Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational car manufacturer. With headquarters in Nishi-Ku, Yokohama, the organization sells its vehicles under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands. It also produces performance-tuning products called Nismo.
Japan's second largest automotive company serves the global market with more than 200,000 employees and an expansive product lineup that includes sedans, minivans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), pickup trucks, light cars, zero emission vehicles, and specialty cars.
Nissan's long history started in 1911 with the establishment of Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works by Masujiro Hashimoto. The firm engaged in domestic automobile production, manufacturing the DAT car three years later. In 1919, the organization launched the Model 41 DAT, which is known to be Japan's first single-body casting four-cylinder engine.
To increase the sales performance of its products, Kwaishinsha put up DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd. in 1925. In the following year, a seven-year old automobile factory operator called Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo Co., Ltd. was merged with DAT Jidosha Trading Company, resulting in the establishment of DAT Jidosha Seizo Co., Ltd. In 1931, DAT Jidosha Seizo became as subsidiary of Tobata Casting Co., Ltd., a producer of automobile parts. It then developed its first 495cc compact size passenger vehicle. One year later, the firm renamed itself as Datsun.
In 1933, Nihon Sangyo Co., Ltd invested in the organization, whose name was changed to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, in the following year. The year 1940 saw Nissan shipping its first knockdown (KD) units in Dowa Jidosha Kogyo in Manchuria. KD units are fully dissembled automotive parts that the end-user can put together. In the following year, Nissan came out with the Truck Model 180 and Bus Model 190.
During the Second World War, Nissan stopped production of its commercial cars and trucks but manufactured military vehicles to assist in the war efforts. In the next 10 years post-war, the Allied forces controlled Nissan's manufacturing operations.
Nissan started to export passenger cars to the United States in 1958, introducing models such as the Datsun Bluebird Model 310 and the Nissan Truck Model 680. In 1960, a subsidiary was established in the United States.
By 1989, Nissan had hit the 50 million units mark in terms of cumulative production.
Nissan formed an alliance with French automaker Renault in 1999. The partnership aimed to leverage each brand's markets: Asia, the United States and Mexico for Nissan and Europe, Turkey and South America for Renault. Mitsubishi Motor Corporation would later be brought into the fold. In 2016, Nissan secured a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors.
The appointment of Universal Motors Corporation (UMC) as the authorized assembler and distributor of Datsun cars and pickups in 1969 marked Nissan's entry into the Philippine market. UMC assembled models such as the Nissan Modeil 620 and the Datsun 720 Cab, both of which are pickup trucks, and conducted pre-delivery inspection of the Nissan Cedric and Nissan Bluebird.
In a joint venture with Marubeni, Nissan Motor Philippines put up Pilipinas Nissan, Inc. (PNI) to assemble and distribute Nissan passenger vehicles in 1983. In 1991, PNI was renamed Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI). Nine years later, the Yulon group took control of NMPI.
Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) was finally established in 2013, unifying Nissan's operations and sales in the country. It is a joint venture involving Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, Universal Motors Corporation, and Yulon Investment Co. Ltd (Yulon). Nissan owns 51% shares of the company, while UMC and Yulon hold 24.5% each.
Today, Nissan Philippines has 43 dealerships located in key cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. All dealerships are equipped with Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative (NREDI), which is the organization's global retail visual identity. It also has branches in Camarines Sur, Palawan, and Zamboanga. Nissan used to manufacture several car models in the Philippines, but now it is down to just one – the Almera. The company assembles Almeras in its facility in Santa Rosa, Laguna, making use of a lot of local content for the vehicle.
Nissan has a comprehensive product lineup, but those currently available in the Philippines include the Almera, Sylphy, and GT-R in the sedan segment; the Juke, X-Trail, Terra, and Patrol Royale in the SUV space; and the Navara and NV350 Urvan in the pickup truck/van segment. Among these models, the more famous ones would be the Navara, the Urvan, the Almera, and the Terra.
The Navara is easily Nissan's best selling model since it was introduced to Filipino customers in 2015. This pickup truck is available in 10 variants, all of which use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel engine as standard but tuned in different ways. Buyers are given the choice of 5x2 and 4x4 variants, which may be paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission options. This model is known for its powerful engine, bold styling, and premium interiors.
The Urvan, which is also marketed as Caravan in other countries, is one of the top-selling minivans in the world. In the Philippines, the Urvan is almost synonymous to road trips with big groups of friends or family. This model has built a reputation for reliability and generous seating capacity. Locally, the Urvan is available in one engine option – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel workhorse mated to either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearbox. It is sold in four different variants, namely standard 15-seater, Standard 18-seater, Premium M/T, and Premium A/T.
The Almera is a subcompact sedan that boasts of good fuel efficiency and generous cabin space. This car uses a 1.5-liter petrol engine paired with either a five-speed or a four-speed automatic transmission. It is also available in 1.2-liter manual gearbox option. Its long wheelbase results in a roomy interior and a 442-liter boot space that many Almera owners rave about.
Having been launched only in May 2018, the Nissan Terra is a new kid on the block aimed at taking a slice of the SUV market dominated by the Toyota Fortuner. It is based on the platform used by the Navara, with which it shares several commonality including the cabin layout and engine option. Developed specifically for Asian customers, the Terra is available in just one engine option – a 2.5-liter diesel powertrain. Buyers, however, may choose between a rear-wheel drive version with six-speed manual transmission or a four-wheel drive variant that comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. This model entered the market on a strong note, having received a five-star safety rating form the New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN NCAP).
Nissan had a global retail sales volume of roughly four million units for the first nine months of its 2018 fiscal year ending in December 2018. This represents a 2.1% drop from the same period in 2017. Its Asian business units contributed 33% to this figure, mainly because of robust demand from China.
From a production volume standpoint, Nissan registered close to four million units, a 3.6% drop from a year prior. Asia again emerged as the biggest contributor with 37%.
In the Philippines, Nissan cars have been widely embraced by Filipino car owners. It is usually included in the list of five best-selling car brands in the country. In fact, in 2018, the Philippines was one of the top export destinations of Nissan Thailand, which has so far exported one million vehicles to over 115 countries. Despite overall automotive market slowdown due to the increased excise tax put on vehicles by the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) law, Nissan Philippines managed to post a 40.6% improvement in sales in the first three quarters of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, according to date from Chamber of automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID). This allowed Nissan to overtake Ford as the third best-selling brand in the country in terms of sales volume during the stated period.
Nissan actively capitalizes on its three-way alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors to grow its business and advance its technological pursuits. The alliance has 450,000 employees and 122 manufacturing plants worldwide, selling 1.076 million cars in 2018.
It had already merged many operations with Renault, who has been in alliance with Nissan for the past ten years, in the areas of production technologies, research and development, purchasing and personnel management, and logistics. In 2018, the two companies commenced joining forces on quality control, after-sales service, and customer management.
In Southeast Asia, Nissan is leveraging its affiliate Mitsubishi's strong presence to improve its own footing in the region. Among the three alliance members, Mitsubishi has sold the greatest number of vehicles in Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, Mitsubishi has opened training facilities that cater to dealerships' service technicians and sales clerks, and Nissan has been given access to such. In August 2019, both manufacturers will jointly put up warehouses to store service parts and other materials. This year, Mitsubishi will also start suppling the XPANDER minivan, which is built in Indonesia, to Nissan. The latter will market the model under a different Nissan brand.
In their home base in Japan, Nissan and Mitsubishi have a joint venture to develop and release an electric minicar in the early 2020s. Under the plan called Nissan Energy, Nissan aims to create a sound electric vehicle ecosystem so that owners of such cars can make the most out of their units. The organization will also come up with innovative ways to reuse electric car batteries. Nissan has already made headway in the Japan, the United States, and Europe with this plan. Through key initiatives, namely Nissan Energy Supply, Nissan Energy Share, and Nissan Energy Storage, Nissan Energy will form new standards for linking cars to energy resources.