A recent change in the reporting structure at Nissan Motor Co. has united the automaker’s Infiniti and Nissan brands in Canada under a single banner, allowing the two to take a joint approach to regional sales and better share resources, according to Steve Milette, president of Nissan Canada Inc. (NCI).
Infiniti’s Canadian unit previously reported into its American and global affiliates separately from Nissan Canada, Milette said. But as of April 1, Infiniti Canada has become a “full-fledged business unit” inside NCI. The newfound regional autonomy puts the company first and brands second, he told Automotive News Canada.
“Now, we make whatever the best decision is for our Canadian market.”
At the helm of just Nissan in Canada prior to the change, Milette is now overseeing the Infiniti brand as well, he said. Infiniti Canada Managing Director Steve Rhind reports to Milette under the new structure.
The Nissan and Infiniti brands remain entirely separate, Milette said, but the back offices are now integrated and sharing tools.
“It’s all the behind the scenes that’s fully synergized.”
In the current automotive climate dominated by supply constraints, the tie-up will also allow the brands to work more closely with production decision makers.
Instead of Nissan Canada pushing for greater Pathfinder production, and Infiniti Canada championing production of its comparable QX60, for instance, Milette said NCI can now take a more holistic approach, advocating for what works best for the region.
“Over time, it will allow us to balance the plant with the brand that makes sense for our market. We can flow from one to the next and not feel like we’re competing with each other because it’s the same family.”
Sales of both brands in Canada have struggled through the pandemic, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center in Detroit. Nissan sales totaled 92,567 last year, compared to 123,755 in 2019. Infiniti sales were 5,838 in 2021 compared to 10,974 in pre-pandemic 2019.
Nissan’s joint Canadian unit reports to Jérémie Papin, the global automaker’s senior vice-president overseeing the Americas.