NASHVILLE -- Nissan Division sales are up 5.4 percent so far this year -- better than Honda and Toyota's results. But that apparently is not enough to satisfy the automaker as CEO Carlos Ghosn counts down the final 15 months of his multiyear plan for bigger market share and operating margin.
With combined Nissan and Infiniti market share stalled at 8.5 percent after 12 months of new model launches and aggressive marketing, Nissan changed its North American management team to step things up.
Fred Diaz, 49, senior vice president of U.S. sales and marketing and operations, stepped down to a new vice president-level job created to fan flames over the redesigned Titan pickup truck, which launches in a matter of days.
Replacing him is an up-and-coming dynamo from Nissan's affiliation with Renault, Christian Meunier. Meunier will oversee Nissan North America's U.S. sales and marketing as it tries to turbo-boost the combined Nissan-Infiniti market share to the 10 percent share that Ghosn expects by the end of March 2017.
Meunier, 48, will also serve as chairman of Nissan Canada, where he has been president for the past three years, and where he has driven Nissan brand's market share from about 5 percent to 6.2 percent through November.
In announcing those management changes and a slew of others, Nissan specifically explained they are "intended to strengthen the company's progress towards its 'Power 88' mid-term business plan goals," Ghosn's name for the market share and profitability drive.
Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz said the changes "will strengthen our execution of our business fundamentals as we head into the final 16 months of the 'Power 88' mid-term business plan."
Munoz is counting this month in the final 16, but the leadership changes take effect Jan. 1.
Nissan brand sales are up 5.4 percent this year through November. By comparison, its two bigger rival brands, Toyota and Honda, are up 4 percent and 1.7 percent.
Munoz drew particular attention to Diaz's new role in trucks. Diaz, who was CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Ram truck brand before being named Nissan's U.S. sales chief in 2013, will now oversee truck and commercial vehicle sales in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
With the title of "division vice president and general manager," Diaz will focus on driving commercial vehicle sales across the continent, including volume for the soon-to-launch 2016 Titan XD.