Loud in a crowd: Nissan range gets grille makeover
By Norihiko Shirouzu
BEIJING (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote) is going for a facelift to stand out from the crowd.
In an increasingly competitive global market - in China alone there are some 80 automakers battling for sales - Nissan plans to put a V-shaped front grille design on most of its models to give itself a "distinct, unified face", says global design chief Shiro Nakamura.
"Before, we didn't really feel a pressing need for unified looks, but the number of brands is on the rise sharply in China, and there are simply too many different faces," Nakamura told Reuters in a recent interview. "Unless you unify your brand's looks across your whole portfolio ... you don't get noticed."
The V-shaped grille has a thick chrome bar that cuts into the bumper, with its two side lines sweeping upwards and integrating the hood and the headlamps.
"V-motion is a testament to our resolve to be loud with our visual presence. We realize we've been a bit too modest," Nakamura said, adding that while this is a global strategy for the Nissan brand, it's especially relevant in China.
The new design is also Nissan's response to competition from Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) - whose stable also includes Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche - which has been driving a more unified look across its mainstream VW, Skoda and Seat brands.
The German group's strategy has become a "new brand-management standard" for global automakers, said Nakamura, noting others, such as South Korea's Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS: Quote), were following suit.
"The whole global auto industry is being impacted by Volkswagen's strategy," he said. "Unless you match that, your brand identity gets watered down." Continued...