Nissan projects 40% increase in sales this year
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) expects its total vehicle sales to rise 40 percent this year from last year as it introduces new models and opens additional dealerships.

 “We expect 40 percent growth (in sales) from last year,” Nissan Philippines president and managing director Antonio Zara told reporters.

Data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. showed NPI sold a total of 7,473 units in 2014.

Zara said the company expects higher sales this year as it intends to launch new vehicle models.

The first to be rolled out this year is the new Navara pickup, which would be available by the end of February.

Apart from the introduction of new vehicle models, the firm likewise sees its sales growing as it expands its dealership network.

Zara said the plan is to add six more dealerships this year from the current total count of 28.

He said the firm will also be actively promoting the brand.

At present, NPI sells the following vehicle models: Almera, Altima, Sylphy, Urvan, Patrol Royale, Patrol Super Safari, Murano, Grand Livina, and X-trail.

The Almera and Urvan are assembled locally at the firm’s plants in Sta. Rosa in Laguna, while the rest are imported.

Zara said the firm’s plants are currently not fully utilized with one facility producing less than 2,000 units, against a capacity of around 20,000 units and another with an output of about 4,000 units versus its capacity of 10,000 units.

While its plants are underutilized, Zara said there are no immediate plans to add vehicle models to be locally assembled as the firm waits for the release of the automotive industry roadmap.

 “For us to carve out local assembly in the Philippines, we have to define niche and provide incentives,” he said.

The government is coming up with the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program aimed at supporting industry players and making the Philippines a regional auto manufacturing hub.

The government plans to extend $600 million worth of fiscal and non-fiscal support from its national budget to automotive firms under the program.

As for bringing the Datsun brand to the Philippines, Zara said the firm would look into opportunities here.

Datsun, which is owned by Nissan Motor Co., was phased out in the 1980s but revived last year to offer affordable vehicles in emerging markets like Indonesia, India and Russia.

ALMERA AND URVAN ANTONIO ZARA CHAMBER OF AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS OF THE PHILIPPINES COMPREHENSIVE AUTOMOTIVE RESURGENCE STRATEGY PROGRAM GRAND LIVINA INDIA AND RUSSIA NISSAN MOTOR CO NISSAN PHILIPPINES PATROL ROYALE PATROL SUPER SAFARI ZARA
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