We just received communication that Nissan Thailand supposedly sent to their dealerships in the Land of Smiles. While we cannot post the document itself, we were informed that it says they are telling dealers that they will cease production of three models: the X-Trail crossover, the Teana midsize saloon, as well as the Sylphy compact car.
The dealers are being instructed that once dealers dispose of all their stockyard units of the three models, they are required to dispose of all their brochures and marketing materials pertaining to those models.
The reason isn't about a recall or some mechanical issues. Instead, it is about sales.
Now those that are keen observers of the regional (meaning Southeast Asia) auto industry would know that Thailand is basically our version of Detroit. Many of the cars, trucks, and SUVs in the market are made in Thailand, and the models are locally assembled are largely built from parts from there. So for an automaker based in Thailand to cease production and sales of three models simultaneously is unusual to see, at the very least.
Auto industry observers in Thailand say that the move isn't all too surprising given the sales performance of the models. The Sylphy is already an aging model while the Teana hasn't been performing all too well when it comes to the sales charts. As for the X-Trail, Thailand is primarily a pick-up truck market, not a crossover market.
The communication also states that Nissan is doing this in order to be more consistent with the company's long term policies in the region. Instead of a wide model portfolio, Nissan will focus on small passenger cars, small crossovers, commercial vehicles (pick-ups), and vehicles that use alternative propulsion sources (i.e. e-Power or EV). As we know, passenger car sales (particularly 4-door saloon cars) aren't doing too well in terms of sales given the rise of many new crossovers, particularly from China.
Now, would the stoppage of the production of those three models affect the Philippine market? The answer is quite easy: not really.
The X-Trail in the Philippine market comes from Japan, not Thailand. The Teana hasn't been sold here since the early 2010s; the Altima from the US replaced it in the local market, but Nissan has since stopped selling that model too.
The Sylphy is a different story, as the models for our market are made in Thailand, but it isn't performing too well in terms of sales here either given the prevalence of many new crossovers and other higher riding models (i.e. cheaper pick-ups, MPVs). So if Thai production of Sylphy stops, then Philippine sales will eventually stop too unless they opt for another source for the model. We heard from insiders that there are still some stocks of Sylphy in the Philippines.
We will bet that Nissan will likely choose to let the Sylphy end in the local market; it didn't gain the traction it needed to make an impact on sales. But if Nissan had named it Sentra from the start, would things have been different? Let us know what you think below.