TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. is moving toward uniform model names worldwide but is reluctant to abandon the equity it has built up in its existing brands, an executive in the company's brand management office says.
That means that names will be harmonized only as new models are launched, he said.
"Each model name has equity. We don't want to destroy that equity," said Akinari Okabe, deputy general manager for global naming in Nissan's brand management office.
"How can you unify March and Micra?" he asked rhetorically. The same compact model is sold in Europe as the Micra and in Japan as the March. Another example: Sentra in the United States and Sunny in Japan.
Going to global model names would be a sharp departure for Nissan, which, like several other Japanese automakers, uses different names in different markets.
Only two Nissan models use the same name in all markets: the X-Trail SUV and the Maxima sedan. Nissan hopes the next model to bear just one name will be the Murano sport wagon.
Nissan also plans to add the Xtronic CVT name to its list of global names. That is its term for Nissan's continuously variable transmission for large-displacement engines in front-wheel-drive cars.
Global branding is complicated further by Nissan's U.S. Infiniti Division, which uses alphanumeric names.