ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nissan factory officials urged dealers to be prepared for a wave of new and updated products this year, especially as the brand tries a different approach to one launch.
The new Versa, which arrives in the first quarter, will make little use of traditional TV and print ads initially, relying instead on interactive marketing.
The youth-oriented small car will depend on Internet marketing to reach buyers, Brad Bradshaw, Nissan Division's general manager, said at the make meeting.
"You won't see the usual 30-second spots," Bradshaw said. "We've got to reach these customers where they live."
Nissan dealers are not used to competing in the entry-level segment, noted John Driebe, owner of Nissan of Elk Grove, Elk Grove, Calif., and chairman of the Nissan dealer council.
"It's a new area for us," Driebe said. "But it will mean new volume for us this year."
In his first dealer meeting since taking the top post last fall, Bradshaw answered questions about the year's product wave. Nissan is also bringing out a Quest minivan with a redesigned interior, a new-generation Sentra and a redesigned Altima.
Dealers also asked about getting more variations of the full-sized Ti-tan pickup, something that Nissan
is still contemplating, said Brad-shaw. That could include an extended bed.
"We want to be a full line," he said, noting that a lack of product variations is limiting sales.
Although Titan sales softened in the fall, they bounced back in December, he pointed out. Nissan sold 86,945
Titans in 2005 - still less than one-tenth of Ford F-series truck sales.
Jed Connelly, Nissan senior vice president for sales and marketing, told dealers they had achieved the highest level of total dealer profitability in the franchise's history.
The company also updated dealers on the upcoming relocation of its headquarters from Los Angeles to Nashville, Tenn. About 86 percent of senior sales and marketing executives will remain for the move, the company said during the meeting.
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