person holding black nissan steering wheel
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With declining numbers of car sales and misfit management, how will Nissan win back the hearts of their consumers? Well after a reshuffle to get management back on track they came to another crossroad. How will they get Japan’s second-largest car company out of debt and beyond the shadow of the disgraced executives who drove its strategy for decades to bring it where it is today?

With an estimated debt of about R126 billion, lack of sales in Europe and the UK, and the factory supply chain in disrepair the company needs to get their head back in the game. But the big question on everyone’s mind is how? Nissan is also facing competition, especially in the form of advanced autonomous driving.

Nissan Senior Vice President Takao Asami said, “Through the evolution of automotive technologies today it is more competitive than ever, we have an innate sense that we need to persist,” he said in an interview.

“If we lose out in terms of technology, we’re going to lose out in terms of business.”  Asami also said there has “lately been a lot of discussions internally about what our DNA is, what areas we can dig deep into and win.” 

So, if Nissan wants to stay ahead of the game they need to go back to their roots. They need to move into shallow coffers to make sure Nissan remains ahead of the competition in the two technological changes sweeping the auto industry: electrification and autonomous driving.

Nissan aims to sell 1 million pure electric and electric powertrain-fitted vehicles, and 1.5 million vehicles equipped with ProPilot, the company’s semi-autonomous driving system by the end of 2023. Toyota aims to sell 5.5 million electric vehicles by the end of 2025. 

Industry experts say that ProPilot (A feature that holds a vehicle in a single lane and matches its speed to surrounding traffic) that will be used by Nissan for their new cars will have the potential to boost the automaker’s sales and brand image if it can keep ample funding flowing into its development.

When Investing in lower-level technologies it comes with its own set of challenges. Yes, it’s easier to make a profit now but the technologies run the risk of quickly becoming standardised. ProPilot’s features are considered advanced so by using this Nissan can be a step ahead.

Nissan was one of Japan’s industrial pioneers, carving out its place alongside Toyota by building a reputation around new automotive technologies. Unfortunately, they do find themselves in deep waters and although the pandemic cut about 15% off global car sales last year and Nissan is forecasting an operating loss of 340 billion yen, the company has not reduced the amount of funding it’s allocating to technological development.

Nissan does have a plan and that is to spread ProPilot widely across models rather than pushing into higher-level autonomous technologies. It also plans to tap funds brought in by vehicles equipped with ProPilot today to build out tomorrow’s next-generation.

All we can do now is to keep our eyes open to see when the new Nissan will be on our roads.

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