announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to carry out comprehensive cooperation in the electric vehicle business, including joint purchasing, jointly developing power platforms, and generalizing spare parts. Nissan and Honda hope to achieve cost reduction through resource integration, and enhance the competitiveness of electric vehicle products.

On March 25th, Nissan Motors announced plans to add another 1 million vehicles in sales by the end of the fiscal year 2026, and to introduce 30 new models by the fiscal year 2026, including 16 electric vehicles and 14 internal combustion engine models, to achieve cost parity between electric vehicles and fuel vehicles by 2030. In addition, Nissan Motors also stated that it plans to increase the operating profit margin to more than 6% by the end of the fiscal year 2026. Nissan Motors President and CEO Makoto Uchida said in a statement: “This plan will enable us to go further and develop faster in driving value and competitiveness.” At the same time, Makoto Uchida pointed out: “In the face of extreme market fluctuations, Nissan Motors will take decisive actions according to the new plan to ensure sustainable growth and profitability.”

Currently, the Chinese market has become one of the core markets of Nissan Motors globally, but from the current situation of Dongfeng Nissan, it is facing relatively large pressure. Especially after the 2024 Chinese Dragon Year Spring Festival, BYD shouted the slogan “electricity is cheaper than oil” and intensively launched a number of “glory edition” models with cheaper prices. Among them, the Qin PLUS glory edition and the Destroyer 05 glory edition both have prices starting from 79,800 yuan, which are 20,000 yuan and 22,000 yuan lower respectively compared to the 2023 models. And the ones that were deeply hit were the 100,000-yuan-level joint venture fuel vehicles, including Nissan Sylphy and Toyota Corolla models.

Nissan Sylphy was first introduced and sold in China by Dongfeng Nissan in 2006, and currently has a price range of 108,600-174,900 yuan. Since its launch, the car once became the “top seller” of Dongfeng Nissan’s sales. Data shows that in the whole year of 2022, the sales of Sylphy were 420,665 vehicles, accounting for 51.05% of Dongfeng Nissan’s total sales (823,988 vehicles); in 2023, it was 376,109 vehicles, accounting for 55.82% of the total sales (673,755 vehicles). From the overall auto market, Nissan Sylphy also once topped the fuel sedan sales king for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, but in 2023, it was overtaken by BYD Qin PLUS new energy (434,213 vehicles). And with the price reduction of BYD Qin PLUS glory edition models, Sylphy’s position in the auto market may continue to be impacted.

As the sales support of Nissan Motors, Dongfeng Nissan has not yet had a popular model in pure electric vehicles, and the fuel vehicles are gradually lacking in appeal. In this context, Nissan Motors is under great pressure. How to create a popular model in the Chinese market and find the lost market share is a difficult problem that needs to be solved urgently in front of Nissan Motors.

On April 8th, Nissan China announced on its official website that the Nissan Hyper Force pure electric concept car and the Nissan Formula E Gen3 race car will make their Chinese debut at the Beijing Auto Show, and a number of new energy concept models developed based on the needs of the Chinese market will also be unveiled for the first time. Among them, the Nissan Hyper Force pure electric concept car will be a high-performance model.

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