Nissan North America Inc. did its part when it designed products that customers want. Now it's up to dealers to sell those products by improving customer handling and upgrading facilities.
Gartman said dealers are open to making improvements because Nissan has delivered on its promises. In 2000, sales volume increased while Nissan incentives decreased. Nissan and its dealers sold 673,737 vehicles — up from 604,575 in 1999.
William Kirrane, Nissan general manager, said about 78 percent of Nissan's dealers were profitable in 2000 and that the average dealer profit was about $458,000.
Jed Connelly, Nissan senior vice president of sales and marketing, said dealers at the meeting said the company's marketing strategy over the past two years has been on target. He said the company would not dramatically change that strategy as new products reach the market. Nissan will introduce 10 new products over the next three years.
"What we've done has been working; we're going to refine it and improve it, but we're not going to change the formula," Connelly said. "They have confidence that the products we have in the pipeline will help them and us get to the next levels."
Kirrane said some dealers at the meeting were concerned about the cost of the facilities upgrade program that will include standardized colors, dealership entrances and signs.
To help dealers, Nissan is creating three dealer subcommittees within the Nissan Dealer Advisory Board.
The subcommittees will focus on brand, sales and service process, and facilities, Gartman said. The subcommittees were formed in the past 90 days and have met once. They are to meet again in late February.