Eight Is Enough: Nissan Leans on Familiar Future Strategy for Growth

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
eight is enough nissan leans on familiar future strategy for growth

Automakers perpetually talk about the future. They have to. As manufacturers, their entire business model revolves around bringing newer, better, and more desirable products to the market. Over the past few years, that has meant championing electric and autonomous vehicles — regardless of whether their consumer base (or the technology) is ready or not.

Nissan is no different in this regard, though it does appear to be taking a comparatively measured approach. Mercedes-Benz says it’ll have an electrified version of all of its models by 2022, Volvo promises to start doing the same by 2019, and Volkswagen Group wants 80 new electric vehicles across all of its brands by 2025. Meanwhile, Nissan is only shooting for eight new EVs by 2022.

That’s not to suggest the company won’t still blaze a trail for new powertrains, though. The strategy may just be a simple matter of not wanting to over-promise. As the company behind the the Leaf, Nissan is well aware of the benefits and pitfalls of a globally marketed electric car. However, its overall sales goal of 1 million electrified vehicles per year by 2022 remains ambitious and hinges on a market more eager for plug-in vehicles than it is today.

According to the automaker, the cornerstone of its “M.O.V.E. to 2022” midterm strategy will be new battery-electric vehicles and expanding the usage of its e-Power hybrid system. It also wants to get Infiniti models juiced up with electrons in 2021 and launch a major electric car offensive in China under various brands — which will be immensely important in ensuring EV delivery targets are met.

“Our product and technology strategy is dedicated to positioning Nissan to lead the automotive, technology and business evolution,” said Nissan’s chief planning officer Philippe Klein. “Our efforts are focused on delivering Nissan Intelligent Mobility, encompassing the three core elements of electrification, autonomous drive, connectivity and new mobility services.”

That means total internet connectivity on all vehicles wearing the Nissan, Infiniti, or Datsun badge by the early 2020s. The potential revenue streams for this are immense. Having an entire fleet of connected vehicles would allow an automaker to run a massive data mining side business. General Motors has already outlined its strategy for doing so and has begun partnering with businesses in preparation. But it’s not alone either; most major manufacturers are considering opening themselves up to data acquisition and in-car marketing opportunities over the next decade.

Connected cars also open up vehicles to app sales and help make automated driving hardware work more effectively. “The Alliance Connected Cloud will allow for all of the Alliance companies to integrate the data management of future, current and past connected vehicles – new models and those already on the road,” explained Ogi Redzic, senior vice president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services for the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. “It will support infotainment services, as well as a single communication mechanism to facilitate updates over the air for all vehicles.”

Nissan also wants to cram the ProPilot safety suite into 20 models in 20 markets by 2022. While not true autonomy, it does get the company one step closer to that goal.

Getting back to those new cars, Japan’s number two automaker is pretty tight-lipped on physical products. It says it will build an electric “kei” mini-vehicle for Japan and an electric crossover, inspired by the Nissan IMx Concept, for the global market. Beyond that, the rest of its forthcoming EVs are unknown. However, it did admit that the future lineup won’t be entirely composed of plug-in hybrids. The brand definitively said the eight new models its talking about will be pure electrics that may offer e-Power variants.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 23, 2018

    Nissan is hedging itself, which I think is a good move. I currently believe EVs and electrically assisted vehicles can go two ways. There is way too much faith placed in EVs and EVs so far have proven themselves to be expensive vehicles. ICE still has a way to go in efficiency and this will always challenge the idea that EVs are the best and most economical alternative. Many city dwellers drive a small amount of miles per year in short trips. Many on this site believe this is ideal for owning an EV. But, when you look at it from a dollar and cents perspective buying a $12 000 small car is attractive if you live in the city. The price difference in fossil fuel/energy use between the EV and the ICE car will take years to pay back the difference. Remember EVs do cost to "fill up" and are more expensive to get into.

    • See 1 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Mar 23, 2018

      SCE to AUX, I did a quick and rough calculation and the difference in price is at least four thousand gallons of gas, that's a lot of miles in an Econobox. If the Econobox is getting 30mpg in the city that's 120 000 miles or 10 to 12 years plus. I didn't consider maintenance for the ICE or maintenance and battery replacement for the EV or the cost of electricity to charge the EV. I read an interesting study commissioned by Ford years ago on diesel vs gasoline turbo. The outcome was the consumer is driven largely by the initial cost of stepping into a vehicle and to a much lesser extent the cost over life of the vehicle. This is why diesels in countries that penalise them and EVs where they don't get subsidies, like Australia struggle. Australia is a classic example on the real EV market without any subsidies.

  • TW5 TW5 on Mar 25, 2018

    Nissan thinks they are developing a new profit center, but building a corporate spy grid is more likely to get their executives thrown in jail. Ask Facebook whether it's a good idea to mine data and sell it to the highest bidder. Imagine how much worse the situation would be if Facebook were charging people for the privilege of being spied on. These companies need to sober up. Regulation and public condemnation are more likely outcomes than operating a lucrative corporate spy grid.

  • MaintenanceCosts All I want is one more cylinder. One more cylinder and I would happily pay the diesel fraud company almost whatever they wanted for it.
  • SPPPP US like Citroen - nothing moves.
  • Jeff S Corey--Thanks again for this serious and despite the lack of comments this is an excellent series. Powell Crosley does not get enough recognition and is largely forgotten even in his hometown of Cincinnati although the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Airport has 2 Crosley cars on display. Crosley revolutionized radios by making an affordable radio that the masses could afford similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T. Both Crosley and Ford did not invent the radio and the car but they made them widespread by making them affordable. I did not know about the Icyball but I did know about Crosley refrigerators, airplanes, cars, and radios.
  • Oberkanone C5 Aircross is the only vehicle that would have any appeal in North America. Can't see it doing well with Citroen badge, maybe a chance with Chrysler badge.
  • Oberkanone 1921 thru 1936 are the best
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