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Nissan announces it will return to the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) in Jan. 2012

Other automakers are returning to profitability as production increases

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Carlos Tavares, Nissan Americas Chairman, spoke at the 23rd Annual SAA Automotive Outlook Conference on Jan. 9, 2011.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

DETROIT -- Nissan has been absent from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) for the past three years. Carlos Tavares came to the 23rd Annual Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) Automotive Outlook Conference to make a big announcement. The Executive Vice President of Nissan said the automaker will return to the NAIAS in January 2012 as an exhibitor. Nissan is now selling the Leaf, a 100-percent electric vehicle, in several markets across the country.

Tavares graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Paris in 1981 with a degree in engineering. He started working at Renault, where he spent 23 years in engineering and management roles including program director for C-segment cars. Then, he transferred to Alliance partner Nissan in April 2004 as a program director. He was appointed vice president of product strategy and product planning. In 2005, he was named executive vice president and elected as a member of the board of directors.

"We are launching new product and our business is growing," Tavares said. "The Rogue is shifting operations to Smyrna, Tenn. by 2012. We are quite bullish about our future. We are growing throughout the world. We are soon in a sweet spot of manufacturing efficiency. We are pleased to be in a leadership position. Let the consumer decide. We will continue to bring product. Nissan is a company on the move. A 21 percent increase in sales. Last year, we launched the Nissan Juke. Infiniti continues to be a bright spot for us."

During the question-and-answer session, someone asked the Nissan executive vice president about the increased violence in Mexico. Nissan operates several manufacturing plants and dealerships in the country.

"Our Mexican manufacturing hub is a success story," he explained. "Some issues in the north part of the country, dealer related. The situation did not affect our operations there."

Economists agree the automotive industry is becoming profitable again

Rebecca Lindland is the director of automotive research for North and South America at IHS Global Insight. She is in charge of the monthly U.S., Canadian and Mexican sales forecasts in the North American Light-Vehicle Forecast Report. IHS purchased Global Insight in 2008.

Light vehicle sales are expected to rise for the next few years. Unit sales are predicted to be 13.1 million at the end of this year, 14.9 million at the end of 2012 and 16 million at the end of 2013, according to Lindland.

"We are just starting to get back to historical norms," she said. "A lot of growth from Volkswagen. The German market is a lot different from the American market. People have a different perception of what they want in their vehicles. Consumers turned away from smart. We're looking for sales to increase. We've got to capture Generation Y."

Jeff Schuster is the executive director of global forecasting and product analysis at J.D. Power and Associates. He received a Bachelor's degree in finance and a Master's degree in corporate finance from Walsh College. Schuster started his career as a treasury analyst for Lear Corporation. He accepted a position J.D. Power and Associates in 1996.

North American production increased 38 percent to 11.8 million units in 2010. It is expected to increase to 12.6 million units at the end of this year, according to Schuster. That is a seven percent increase.

"We're more conservative with our outer years," he explained. "Baby boomers are staying in the market longer. In 2010, we lost 35 model vehicles. There will be 60 new entries from 2011 to 2013. Introductions will be on the smaller skew of the spectrum. Consumers have a lot more choices. The health of the industry is improving.

Ellen Hughes-Cromwick is the chief economist for Ford Motor Company. She received a Master's degree in international development and a Ph.D. in economics at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Hughes-Cromwick is a member of the board of directors for the National Association for Business Economics where she served as NABE President from 2007 to 2008.

"We're seeing a four percent recovery in the U.S.," she said. "I was a little bit concerned about the U.K. We're in transition in terms of the U.K. Emerging markets include China East, China Central and India. Mexico is on the cusp of recovery with a five percent annual growth rate."

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Attendees had the opportunity to look under the hood of the Chevrolet Volt.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

...and inside the large, spacious trunk.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Nissan will soon launch the NV commercial van portfolio

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Tavares broke the news that Nissan would return to the NAIAS in 2012.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Nissan Americas Chairman spoke with the media at the end of the conference.

This page was last updated on Sat, February 18, 2012 7:35 PM

 

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