TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co. may be trimming its model lineup as part of its new revival plan, but CEO Makoto Uchida says U.S. dealers are poised to benefit thanks to a wave of fresh product.
The coming surge cues off the redesigned Sentra compact sedan and will include the next-generation Rogue compact crossover this year as well as an expected redesign of the Frontier midsize pickup and fresh Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 midsize crossovers.
In unveiling Nissan's revised midterm plan late last month, Uchida also said a production version of the Ariya full-electric crossover will debut in July. A presentation of Uchida's new business strategy concluded with an image of a new-generation Z sporty coupe also.
But the fresh product comes as Nissan vows to trim its number of nameplates 20 percent to shrink its global lineup to under 55 models from 69. The automaker will focus on a smaller number of more profitable core models and introduce them more quickly to keep the lineup younger and fresher.
The rejuvenation will bring 12 new or updated models worldwide over the next 18 months.
U.S. retailers can expect eight such models in the next 28 months, Nissan said. That rollout will reduce the average age of Nissan's product portfolio from above 5 years currently to close to 3 years.
Uchida conceded that the effort to improve Nissan's business in the U.S., the automaker's second-biggest market after China, is a slow one.
"Although we are making efforts to improve net revenue per unit and to control incentives, it is taking significantly more time than initially expected," Uchida said. "We are discovering the difficulty of restoring a brand that has been damaged."
Under the midterm plan, called Nissan Next, the automaker wants to cut about $2.78 billion in fixed costs and reduce global production capacity from 7.2 million to 5.4 million vehicles.
To get there, Nissan will cut shifts at some factories, close plants in Indonesia and Spain and realign its U.S. production footprint.
The reconfiguration will boost factory utilization to 80 percent from around 70 percent today.