Nissan names Mexico exec to head sales for U.S., Canada; Carolin to retire
Muñoz' full new title will be senior vice president, sales and marketing, U.S., Canada & Latin America.
NASHVILLE -- José Muñoz, who has spent the past three years helping to solidify Nissan's position as Mexico's biggest brand, will take over the automaker's top U.S. and Canadian sales and marketing operations next year.
Muñoz, 47, senior vice president over Latin America, will additionally take the title of senior vice president for sales and marketing for the United States and Canada, responsible for both Nissan and Infiniti, effective April 1, 2013.
He will replace Brian Carolin, 56, who will retire from his position as senior vice president for North American sales and marketing, which he has held since 2008, Nissan said in a statement Tuesday.
The change comes as Nissan's wish to overtake Honda as America's No. 2 import brand proves hard to fulfill. Nissan's market share has fallen this year while Honda's has risen.
Muñoz' full new title will be senior vice president, sales and marketing, U.S., Canada & Latin America. He continues to have responsibility for customer quality and dealer network development for the entire Americas region.
The promotion is clearly a reward for 42 months of sales leadership in Mexico.
Muñoz has been hard-charging in building Nissan as the No. 2 import brand of Latin America behind Toyota. He came to the Mexico job in 2009 from Nissan of Spain, where he had been a managing director. He holds a doctoral degree in nuclear engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, as well as an MBA for Spain's Insitituto de Empresa Business School.
Nissan now holds a 25 percent market share in Mexico and is building market share and assembly plants in Mexico and Brazil.
While running the Mexican business unit, Muñoz brought new order and efficiency to the brand's Mexican dealer base, signing on new dealers and weeding out under-performing retailers. (Click here for his corporate biography.)
Both Carolin, who plans to return to his native England next year, and Muñoz came from Nissan's European operations, which has increasingly been the source for top U.S. management at Nissan.
Carolin had been responsible for introducing the Infiniti brand in Europe in 2004, and had help top sales and marketing positions at Nissan Europe during his 28 years with the automaker.
All executives in the Americas region report to Colin Dodge in Japan, who holds the title of Americas chairman. Dodge also came from Nissan's European operations.
In the statement released Tuesday by Nissan Americas, Dodge commended Carolin for leading Nissan's U.S. market share gains since 2008 to 8.2 percent, including the Infiniti brand.
For the 11 months of this year, Nissan North America's market share has fallen, from 8.2 percent in Nov. 2011 to 7.9 percent now. The company's vehicle sales are actually up -- 1,042,366 in 2012 versus 941,607 in the first 11 months of 2011. But Nissan's U.S. competitors Toyota and Honda have made bigger comebacks this year from their supply shortages of 2011. Toyota has added 1.7 percentage points of market share so far this year.
Dodge has expressed his desire for Nissan to overtake Honda as the No. 2 import brand in the United States. One year ago, it was closer than it is now. Nissan brand held a 7.4 percent share while Honda brand held an 8.1 percent share. As of the end of November, Honda's share was up to 8.8 percent while Nissan's stood at 7.1.
"José has a solid record of success and brings robust experience into his new role," the statement quoted Dodge, "and I am confident that his leadership will continue to drive company growth as we aim for further market share growth in the U.S. and Canada."
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