It seems that Nissan will still continue developing and making sedans for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) after all. This was confirmed by Makoto Uchida, CEO of Nissan, during the company's 122nd General Meeting of Shareholders.
During the meeting, one of the shareowners asked whether Nissan's plan to actually stop making and selling sedans in the domestic market is true. In a report by Nikkei Asia, the publication claims that Nissan has already informed major suppliers – including people close to the matter, that the company will end the development of its sedans for the Japanese market in favor of crossovers and SUVs.
The shareholder added that while they understand that Nissan needs to trim down its models, they also believe that sedans still play a big role in the market. They further elaborated that four-door sedans like the Sylphy are still popular in markets like Central America, Latin America, and Asia.
“Yes, it is true that the sales of sedans are lackluster. But these sedans (i.e. Skyline, Cima, Fuga) are symbolic of your brand; you have product value. With the e-Power technology, it can be instrumental in further expanding the fanbase of e-Power,” said the shareholder.
So does Nissan actually plan to stop making sedans? This is what Uchida has to say.
“We have made no such decisions. We have no intentions of suspending the development of these models in the Japanese Domestic Market. With regards to the individual models, we cannot cover this in detail at this juncture,” said Uchida.
Does this mean that the Skyline will continue to be further developed and sold in Japan? For Uchida, yes, the Skyline will continue to live on in the Japanese Domestic Market.
“It isn't just one model. Nissan is equivalent to Skyline. For many years, the Skyline was loved and many fans have driven it. It's an important asset for the company. Like the Fairlady Z and the GT-R, these are all brand drivers for the company,” added Uchida.
But the CEO reminded the shareholders that the domestic market is dwindling in size. For Uchida, they need to consider the future of the sedan in the market segment. He added that it is also important that Nissan makes models with high value. Lastly, the automaker must keep up with market trends, as well as with customer preferences and values.
So while Nissan will continue to develop and sell sedans, it looks like Uchida is hinting that they will have to discontinue several sedan models from the lineup. Since the Skyline will not be axed, this puts the Cima and the Fuga as the likeliest four-doors to meet the chopping block. But for now, nothing is set in stone.
With the CEO of Nissan confirming that sedans will continue to be part of the company's lineup, what does this mean for the Philippine market? Well, it means the Almera's future is secure. In fact, several camouflaged units of the all-new model have already been sighted being tested on local roads.
As for the Sylphy, however, we're not quite sure yet. It has been on sale since March 2014 but has not yet received any updates. The next-generation Sylphy is already being sold in other markets like the US, China, and Latin America, but is not yet available in ASEAN.
The sedan market may be shrinking, but Nissan still believes that four doors still matter in the age of crossovers and SUVs. Perhaps the only question now is will Nissan be able to continue making sedans in the coming years given that SUVs have become much more attractive and therefore profitable?