NEW YORK -- Jose Munoz, who led Nissan's market leading team in Mexico, comes to the United States with a big sales bogey.
His boss, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, wants the automaker to increase its share of the U.S. market to 10 percent by 2016. But Nissan North America, including the Infiniti brand, had an 8.1 percent share through February, down from 9 percent in the same period last year. That follows a drop in all of 2012 to 7.9 percent, from 8.2 percent in 2011.
"I do believe it's achievable, and we'll do everything we can to do it properly," Munoz told Automotive News at the auto show here.
Munoz, a native of Madrid, Spain, now holds an array of titles within Nissan. He becomes senior vice president of sales and marketing for North and South America and of customer quality and dealer network development, effective April 1. That puts him in charge of Nissan's dealers in North and South America.
With the 10 percent share goal in mind, Munoz says he has visited 150 U.S. dealers and studied the market. He says he sees potential for growth.
"I see that we can do much better in several regions of the U.S. -- in the West region, in the Midwest region, even in the Northeast region, we can do better," he said.
Munoz adds that there are several product segments in which Nissan can improve: compact cars, mid-sized sedans, compact SUVs and especially full-sized pickups.
While he sees potential improvements in the dealer network, Munoz says a major expansion is unnecessary.
"In some areas, I believe, we have a lack of representation, and obviously we will try to have representation," he said. "In others, we may have too many."
But, he added, "All in all, I would say the size of our network is relatively correct."