YOKOHAMA, Japan — In a glimpse of what changes Nissan Motor Co. has in mind for the next five years, officials here said last week that the automaker wants 9,000 of its dealerships around the world to be renovated during the period.
They did not provide details on that goal, or a market-by-market breakdown of where it will occur. And it was not immediately clear just how aggressively the company will pursue overhauling its stores around the world, including in the U.S.
Nissan already has been rolling out a new design look for its dealerships in North America, called NREDI 2.0, referring to the latest generation of its store architecture and design standards, the Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative. Nearly 20 Canadian dealerships have undergone Nissan’s Retail Environment Design Initiative. But the automaker has given its U.S. retailers considerable flexibility on when they implement it.
The design standards, which include more prominent signage, enhanced customer-handling procedures and broad, open showrooms and service departments, have not been required unless a dealership is new construction or a store renovation is already planned.
About 400 stores in 30 countries have been built or renovated under the overall program. U.S. dealers who have implemented the changes have told Automotive News that they have experienced increases in both sales and service business.
But 9,000 renovations would represent most of Nissan's stores worldwide. The Nissan Group, including Infiniti and Datsun, has approximately 10,000 dealerships in 160 countries, according to its global website. The Nissan brand has 200 dealerships in Canada and about 1,100 in the United States.
The plan was revealed at a press briefing in Japan that primarily was devoted to product initiatives in that market.
Nissan North America issued a statement saying it will work with North American dealers who are interested in the new standards, "but the dealer will ultimately make their own decisions on implementation."
The company said its goal of enhancing customer experience "will be accomplished both through improvements in showroom design and the use of technology to make the purchase and service experience easier and more transparent," it said. "We have already seen strong progress in customer satisfaction as a result of recent initiatives such as the effective use of tablets in the sales and service environment."
The topic came up here as Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci and Senior Vice President Asako Hoshino, who leads operations in the Japan market, met with the media to announce how Nissan specifically intends to strengthen its position in Japan as part of its multiyear global midterm business plan.
"The relationship between dealers and customers is changing, with customers expecting a more digital and customized experience," Schillaci said.
The renovation plan was overshadowed by the announcement that Nissan will bring eight electrified vehicles to market in Japan over the next five years: three full electric vehicles and five of the company's e-Power range-extender hybrids.
Through the rollouts, Nissan wants 40 per cent of Japan sales to be electrified in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. The target ratio will jump to more than half by March 31, 2025.
"We believe our domestic market will be one of the fastest-moving toward electrification," said Schillaci. "Japan remains the center of our vision to move people into a better world."
Among the new electrified vehicles for Japan is an all-electric crossover based on the IMx concept vehicle shown at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, Schillaci said. It will be a global vehicle and get autonomous driving technology. It will arrive in the early 2020s, Schillaci said.
Another vehicle will be a Japan-only minicar.
Infiniti will get a full electric vehicle nameplate in 2021, Schillaci added.
The targets flesh out the midterm plan, called M.O.V.E. to 2022, unveiled by CEO Hiroto Saikawa last fall. As part of the plan, Nissan Motor Co. wants to lift global annual revenue during the period to $150 billion from the $120 billion it booked in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017.