Nissan, the third biggest Japanese car manufacturer, is in danger of losing ground against Toyota and Honda. Experts in the industry cite Nissan’s lack of initiative towards developing cleaner cars which is currently the hottest commodity in the auto industry. To become a formidable foe in the U.S. auto market, Nissan needs to produce more green cars for their consumers.
It was not so long ago when Nissan is seen as the car technology leader in Japan, even better than Toyota and Honda in that department. Recently though Nissan seems to be unable to cope with Toyota and Honda’s advancement in car technology.
Toyota’s Prius is leading the hybrid technology revolution while Honda has the first fuel cell approved by the U.S. in the country. Last year, the company’s lack of green cars in their lineup is seen as one of the reason for their five percent sales reduction. It is only in recent months that Nissan seems to be doing well in the U.S. market.
Comparing Nissan to juggernaut Toyota, James Rubenstein, a professor at the Miami University, has this to say: “Toyota has created a green image for itself through aggressive marketing of hybrid vehicles. Nissan has not done this – it doesn’t have an innovation-oriented image. At the moment, Nissan is selling cars that try to look a bit different.”
The company admits that their image is not as good looking as that of Toyota and Honda. But Nissan affirms that they are expecting consumers to consider performance above perception and, in that case, they are almost at par with Toyota and Honda. In an interview with Reuters, Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s Executive Vice President for Product Planning and Corporate strategy expressed his opinion on consumers’ choice. “My guess is that three, five, 10 years from now, people will look at the actual figures for mileage rather than the technology behind it,” says Tavares. “As long as we’re on the shortlist in this regard, we can compete for customers as they make their final decision based on emotional values such as driving pleasure, craftsmanship and user-friendliness,” he added.
Nissan is already taking steps towards producing cleaner vehicles with better fuel efficiency. Last December, Nissan announced its “Nissan Green Program 2010”. Under the said program, Nissan aims to sell a million vehicles equipped with continuously variable transmission which cuts down fuel consumption this year. The said target, when attained, will provide carbon dioxide emission reduction that is approximately equal to the effect of 200,000 hybrid vehicles. The CVT is one of the latest fuel-saving technologies in the auto industry and perfectly works well with the various vehicle components like Nissan strut mount.