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Nissan to build on record fleet figures in 2013

Speaking to Fleet World, Pollock said the brand's fleet plans are based on improved communication and further growth of its business centre network as well as new product.

Despite unconventional crossover models in key B and C-segments, the brand has increased its fleet sales by 40% between 2009 and 2012, doubling the market growth rate. Pollock attributes this to a wider acceptance of the crossover segment that makes up the backbone of its range, and the additional 119g/km 1.6 dCi engine in the big-selling Qashqai.

From 61,000 last year, 2013 fleet sales predictions are between 63,000 and 65,000, helped by a new Note that will emit less than 100g/km CO2 for the first time. Corporate marketing will be based around accessible innovation, such as the 360-degree Around View Monitor parking assistance system, cheaper entry price and higher volume of the Sunderland-built LEAF and e-NV200 electric van.

A conventional C-segment hatchback is due to begin production in Europe shortly, expected to complement rather than cannibalise sales from the Qashqai, and the motorsport-bred Nismo branding will be rolled out to other models as a user-chooser friendly trim level similar to sports-styled versions offered by rivals.

The carmaker has also launched an extended warranty on electric vehicle batteries, now five years and 60,000 miles and backdated for existing owners, which Pollock said should help residuals for the LEAF as well as the e-NV200 when it launches. All of the network has had sales training for electric vehicles, with charging posts and servicing training to follow, which will benefit potential e-NV200 customers.

The Business Centre network, which totals 72 nationwide, is set to grow to 90 by the end of the year and Nissan is reviewing what’s required to service the full range of fleet sizes and model mixes. Account managers in the leasing industry are seen as a key priority, often the advocates of vehicles to customers in the SME market who now make fewer dealer visits when choosing cars.

Pollock said: ‘We’re very much in the core fleet market, and building that brand position around being accessible, credible and easy to do business with. We’ve got a product range that has the ability to provide for all of these fleets, we want a heightened level of awareness and to have a credible support network through our Business Centres to deal with it.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.