Nissan’s Ghosn wants Toyota-sized market share by 2020

Nissan’s Ghosn wants Toyota-sized market share by 2020

Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has outlined one very specific goal, and it’s not squeezing even more even speed out of the GT-R, towing capacity out of the Titan XD, or fuel economy out of the Altima, though those may all be ancillary. No, that goal is to be “closing the gap” with Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, by 2020.

Along the way, Ghosn seeks to capture 10 percent of the US market. As of November 2015, Nissan holds 8.5 percent, lagging behind Honda at 9.1 percent and Toyota at a whopping 14.3 percent. However, according to a report by Automotive News Ghosn is planning to whisk right by Honda and has his crosshairs locked squarely on Toyota by the end of the decade.

The recent, somewhat surprising reshuffle of the top execs at Nissan USA is part of Ghosn’s goal. The re-org saw Fred Diaz step laterally from his position senior vice president overseeing all US sales, marketing and operations to a new vice president position created to oversee trucks. Diaz was poached from Chrysler in 2013 and credited for launching the Ram brand there.

Replacing Diaz is Christian Meunier, who for the last three years has been president of Nissan Canada. Ghosn wants to give more foreign execs transitional assignments at Nissan USA as part of its quest to take on the world’s biggest.

Nissan has seen a sales uptick of 6 percent through November 2015, out pacing that of both Honda (2.3 percent) and Toyota (4.7 percent), although a part of that number is due to aggressive fleet sales. Historically, too, other automakers have faced quality-based scandals when they have chased volume above all else (see: Toyota floormats, GM ignition, and VW diesel cheat) so a race to the top can easily turn into a race to the bottom. Ghosn remains confident though, saying, “The trend is good. The team is strong. The dealers are motivated.”

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