The boss of Nissan Australia is confident the new-car market will recover quicker than expected in the wake of the coronavirus crisis – once production ramps back up to normal levels.
“The issue of where 2020 ends up is a really good question,” Nissan Australia boss Stephen Lester told CarAdvice. “We’ve all spent a lot of time looking for whoever it is with the crystal ball that can tell us exactly that.
“In circumstances like this, though, we have no choice but to continue to look for reasons to be optimistic ... but I believe Nissan Australia is in the best possible position to be successful.”
The Nissan Patrol four-wheel-drive – one of the more profitable models in the range – has increased sales in the declining market.
Plus Nissan says its rollout of new models in the next two years will give it another sales boost.
“The ability to launch new product and to tell new stories to consumers is key,” said Mr Lester. “The timing for the Juke launch in particular, which you are with us today for, is an example of that.”
The car industry suffered two of its worst sales months in 30 years during the middle of the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdowns, but Nissan says it is helping its dealer network work through it.
The next challenge, he says, is to get access to enough cars to meet the expected increase in demand.
“It’s pretty tough to sell cars if they aren’t being built," said Mr Lester. "The key focus for us is to manage the business effectively for our dealers. We need them to have an ample level of stock to try to prepare for shortages that may arise, but we don’t need excess stock.”
Mr Lester said if Nissan Australia can keep up with vehicle supply – spearheaded by the new Nissan Juke city SUV – it can ensure the company comes out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic in a stronger position.
“We need to minimise the cost to our dealers,” he said. “We need to control the expenses through their business, and we need to ensure they are in the best possible position to turn a profit.”
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