Renault and Nissan offer new incentives to halt sales decline

French focus on safety, Japanese on leasing deals

Bruehl, Germany. The new sales and marketing directors at Renault and Nissan in Germany have a challenge: Stop declining sales.

With around 181,000 unit sales in Germany in 2004, Renault's market share declined to 5.2 percent from 6.6 percent in 2003.

"Our aim is to sell 190,000 vehicles this year," said Achim Schaible, who has been head of Renault sales and marketing since June.

Schaible hopes to come closer to the 6 percent mark this year and to hold that share for the next few years.

At Nissan, Peter List has a careful goal for this year.

List wants to match last year's unit sales of 61,200 units for the Japanese importer.

List took his new post with Nissan Germany last month. He was previously head of Nissan Austria's sales and marketing department.

Nissan's European head Brian Carolin wants a market share of 3 percent by 2007, up from a 1.9 percent share last year.

To achieve their targets, both Renault and Nissan are offering new incentives.

Nissan is advertising a new leasing offensive until the end of April with well-known German hit songs. It is offering monthly leasing payment of 99 euros on five models.

Renault is returning to its safety marketing theme. Buyers are offered a discount of 5,000 euros on any of the seven Renault models that have been awarded five stars at the Euro-NCAP crash test.

Renault's Schaible hopes that the Modus minivan launched last September 2004 will boost unit sales. He aims to sell 30,000 Modus models this year.

Schaible wants to attract younger buyers for the Modus. So far most Modus buyers are 50 or older.

With a targeted conquest strategy, Schaible wants to take significantly younger customers from Ford, Volkswagen and Opel.

Renault and Nissan also are preparing for an increased demand for soot particle filters due to the debate over micro dust.

So far Renault only offers filters for the Vel Satis and Laguna models. By mid-year, there should also be filters for the Megane and Scenic, but filters for the small models will only be available in 2006.

Schaible said that there are no immediate plans for retrofit solutions.

Nissan has no filter in its range.

"Together with Renault we are currently examining the possibility of adapting a filter," List said.

But he expects some customers to change from diesel to gasoline-fueled cars.

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