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Nissan: ‘EV is the future and that’s what the market is asking for,’ Senior VP says

Nissan Motor Co. Senior Vice President Jérémie Papin joins Yahoo Finance Live from the 2023 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center to discuss Nissan’s electric ambitions, the launch of 27 new vehicles over the next seven years, improving the automaker’s relationship with dealers, and the outlook for EVs.

Video Transcript


- Nissan's new deal-- the automaker moving to improve its relationships with dealers and, in turn, shift how dealers stay connected with customers. This as Nissan adds to its growing lineup of electric vehicles as the road to electrification grows crowded.

Here with more from the New York Auto Show is Jeremie Papin, who is the Nissan Motor Company's senior vice president and Nissan America's chairperson. Jeremie, great to have you here with us today. First and foremost, I mean, you think about the event that you're at at the Auto Show, seeing all of your competitors live in living color. And then you've got, of course, your Nissan product there. How do you put your Nissan product up against the rest of the EVs that are in the space right now?

JEREMIE PAPIN: The decent product is really attractive and competitive in the marketplace at the moment. Just in Q1, our sales were up 15% year on year. We have demand exceeding our supply still, very, very low inventories and cars going into the dealers and being sold immediately. So it's a very strong business.

And with Ariya that we just launched that you can see behind me, we're, I think, bringing a proposal in the EV space that is a new segment-defining EV. The way we work out the interior of the car, the quality, the perceived quality of the interior, I think those are very strong additions to what an EV stands for, which is also thrill and pleasure of driving. So I think we're bringing in a very strong and competitive product.

- And, Jeremie, can you talk about the importance of EV to the core business of Nissan? And where I'm coming from, we just heard from GM that they're not going to be splitting out their different operations between the ICE vertical and also their EV vertical. And that's in comparison to Ford Motors, which is now breaking that out. Just in terms of how you think about these two businesses within Nissan and your Nissan Ambition 2030, how does everything fit together?

JEREMIE PAPIN: Yeah, definitely. Well, EV is the future. And that's what the market is asking for, really. Consumers, growing interest in EVs. They are considering EVs in many of the segments for their next purchase.

The technology is allowing EVs to be very relevant to customer needs. And that's only going to continue to evolve favorably. So it's an integral part of the business. We have no intention of splitting. We want the consumer to be offered a combustion engine and an EV. As often as he needs to have a choice in the marketplace, that's what we will be offering.

Nissan will be launching 27 new vehicles within Ambition 2030 over the next seven years, 19 of which will be fully battery electric cars, most of which will be sold in the USA, produced here as well, fully compliant with the IRA and the facilitation the government will be offering. And so the EVs are the future. They also offer an opportunity for the customer to access services and an experience that is completely new and is a step forward in terms of their satisfaction using a vehicle. So, again, this is the future. We're right in it. And we are absolutely looking favorably to what's ahead.

- Jeremie, I wonder what Nissan is seeing in terms of the average selling price for some of its EVs, especially as it seems like a pricing war-- if it's fair to call it that, if that's how you see it-- a pricing war has seemed to have initiated among EV competitors right now. And how do you believe that pricing war ends?

JEREMIE PAPIN: I won't comment on what competitors are doing. I think Ariya, for example, is extremely well priced in the segments in which it competes. And it is an excellent value proposal for the consumer. It's a very smart choice for the consumer. And so we are very happy with how the EV business is being priced and what it is allowing us to grow and to return for the company at the moment.

- And I want to ask you about something that's a little bit out of your hands, how your company is navigating the global macroenvironment that is with much higher interest rates, which eventually you would think would potentially weigh on consumer prices and make them more price conscious as, for instance, monthly payments go up because of interest rates. Just wondering what effects you're seeing within your business and how you're dealing with this challenging environment.

JEREMIE PAPIN: Yeah, I reckon we need to take that into account. We absolutely want the consumer to find a vehicle at every price point he can afford and works for them. And so we are proposing those in the marketplace as they stand today.

There is significant pent-up demand in the market. We've sold millions fewer vehicles than what the market wanted in the past three years. We're going through responding to that pent-up demand as the production and the supply normalizes. That's why the sales year-on-year were so strong at Nissan in the first quarter. And the outlook for us in the year is one of significant growth year-on-year.

So yes, there is a monthly payment that we need to work with the clients in making it work for them. But there is also a lot of demand for the products. And so we resolutely think this is a year of growth for the brand.