March 7, 2012
Interview with EVP Andy Palmer at the Geneva Motor Show
Minutes before unveiling Nissan’s world premiere concept cars – the Hi-Cross crossover and the Invitation hatchback – Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer spoke with the Global Media Center about record growth in Europe, the business of brand, and what consumers can expect from the King of the Crossover.
Q1. What makes the Geneva show important for Nissan’s brand image now?
EVP Andy Palmer: This show is really important for us. It’s important globally because obviously it gives us an opportunity to do some world premieres of some new concepts. It’s probably one of two of the most important shows in Europe.
It’s particularly relevant right now for Nissan in Europe because we’ve just had a record month. We’ve just broken the 4% mark in market share, which is fabulous, and globally we’re having such a great time. We’re probably going to end this year above 4.7 million cars, which, again is a record. The previous year was a record. The previous year was a record. There’s virtually no other car company that is growing at the speed that we are. And that allows us to reinvest in the brand, it allows us to reinvest in some of these terrific concept cars that you’ll see us unveil on the stand today.
Q2. What is the significance of the new vehicle concepts for Nissan, in terms of expectations for its European growth?
EVP: We’re at a point in time now where we can really start to show what our brand stands for – innovation and excitement for everyone. Now obviously to be real, that needs to be embedded in the products, it needs to be in the DNA of the product. And what we’re seeing now is that we’ve had sufficient time in the development process that you can really start to see that innovation and excitement in the cars.
We’re doing three concept cars today. We’re doing the e-NV200. We’re doing the Invitation, which is the next generation compact B-segment car. And we’re doing the Hi-Cross. Two of the cars, as you can see behind me, are covered.
Let’s go and have a look at the e-NV200, which is really an interesting car and demonstrable of what the brand stands for. It’s an LCV. Maybe that’s not the most exciting way to start the conversation. But it demonstrates the “For Everyone” in our brand. Basically, we’re the car company that can provide cars for everyone, in every segment in the world. You know that at the end of Nissan Power 88, we will cover 92% of the segments globally.
The LCV is an important part of that. But why just leave it as being LCV. You’ve got the “For Everyone”, but how do you bring innovation and excitement? Well, here, there’s no better way of showing innovation than to make a 100% electric LCV capable of carrying passengers, capable of carrying goods. And, of course, excitement. Excitement? Absolutely. This car is going to be the next New York City taxi – that’s really exciting. And, by the way, when you drive the car, because of the low center of gravity, it’s actually fun to drive as well.
It really encapsulates everything that Nissan is: Innovation and excitement for everyone.
Q3. Another thing that Nissan is, is King of the Crossovers. How does the Hi-Cross fit into this?
EVP: Indeed, you can see over there, there’s a little igloo that is hiding the car. We invented the crossover. We invented the Murano. We invented the Qashqai. We invented the Juke. It’s only natural that, given the brand DNA, that we would try to push the boundaries and invent something new, and the Hi-Cross is really a glimpse into the future about what the crossover might look like going forward. And you can see the Nissan design language being expressed in that car. It’s a hybrid, which is obviously key to our Pure Drive. If you will, it’s a symbol of Pure Drive. There’s so much criticism that maybe 4x4s are big polluters. Well, they don’t need to be. They could be hybrid, they could be electric. They could be fuel cell.
This is an example of how we can bring innovation: our two-clutch-one-motor hybrid system into a 4×4 context and executing it in a beautiful package.
Nissan Global Media Center