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NISSAN PRESS CONFERENCE
GENEVA MOTOR SHOW 2012
6 March, 2012
Paul Willcox - Senior Vice President, Nissan in Europe -
Hi and good morning. Thanks for being here.
In the last 12 months, I hope we've captured your imagination with some interesting innovations.
The European launch of the all Electric Nissan Leaf is an obvious example. Nissan is clearly the leader in the introduction of battery technology and the multi award winning Leaf is definitely the product reference. We will come back to this later....
We also like to have fun..... projects like the Juke R concept shows just how extreme you can take a crossover. We took the heart of the iconic GTR..... its full Power, Performance and Technology and wrapped it in the body of the compact crossover the Juke. - ending up with a Juke on steroids......
Many of you and some of the 4 million plus online viewers said only Nissan could be crazy enough to build a car like Juke R.
We like that!
It's a great compliment - it reflects our pioneering spirit.
But projects like that did not distract us from achieving our stated goal at Geneva last year of becoming the number 1 Japanese brand in Europe.
Last year, Nissan grew market share in virtually every market in Europe. In fact, we were the fastest growing mainstream brand in Europe overall.
We're active in 47 countries, and those red areas on the map are all the markets in which we've grown. Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Russia, Spain, all the Nordic countries, Poland, Ireland and more.
Last year we were already the number one Japanese brand in the UK and Russia. We still are - and now we're also number one in France, Spain and Italy.
We've had our best ever sales performance in Europe - we've sold nearly 700,000 vehicles; that's up over 25% - around 140,000 more than last year.
That's not bad when you consider what a challenging year it's been for our industry. I want to thank you, our customers, our employees and our dealers for helping to make this happen.
So what are the main reasons behind this growth? Three things.
First: our European presence is critical. We're at home here: around a 7 billion Euro investment in manufacturing alone.
We've now got 4 factories with close on 15,000 employees building over 650,000 vehicles every year.
Last year saw a record 480,000 car come out of our award-winning factory in Sunderland alone, including the 1 millionth Qashqai.
And, impressively, it means that nearly 8 out of 10 cars that we sell in Europe, we've built in Europe.
Second: we are creating innovative cars that are focused on the European driver. That's why we don't just build cars in Europe, we also design and engineer them here.
We've invested billions in our design facility in Paddington London as well as our R&D facilities in the UK, Spain and Russia. Our mission? To bring exciting, relevant new cars to European customers.
The crossover segment - we invented it and we dominate it today. We challenged convention and created something new for customers by bringing together the best of two worlds. First Qashqai and now Juke, a bold little car which merges SUV and sports coupe design.
Who would have thought that this would work? Well, we did, and it does. Those 480,000 cars we built in Sunderland last year? They were almost all crossovers - over 300,000 Qashqais and 130, 000 Jukes, a huge success in its first full year of production.
And as you can see around you here today, there's much more to come.
Third: a huge, fresh emphasis around our retail partners.
We have opened 286 new retail outlets over the past 2 years but more importantly we have consistently improved the quality of the customer experience in both sales and aftersales.
We are determined to put customers first in our business..
So what's next?
At the Tokyo Motor Show we announced that NISMO was going to be launched globally.
Why is that exciting news?
Because NISMO is our legendary motor sports arm - the phenomenally successful team that won every race series we entered in 2011, from the GT-1 World Championship to the LMP2 class to the Japanese SUPER GT. What we learn on the road, we take to motor racing, and what we learn in motor racing, we take to the road. The winning NISMO formula is going to be extended to the Nissan product range.
At Tokyo, the Juke NISMO Concept was revealed, and I can announce today that this car will go into production.
Juke will be the first vehicle to take the NISMO brand into our mainstream product range. Expect to see it on the roads in Europe by the end of the year. It's another exciting milestone as we celebrate becoming the number one mainstream growth brand in Europe last year -- poised to become not only the number 1 Japanese brand but we believe, the number 1 Asian brand in Europe.
But that's not all. Andy...