Editorial: The Future Is Here At Nissan – Just Not In The Way You're Expecting

The big news this past week from Nissan: lots of old iron at Pebble Beach, concept car test drives for sympathetic journalists and a pledge to have autonomous cars ready (but not on sale) for 2020. More interesting than that is news of Nissan’s booming exports from America. Some say that this is the “new normal” – Japanese OEMs expanding their manufacturing base in America as they leave Japan en masse to both insulate themselves from a volatile yen, take advantage of America’s welcoming manufacturing climate and shed a reliance on Japan’s aging and declining population. And even more interesting than that is how it was presented.

The clip above, which is packaged like a broadcast news report, actually comes from Nissan’s internal communications team in Tokyo. Rather than just issuing a press release, Nissan is looking to have an even greater role in influencing the conversation (awful word I know, but it’s apt). They aren’t just disseminating information to journalists: they are cutting them out entirely. Whatever discussions we may have at TTAC over the efficacy of automotive media or the competency of its press corps, this is a significant development. I don’t think it’s inconceivable that one day, brands will have a stranglehold on the automotive discourse.

Press cars and press trip invites are one way that brands currently manage who has access to product and people, and these are used as both carrots and sticks. In a way, it’s hard to fault PR people for this practice. PR staff, by definition, are committed to disseminating their client’s story, even if it runs counter to the findings of a journalist. Not caring about these perks is one way to subvert the established order, as former EIC Ed Niedermeyer successfully did during his tenure. Even when doing so, it’s possible to get information from internal sources and third-party outlets. But Nissan appears to be going a step further.


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  • DR1665 DR1665 on Aug 28, 2013

    "I don’t think it’s inconceivable that one day, brands will have a stranglehold on the automotive discourse." Perhaps, from an automotive media perspective, in which case I'll be quietly cheering for the en masse starvation of shills more interested in serving advertisers than subscribers. That said, so long as there are owner/enthusiasts out there who love their machines, no corporation will ever truly own the message. OEMs would be well advised to reallocate some of their huckster sycophant budget to sourcing content from people who actually bought and live with the vehicles on a daily basis. If you want something done right...

  • Lie2me Lie2me on Aug 28, 2013

    I think this great for honest automotive reporting. Once auto makers think they have a "stranglehold" on the output of information they'll cut out the perks to journalist and they can report on cars without the memory of some wonderful golf outing supplied by the company who's car he's reporting on distracting him from clear objectivity.

  • Fred This owner likes the odd ones as it looks like Triumph Stag in the garage.
  • Bwell Glad to see Crosley getting his due. Maybe not a genius but a great innovator. It's a shame that his company, which was hugely successful, just sort of faded away.One quibble - UC is not in College Hill but in Clifton, or more properly University Heights.
  • JMII "Some U.S. automakers have even begun considering bringing back discounts and incentives which were scrapped during the pandemic as supply constraints became a major issue."If sales drop off then this is the cure. Economics 101. Its about time people realized that paying over MSRP is stupid. I have held off purchasing a new vehicle for almost a full year now due to current conditions.My wife would love to have an EV but at current prices its just not happening. However the same is true for ICE vehicles. Vehicle prices are just too high overall right now and our current fleet continues to function perfectly so we see no reason to upgrade. I could careless what the Jone's down the street do or think.
  • TheEndlessEnigma More Ferrari "quality".
  • EBFlex This is not news. People don’t want autonomous vehicles just like they don’t want EVs. Both are unnecessary and dangerous.
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