As millennials enter the auto market, Nissan is meeting their demands by continuing to innovate. With a combined emphasis on fuel efficiency, practicality, connectivity, and cutting-edge design, the automaker is also looking to lead in emerging sectors like electric and driverless vehicles. Driven by a new set of customer expectations, Nissan remains focused around a clear set of brand priorities.
Nissan is tapping into sponsorship opportunities to engage with the passion points of its younger customers. It sponsored the UEFA Champions League final in June 2015 as well as two seasons of NBC’s The Voice, and will back the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The brand’s strategic partnerships also signal that it’s preparing for the road ahead. In January 2015, for example, Nissan announced a five-year partnership with NASA to advance autonomous vehicle technologies and explore their commercial applications. In August 2015, Nissan also revealed plans to supply cars to college students through a campus car-sharing venture with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
To expand brand awareness, Nissan is spreading its message across multiple media channels. At the 2015 New York International Auto Show, for example, Nissan experimented with the Twitter-owned app Periscope by live streaming the unveiling of its 2016 Nissan Maxima. While Nissan’s Global Head of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Roel de Vries, maintains that traditional media will not be forgotten, the brand is looking for creative ways to engage consumers at all touchpoints.
The success of popular vehicles like the Qashqai, Rogue, and X-Trail has been the driving force of Nissan’s growth. Nissan is also looking to lead the not-so-distant future market with plans to put autonomous cars on the road by 2020, equipped with intelligent mobility features capable of negotiating heavy traffic. It’s also changing current perceptions of the brand with innovative models like its sporty, dynamic Juke, as well as its newest Maxima sedan and Murano crossover. Nissan’s LEAF, the first mass-manufactured all-electric vehicle on the market, remains the world’s best-selling electric car, with more than 200,000 sold worldwide since its 2010 debut. Nissan is also focused on building up battery power—according to CEO Carlos Ghosn, Nissan will release an electric car with a range of 500 kilometers by 2018.
Understanding that individualization is important to contemporary customers, Nissan created the Juke Color Studio in November 2014, which allows buyers to “design a custom Nissan Juke that’s 100% original, 100% you.” It also pioneered new ownership schemes with LEAF buyers in Europe—enabling them to swap their all-electric cars for SUVs for a number of weeks.