Old habits die hard. But it's time — past time — for Nissan to quit stair-step incentives once and for all.
The Ghosn-era relic is not always a destructive tool, but after the damage the programs have done to the brand's reputation and resale values, it's one that needs to stay buried — for real this time — if the brand is to get out of its tailspin in the U.S., its second-biggest market.
Dealers, it seems, are finally being heard by senior executives after years of clashing with Ghosn and his team over his over-ambitious market share goals in the U.S. Some protested with their feet, leaving Nissan, while others remained but simply stopped chasing aggressive targets.
And stair-steps don't hurt just new- and used-vehicle sales operations. As reported by Fixed Ops Journal, enticing subprime borrowers in order to meet volume targets can result in a population of customers who can't afford to have even basic repairs done. With dealer profitability greatly reliant on service, that's a significant problem.
We were disheartened to learn that while Nissan has dropped the stair-step structure for storewide payouts, it is continuing to use it on select models, adding unnecessary complexity and continuing to skew rewards toward bigger stores in bigger markets. Enough already.