Cars

How Nissan Philippines' Outgoing President Took It to Number 3 in the Country

The Japanese car giant has been on a roll, and it looks like it’s not stopping anytime soon.
IMAGE CYRIAN AGUJO
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In the consumer space, capturing market share is a laborious process. All your competitors are working just as hard as you are in wooing customers, so progress is hard to come by.

Not in Nissan’s case though. How does a 100-percent increase in market share over three years happen? Nissan shared its story at The Handover party it hosted recently at the Shangri-La at The Fort in Taguig.

IMAGE: CYRIAN AGUJO
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The Handover was the celebration of the achievements of Nissan in the last several years, spearheaded by outgoing president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan. Talking the helm of the Japanese auto giant in 2016, Narasimhan reinvigorated the Japanese brand’s presence in the country.

Old stalwarts such as the Nissan Navarra led the charge in sales, while newer lineups such as the Nissan Juke gave the brand a much needed update for the millennial market. Last year also saw the launch of the all-new Nissan Terra, its much-awaited SUV. Sales have soared since its August launch, and the combined marketing and sales programs of Nissan have led to a ridiculous jump from a 4.2 percent market share in 2016 to 8.7 percent in 2018.

“We’re able to reach more customers in more corners of the Philippines with a very strong dealership (network). We jumped from number 9 (car brand in the country) to number 7, and now, to number 3,” said a beaming Narasimhan.

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The well-respected Narasimhan, however, was as modest as ever. He credits most of Nissan’s historic achievements (historic is the correct term as Nissan is enjoying its highest car sales ever in the country) to the culture of Nissan Philippines.

“The growth of Nissan comes from the passion and dedication of its people, and the relationship that binds them,” said Narasimhan. “It’s a culture of trust, transparency, and empowerment.”

Big shoes to fill

The night was as much about Narasimhan as it was about his successor, incoming president and managing director Atsushi Najima. Najima joined Nissan at the same time Narasimhan started his tenure with Nissan Philippines in 2016, having previously been a management expert for Procter & Gamble for 18 years.

Najima has very huge shoes to fill, but having had experience working in the Philippines a couple of years back does have its benefits.

IMAGE: CYRIAN AGUJO
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“Even after working in different countries, my family really enjoys living here in Manila. We felt Manila is our second home, and we’re very glad to be back,” he shared.

Najima also fully intends to continue on what Naramsihan is leaving behind, which means continues expansion and promotion of Nissan M.O.V.E to 2022, a six-year plan geared towards sustainability and technological leadership. A big part of this is the recent introduction of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility platform. Najima also spilled the beans about the newest car that Nissan is bringing to the country.

“We will push through with promoting the Nissan Intelligent Mobility (platform) as we look forward to bringing the Nissan Leaf (Nissan’s electric vehicle) to this market by 2020,” he revealed.

IMAGE: CYRIAN AGUJO
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Having cultivated a strong relationship with the media, Narasimhan wasn’t able to escape heartfelt video messages from some of the respected journalists of the local motoring industry as well as representatives from Nissan’s dealership network and corporate partners. Handshakes abounded everywhere he went, and he implored everyone to extend the same hospitality and warmth to his successor.

Overall, it was a bittersweet night for Nissan Philippines. But with a new leader dedicated to continue on his predecessor’s incredible tenure, the brand is looking ready to climb even further up the ranks in the years to come.

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Cyrian Agujo
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