Despite Nissan motors being somewhat new in many Latin American countries, sales have been on the rise and the automaker intends to continue this trend throughout the 38-market region, according to general manager of global corporate sales Carlos Montenegro.
One thing the executive points out in our interview is the company’s electrification plan which involves the all-electric Nissan Leaf soon being launched in eight countries throughout the region.
Global Fleet: Could you give me a idea of Nissan’s coverage in Latin America?
Montenegro: Sure, Nissan LATAM was created in 2014 with an aim to accelerate the company’s performance as well as benefit consumers in the region. We operate in 38 markets in cooperation with 29 importers, more than 450 dealers, and four subsidiaries, being in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru.
In terms of manufacturing, Nissan LATAM has had a production plant in Resende, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro state) since 2014. We also have a new industrial project in Córdoba, Argentina (Córdoba province) which will start producing pickup trucks later this year.
The evolution of our market share to 4.7% (2018) from 3.2% (2013) reflects the commitment, continuous investment and consistent growth of Nissan in the region, even in the face of occasional uncertainties and volatility.
Global Fleet: Nissan sales are doing quite well in Mexico and some Central American countries. However, sales are not as robust in South America. Has performance been satisfactory for the company down south.
Montenegro: Overall, we see Nissan is being quite successful in Latin America as it achieved record sales in the region during its fiscal year 2017 (April 2017-March 2018). The company sold 207,000 vehicles during the period, representing a 14.3% increase year-over-year. Nissan is fast becoming a favorite brand in the region.
Global Fleet: Could you give me a breakdown of sales performance during this period, considering the main countries?
Montenegro: In Brazil, sales of Nissan vehicles saw an increase of 26% from the previous year. The Nissan Kicks, a car designed for the Latin American market, is doing quite well with a 13.7% market share in its segment after only two years since its launch.
In Argentina, Nissan achieved record sales in fiscal 2017, jumping 71.1% versus fiscal year 2016. Meanwhile, in Chile, sales rose 16%, positioning Nissan as fourth in market share. We led the SUV segment in the country for the second consecutive year, with a 12% market share.
As for Colombia, Nissan ended the fiscal year in third place while positioning itself as the highest-selling vehicle importer. We are also a leader in pickup sales with the Nissan Frontier.
Global Fleet: Finally, many are waiting for the arrival of the Nissan Leaf in Latin America. When will it arrive and in which countries should we expect it?
Montenegro: Nissan’s 100% electric, zero-emission LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in the world and the flagship of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision of moving people to a better world through more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity. More than 320,000 units have been sold since its launch in 2010.
In Latin America, the new LEAF will initially go on sale during this fiscal year (April 2018-March 2019) in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.
2018 Nissan Leaf (Source: Nissan)