While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a typical Nissan dealership, no one’s going to mistake one for theÂ Taj Mahal. They’re functional structures, designed to hold salespeople that can walk you through the terms of a loan. Do they really need to be anything more?
Nissan says no, but it would still like its stores to undergo an ambitious renovation program that would alter the majority for the better. Executives in Japan said the brand intends to update 9,000 of its dealerships around the globe over the next five years. Changes include more prominent signage, updated customer-handling procedures, and more open concept showrooms and service departments.
However, just how much pressure HQ is exerting on North American shops to adhere to the changes is unclear. In the United States, dealerships are already subject to the Nissan Retail Environment Design Initiative (NREDI 2.0), which encourages tons of daylight via glass-fronted showrooms and wide open spaces. The overall look is extremely modern and inviting without feeling showy. Think really nice community college, rather than the hotel lounge experience some premium auto brands attempt to provide.
According to Automotive News, the updated Nissan retailers have reported increases in both sales and servicing. But the company isn’t mandating the changes on existing dealerships. The new design is only required on new showrooms or on those already planning renovationsÂ â€” and even then, Nissan allows for considerable flexibility in terms of how individual dealers implement NREDI 2.0.
The automaker will grow a little more insistent over the next five years, though. Globally, Nissan has around 10,000 stores inÂ 160 countries, and its renovation plan would affect nearly 90 percent of the whole. Meanwhile, the company’s North American arm said it wants to work with dealerships interested in the new standard, noting that the decision for changes is ultimately up to them. While that’s no way to ensure 9,000 dealers become glass fronted, it shows a level of restraint that could help the brand avoid a Project Pinnacle-style situation.
Cadillac’s dealership renovation program was an utter mess from go, earning tons of backlash from store owners. The brand repeatedly softened the plan to keep it viable. But the brand’s former president,Â Johan de Nysschen, said Pinnacle was working as intended a couple of months before he was fired. While it’s not fair to attribute all of Cadillac’s shortfalls toÂ de Nysschen or Project Pinnacle, both failed to turn the brand around at a rate the corporate machine was willing to tolerate.
Nissan isn’t in the same kind of trouble as Cadillac, nor is it fielding the same kind of experience to a shared demographic. It has a completely different client base and domestic sales for the brand were at an all-time high in 2017. This year looks like it might be even stronger. But it acknowledges it needs to change with the times and, with so many dealer networks updating their stores, Nissan doesn’t want to be left in the dust.
“The relationship between dealers and customers is changing, with customers expecting a more digital and customized experience,” explainedÂ Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci during an announcement the brand will bring eight electrified vehicles to market in Japan over the next five years.
We don’t know which of those models will come to North America, but the company is pushing the implementation of its e-Power drivetrains across the board. There will also be pure electrics to complement the unique hybrids starting in 2020 â€” one of which will be based upon theÂ IMx concept SUV.Â Schillaci also said Infiniti should receive a fully electric vehicle nameplate in 2021.