Nissan is pulling out a secret weapon as it pushes for more market share in the U.S.: Mexican car dealers.
Not U.S. car dealers of Mexican or Hispanic ancestry - but retailers from Mexico, who Nissan believes can electrify certain markets across the United States.
Nissan is helping to usher a number of Mexican retail groups into dealerships in California, Texas and possibly Florida and Illinois as part of CEO Carlos Ghosn's drive to increase U.S. market share.
"They are big dealer groups who have been very successful with Nissan, and they want to continue to grow with us," says Jose Munoz, Nissan's hard-charging chairman for North America. "To me, it's very good. We are leaders in Mexico, and I don't see us being limited by borders."
Munoz, in his former job as head of Nissan Mexico, helped push the brand and its local retailers to their current No. 1 market position.
It is a two-pronged strategy for Nissan.
First, it wants to tap into a group of high-performing and fast-growing Mexican retail groups that last year delivered to Nissan an enviable 26.2 percent share of the Mexican auto market.
Second, Nissan believes the timing could not be better to introduce Spanish-speaking sales organizations to select markets as Hispanic demographics explode across the U.S.
"We have a strategy to reach consumers of all kinds, but the Hispanic consumer is a key focus for us," Munoz says. "Nissan is well-known in Mexico. And if those customers come to the United States, I believe they will buy Nissan vehicles here, too."