TOKYO — Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta, the man tasked with rebooting the automaker's embattled U.S. business, strikes an upbeat tone as he ticks off the encouraging metrics.
Residuals, transaction prices, customer profiles and revenue-per-vehicle are all going up. And incentives — long the bane of Nissan North America — are in full reverse.
Supporting that change of fortunes is a wave of sorely needed fresh products.
Beleaguered Nissan finally may be showing signs of a budding comeback.
"Each and every indicator that impacts pricing is heading in the right direction," Gupta said in an interview this month. "The culture change from volume to value, from push to pull, is working."
Key improvements were apparent in Nissan Motor Co.'s earnings results, released in May, for the fiscal year ended March 31:
- Revenue per vehicle sold increased for four straight quarters.
- Incentives per retail vehicle were down 1.9 points from the previous year.
- Inventories declined for four quarters.
- The mix of rental fleet sales was down 5 points from the previous year.
In the critical U.S. market, once Nissan's biggest but now outpaced by China, incentives per vehicle were down 4.6 percent for the year, the automaker reported, while revenue per vehicle was up 3.8 percent. Transaction prices in some grades of some models, Gupta says, are finally approaching list price.
Such individual metrics are the formula for Gupta's revival plan, referred to as "Quality of Sales." The only way to fundamentally sustain profitability, he contends, is to get more revenue from each vehicle sold.
"We want to pursue 'Quality of Sales' to increase our net revenue per unit," Gupta said. "And the way we can increase revenue per unit is to have pricing which customers are willing to pay, recognizing the content, the performance, the feature value and the non-feature value in the car."
As a result, Gupta says, "net revenue is going up and up."