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EVP Andy Palmer Talks Teana, China Outlook

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Feb. 26 – Guangzhou, China – Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer launched the all-new Teana in China on Tuesday, unveiling the flagship model central to expansion in the world’s biggest auto market.

Some 1,000 journalists and dealers attended the event, and afterwards Palmer spoke with the Global Media Center on the significance of the model and his outlook for the Chinese market.

Global Media Center:

You are in Guangzhou to launch the all-new Teana in the mainland market. How important is this model for Nissan’s business in China?

EVP Andy Palmer:

It doesn’t get any more important than this. This is the flagship of the Nissan range in China. This represents everything that we are about. It represents our innovation, technology, design and our expression of comfort. Basically, it’s an embodiment of innovation that excites.

Global Media Center:

You were in charge of this product from inception to execution. What went into it?

EVP:

Nissan EVP Andy Palmer at the global premiere of the all-new Teana in Guangzhou

It’s kind of a personal car. When I took over the product planning job, this car was just coming on to the drawing board. I had the good fortune to be able to see and steer this car right the way through its inception until tonight where we launched it to the world, so it’s a very personal project for me. I guess there’s a lot of me, a lot of our colleagues putting a lot of work into making the car what it is – a lot of technology, very much leading edge.

This car also represents the way I like cars to handle. It performs very well, has a very interesting multi-link suspension, a very powerful 2.5-liter engine combined with a CVT. Great fuel consumption, and you’ve got a lot of safety shield technology on here.

Trust is a very key part of selling here in China, and again, it embodies everything that the brand is about. I can go on about the merits of the car, but the important thing is that it just looks gorgeous.

Global Media Center:

Sales in January have shown an improvement since a sharp decline after tensions between Japan and China. When do you see a full recovery, or is there a longer-term impact?

EVP:

EVP Palmer with Nissan and Dongfeng Nissan executives

Nobody can absolutely say what’s happening, but I have to say that we are relatively upbeat.

We measure daily showroom traffic, we look at closure rates, we look at buzz metrics, we look at an awful lot of data and the data seems to be showing we are coming back strongly.

I’m pretty confident that we are going to overcome the difficulties that we had and the great beauty of the Nissan brand, is that it is a great brand. We do see the market coming back strongly, so I’m relatively upbeat.

Global Media Center:

Growth momentum has slowed in China and automakers face an increasingly competitive enviroment. What is your outlook for the market going forward?

EVP:

The all-new Teana is set to go on sale in China next month

We remain very bullish about the market. Before the island crisis and the political issues that happened, we were looking at an outlook of about 7% growth per annum. Even as we look forward beyond the relative tensions that existed for the last six months, we still see a market that is growing, certainly between 5% and 10%.

We don’t really see a great slowdown, we see continuing momentum. There’s an awful lot of people coming into the market.

What’s really interesting about this market is the change in the dynamics, where you have new generations of customers coming – never owned a car before, or if they did, then it would have been their parents’ (car), and they would have a very different attitude.

This car is about looking at young, entrepreneurial Chinese. It was very much designed with them in mind, and we think there will be robust growth from now into the future.

Automotive Trends, BRICs, Cars, China, Dealership, Design, Engineering, People, Product Launch, Production, Technology

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