Nissan shakes up van dealer network
Thursday, May 10, 2007
The move is part of a massive reorganisation of Nissan's van dealer network in the UK. By the end of this year light commercials will be in the hands of around 50 specialist dealerships — including the Volvo operations — and they will be only ones that will sell the entire range.
Up to nine Volvo heavy truck outlets will soon be selling Nissan light commercials with a plan to increase the total to 15 over the next 12 to 18 months.
Volvo dealers are already selling Nissans in selected markets in mainland Europe and their involvement will make it easier for Nissan to market the Atleon light truck on this side of the Channel. It's due to be produced in right-hand drive guise from 2010 onwards.
As well as establishing a separate van network Nissan has set up a dedicated light commercial business unit run by newly-appointed commercial vehicle sales and marketing manager, Mark Lovett. Previously he was LCV fleet sales and brand manager with sister marque Renault.
“Establishing a dedicated unit is the route followed by most of the successful manufacturers in this market so that's the route we're following too,” he says.
The change should help Nissan achieve a big increase in van sales, Lovett reckons. “We've got the potential to become one of the UK's top five light commercial players and that's without including Navara pick-up,” he states. Nissan does not count Navara in its commercial vehicle sales figures.
Even before the new network is in place he's targeting a big upswing in registrations. “We want to see them increase by 22 per cent this year,” he says. “We're looking for a 22 per cent rise in Primastar sales alone — we reckon we're barely scratching the surface of the panel van market — and a 33 per cent increase in Cabstar sales.”