18 jan 21

Innovation that matters: Nissan 2021

APAC is known for its highly diverse corporate fleet ecosystem, but nonetheless, part of the supply chain has true regional coverage, the products to match and a sales infrastructure that enables consolidation. Nissan is one of these Asian black swans; today we’re talking with Yasuhiro Konta, in charge of global corporate sales for Nissan and based out of Yokohama, Japan - the OEM’s global headquarter.

2020: Not a lost year

asuhiro Konta, in charge of global corporate sales for Nissan and based out of Yokohama, Japan - the OEM’s global headquarter.Even if 2020 was a challenging year for people and for businesses, Konta-san remains positive: “The dynamics in 2020 were definitely very different. When looking at sales figures, we did notice that the acquisition cycle has been disrupted; many fleet managers have postponed the renewals of their corporate fleets, which obviously has an impact on our performance.”

“But postponing does not mean cancellation. When talking to Fleet Managers, we have identified a behavioral shift that puts Nissan in pole position for years to come: an increased awareness of sustainability, a higher demand for digitization and, especially for Asia, more focus on services, such driver safety.”

The e-Power option

Nissan Leaf, the trailblazer of pure electric vehicles, is today available in over 50 countries across the world and has become the daily driver of close to half a million people. Having convinced the eco-conscious consumer, the global corporate trend towards sustainable transport is now redefining Leaf and Nissan’s e-Power models as a valid alternative for the ICE company car. 

Konta-san explains: “Electrification is now part of corporate fleet strategies - and for the right reasons. There’s obviously the ecologic aspect: most companies have set themselves ambitious objectives when it comes to carbon footprint and understand the need of integrating EVs into their fleets. Next to that, and especially with Nissan’s offering of affordable electric range, electrification has a positive impact on TCO. But, and this is very important, company car drivers really like e-POWER vehicles: they report that  its driving reduces stress since it provides one-pedal operation for both accelerating and braking, and  see a decrease of the number of accidents.”

The digital experience

Digitization is the buzzword of the year and has changed dramatically how businesses operate. We use Teams or Zoom to connect with our colleagues, locally hosted systems have been replaced by cloud-based systems, IoT has become the norm. Enterprise clients expect their suppliers to be just as forward thinking and Nissan wants to be at the front of innovation. Konta-san: “It’s important for us to be a leader in digital trends. Not only for car connectivity, which is a must-have for car manufacturers, but also in other areas, such as the buying process. We will be increasingly using AR/VR technologies to deliver the best possible experience to our buyers. Digitization needs to be implemented in the entire vehicle lifecycle process, from acquisition to disposal.”

From Commodity to Service

“Digital” however doesn’t mean that OEMs can’t cater for individual needs. Konta-san explains: “A car is, to some extent, a commodity. At Nissan however, we understand that there’s a need for de-commoditizing: today’s client expects to be treated as a service-buyer rather than as a buyer of disposable goods. Let me give you a few examples: we have discovered a need, especially with our global clients, for proactive safety initiatives. When you look at a company’s accident reports, you’ll find that more accidents happen in Asia than in Europe or US. This is why we are providing safe-driving courses to Nissan customers in APAC; these initiatives come in addition to the safety technologies we are integrating our vehicles.”

“Another example of our focus on service is how Nissan has organised its international sales. We have developed a true single point of contact strategy, which makes it so much easier for Procurement experts to source for a global OEM with on-the-ground expertise in APAC.”

Looking ahead

2021 will be a good year on the product side: “Corporate clients will see more electrified vehicles in all segments. We’re especially excited about the Ariya, Nissan’s first all-electric crossover SUV. Besides that, most of the world likes SUVs and we have the right models for each segment, from Juke Qashqai, X-trail to Terra. But let’s not forget the importance of compact vehicles, that are especially popular in Asian fleets. Here as well, we have a variety of models available that don’t compromise on safety.”

“In the end, we’re here to act as a partner for Fleet Managers, and in the context of the APAC Summit in January, we’re looking forward to demonstrating our expertise in Asia!”

Find out more and register

Want to know more about how Nissan can help you to develop your fleet electrification strategy in APAC? Don't miss the chance to meet Nissan representatives during the Global Fleet Summit APAC. More information about the programme, the speakers and registration can be found here.

We are looking forward to meeting you virtually on January 20th and 21st!