By on May 13, 2013

Carlos Ghosn. Photo courtesy Bertel Schmitt.

Weaker than expected growth in the United States has led Carlos Ghosn to issue an even more ambitious goal; double Nissan’s sales by 2017.

Nissan North America sold 1,141,656 vehicles in the United States last year, with just over 1 million of those vehicles coming from the Nissan brand. To achieve Ghosn’s goal, Nissan will have to post 18 percent gains every year for the next four years.

Automotive News reports that some of the blame has been placed on production issues, while Nissan is also looking to boost efficiencies at the retail level to help increase sales. Nissan wants to double the number of unit sales per outlet by the end of fiscal year 2017, from 959. By comparison, Toyota sells 1,491 units per franchise while Honda sells 1,220. Adding dealers in the West, Midwest and Northeast is also a possibility.

To say that Nissan’s plan is aggressive is an understatement. When Volkswagen issued their call for 800,000 units in the United States, it set a target date nearly a decade into the future, and matched it with a strong product push targeted squarely at the tastes and budgets of U.S. consumers. While there’s still another 5 years to go, Volkswagen is already at 438,133 units in the U.S. as of last year.

With Europe in the toilet and Japan and China looking shaky, America is one side of Ghosn’s magic coin (the other being low cost cars), since it’s a locale where auto sales are not in freefall. Ghosn’s pursuit of marketshare for Nissan is reflected in the newest round of products, like the Versa, Sentra, Pathfinder and Altima, which emphasize comfort, interior space and value. In this context, their decision to slash prices to make their cars more competitive in online comparisons makes sense. With such a short timeframe and such a far-fetched target, every little bit will help move Nissan across the board.


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