NEW YORK -- Jose Munoz is counting on trucks and more trucks to get Nissan North America Inc. closer to its goal of 10 percent market share in the truck-crazy U.S.
"The best way to grow our share is to increase our share of the truck market," Munoz, chairman of Nissan North America, said this month at a meeting of the International Motor Press Association here.
In 2011, Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn set a goal of 10 percent U.S. market share for the combined Nissan and Infiniti brands by March 31, 2017. Munoz said the automaker has a U.S. car market share of around 11 percent, but only around a 6-plus percent share of the light-truck market. That, he said, is where the big opportunity is.
(Through the first eight months of 2016, the Automotive News Data Center calculates Nissan's share of the U.S. car market at 11.8 percent and its light-truck share at 7.2 percent.)
Nissan brand's light-truck product pipeline is delivering this year, and Nissan is promoting the 2017 model year as its "Year of the Truck."
The freshened 2017 Pathfinder crossover went on sale in late August. A new half-ton variant of the 2017 Titan full-size pickup went on sale in mid-August. So did a redesigned 2017 Armada full-size SUV.
"Our focus today is to launch all these trucks," Munoz said. For the U.S., Canada and Mexico combined, market share is already close to 10 percent -- at about 9.5 percent, he said. But Ghosn doesn't intend to stop at 10 percent, Munoz emphasized.
Judy Wheeler, Nissan Division's vice president of U.S. sales, said separately that Nissan's stream of new trucks accounted for few sales in August, even though their official on-sale dates were last month. Sales should start to pick up in September as inventories build, she said.
For all of 2015, Nissan North America had a U.S. car share of 10.7 percent, up from 10.5 percent in 2014. U.S. light-truck share was 6.8 percent, up from 6.5 percent.
The automaker's U.S. light-vehicle market share, including Nissan and Infiniti brands, was 9 percent through August, up from 8.6 percent a year earlier, Automotive News Data Center figures show.
Its inch-by-inch climb from an 8.2 percent share five years ago has alienated some retailers, who believe the company has been too focused on volume at the expense of brand and franchise value.
Through August for the U.S. industry, light trucks made up 59.5 percent of light-vehicle sales, up from 55.3 percent a year earlier, according to the Automotive News Data Center.