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Nissan eyes next phase in China

Nissan is moving to the next stage in China, boosting the role of homegrown talent as part of plans to better serve the world’s biggest auto market.

Chief Planning Officer Andy Palmer unveiled the Lannia Concept at Auto China 2014 in Beijing and emphasized the heavy involvement of local Chinese teams in market research as well as the car’s design.

“You can see that the car itself is much closer to a production type vehicle,” said Palmer. “So whilst we haven’t confirmed yet that this will definitely go into production, I think it’s definitely fair to say that we have every intention that this goes to market.”

The Lannia takes aim at the “Post-80s” generation of 240 million Chinese in their mid-20s to 30s.

“This design is something that the ‘Post-80s’ generation will buy. But it will depend on how Nissan can take the design DNA of the concept car into the production model and make sure people can see that,” said a visitor at the Nissan booth.

The “balinghou” generation is said to be digitally savvy, aspirational and the core driver of consumption in China — and beyond.

“I think this is really the first time that the industry has been turned around,” said Palmer. “We have China starting to start the trends and fashions of not only China, but also the rest of the world. I think it’s all captured in this concept car here, the Lannia.”

Nissan China chief Jun Seki says increased localization and a wider array of products in China will help the company meet ambitious growth plans.

“We have already grown very rapidly, but through those challenges, I want to go on to the next step,” said Seki. “We want to reach 10 percent market share. We want to reach 2 million unit sales, but more than that, we need to keep (our position) as Asian number one company, and Japanese number one company for a long time.”

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