Thursday, October 20, 2016
NISMO is Serious About Expanding Their Business
To the average person, Nissan isn’t regarded as a sporty brand. Outside the sub-culture of drifters, where Sylvias and Cefiros perform excellently, the lack of souped-up Sentras or Teanas plying the streets of Manila create a misconception that Nissan doesn’t have a strong motorsports heritage (as if riced-up cars are sporty). Boy, that thinking is so wrong. See, Nissan has been heavily invested in motorsports. Since the 1960s, the company operated the Oppama Works and Omori Works to serve the needs of its privateer and factory operations respectively.
However, it was only in 1984 when Nissan decided to merge these two operations together that a single rallying point emerged. Enter: NISMO. Since then, NISMO has been synonymous in making Nissans go faster. Not only are they responsible for developing and selling competition cars, engines, and parts but they also make performance parts, tuning kits, and even full-on Performance Packages for road cars. Throughout the years, NISMO has had a hand in extracting more performance on everything from an Almera to a Juke to even Godzilla itself, the GT-R.
Nissan and NISMO are no strangers to Super GT as they’ve been taking part in the series since 1994. Throughout the years, they not only race, but design and develop the cars as well. Since then, they’ve won 11 Driver’s and 11 Team’s Championships making them the most winning manufacturer. And showing adaptability to ever-changing regulations, they’ve also won the top-tier GT500 class four out of the last five years.
Though the race itself served as the weekend’s main highlight, it’s also worth noting that Nissan’s increased promotion of its NISMO brand is newsworthy in itself. Currently, NISMO is re-aligning itself, serving not just as Nissan’s performance brand, but as a personalization brand as well. Regardless, they aim to offer “the ultimate essence of innovation and excitement”.
According to NISMO President and CEO Mr. Takao Katagiri, NISMO’s current contribution to Nissan is small: something in the range of three to five percent of annual sales. Comprised of “Performance Seekers”, these customers are looking for something race or performance-oriented. Served by the NISMO S and RS lines, this core market is satisfied by a holistic approach that gives increased power, handling, and braking performance. Examples of this would be the NISMO GT-R, 370Z NISMO, and the Juke RS.
However, realizing the potential of a wider target market, NISMO is now aiming for a second market segment: the “Highlife Seeker”. These are customers who don’t necessarily want something performance-oriented but want their cars to stand out. Catering to this segment, there’s now a bigger range of exterior, interior, and handling upgrades. Not only is this their way to penetrate to a wider audience, but it also allows them to penetrate emerging markets, particularly those with no prior presence of NISMO. Ultimately it also serves as an entry-point for a complete car in the future. Currently, the likes of the Almera and X-Trail benefit from this Performance Package. In fact, Mr. Katagiri has identified four key vehicle segments which can benefit from an increased NISMO presence.
With Nissan finally putting a spotlight on NISMO, things are indeed looking much more exciting. By levering on their impressive motorsports performance and heritage, it’s only going to be a matter of time when Nissans become much more exciting to look at and more involving to drive. Mr. Hiroshi Tamura, the GT-R’s Chief Engineer said it best when he said that there’s a bit of GT-R in every Nissan. Although it may seem like wonderful PR speak at the time, it looks like he wasn’t kidding. Nissan is serious about NISMO and that could very well pave the way for an entirely new breed of Nissan cars.