LOS ANGELES — Nissan's hopes of shedding its bargain-brand reputation and regaining market share hinge on a raft of product reboots, Nissan executives said on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The product revival started with the unveiling of the redesigned 2020 Sentra, and it will encompass 10 new and freshened vehicles by the end of 2020, including an electric crossover.
"New products are going to be critical" to turn the business around, David Kershaw, Nissan division vice president of sales and regional operations, told Automotive News.
By developing more "aspirational products," Nissan hopes to attract more creditworthy customers and reduce the need for discounting, which has harmed the brand's image and wreaked havoc on dealer margins.
Nissan division's U.S. sales through October tumbled 6 percent, and the automaker's 7.5 percent share of the U.S. market through three quarters trailed rivals Toyota (12.3 percent) and Honda (8.6 percent), according to the Automotive News Data Center. Meanwhile, about 30 percent of Nissan's U.S. dealerships are losing money, with an additional 10 percent merely breaking even, a person familiar with the data said this summer.
The latest model reboot was revealed last week. The Sentra compact sedan amps up in power and design, hoping to capture more of the evaporating market for sedans. Riding on a new platform, the eighth-generation Sentra is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 149 hp, up 19 percent from the current generation's 1.8-liter engine.
The revamp across the portfolio, including redesigns of crossovers and pickups, aims to improve the brand's appeal to consumers.
"Going from somewhat of the oldest lineup in the industry, at least of the Asian brands, this will be an opportunity for us to have some fresh things that are out there," Kershaw said. "We are going to really talk about the attributes of our product and what's important to the customer — technology and safety obviously being key drivers of that."
DETROIT — General Motors plans to build four electric vehicles at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly by the end of 2023, including battery-powered versions of the GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade, according to a prominent forecasting firm.
The plant, which had been scheduled to close in January, will remain open under the automaker's newly ratified contract with the UAW. The deal states that GM has agreed to invest $3 billion and use the plant to build electric pickups and vans.
Production of those vehicles is scheduled to start in 2021 and will be followed by the electric Sierra and Escalade in 2023, LMC Automotive told Automotive News. LMC is a closely watched provider of industry sales and production forecasts.
GM declined to comment Thursday on its future product plans.
Given the platform and size, LMC expects the van built at Detroit-Hamtramck to be full-size, possibly similar to the Ford Transit.
The plant's full capacity today is 160,000 vehicles per year, but after the conversion to EV production, capacity will drop to about 100,000 vehicles, LMC estimates.
GM expects to employ 2,225 people at Detroit-Hamtramck when it reaches full capacity, according to its contract with the UAW. The plant will play an integral role in GM's commitment to build 20 EVs globally by 2023.
Last fall, GM said Detroit-Hamtramck was one of four U.S. plants slated to close as part of a sweeping restructuring plan. The other three plants identified — Lordstown Assembly in Ohio and transmission plants in Maryland and Michigan — have been shut down permanently. GM last week agreed to sell the Lordstown plant to an EV-manufacturing startup.
Reuters last month reported that GM may bring back the Hummer brand on a vehicle it builds at Detroit-Hamtramck, though it's unclear which product would bear the Hummer name.