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商业 - 汽车

日产觊觎丰田中型家轿销量宝座

Doron Levin 2012年05月21日

日产希望新天籁能挤掉老对手丰田的当家车型凯美瑞,成为中型家轿市场的销量冠军,但它对租车公司批发销售的倚重妨碍了它在零售市场积累口碑和人气。

2013款日产天籁开始在田纳西士麦拿工厂投产

    随着中型家轿市场的竞争愈演愈烈,日产汽车公司(Nissan Motor Co.)希望新款天籁(Altima)能成为手中的终极武器,借此与头号竞争对手丰田(Toyota)一较高下。

    第五代天籁于本月15日投入量产,预计将于今年夏天在美国发售。天籁在美国的销量已经超过了本田雅阁(Honda Accord),因此它有机会成为美国最受欢迎的轿车。现在日产公司希望天籁能在一年内超过目前销量排名第一的丰田凯美瑞(Toyota Camry)。

    日产一向以工艺出色出名,不过由于营销手段令人印象不深,因此一直没有对丰田和本田的销量造成太大冲击。日产的汽车一直存在叫好不叫座的现象,很难排到顾客认知度的前几位。现在,日产正努力修补这块短板。

    其实天籁的销量也不算少了。根据来自日产公司的数据,自从第一代天籁于1992年推出以来,日产一共售出了大约440万台天籁。不过汽车网站Edmunds.com的分析师米歇尔•克瑞布斯称:“天籁的销量大量依赖租车公司,而不是零售,”因此很难积累零售客户的口碑。她还补充道:“日产和马自达(Mazda)这样的公司很难突破”丰田和本田的市场占有率。

    田纳西州州长比尔•哈斯拉姆上周二受邀来到田纳西州士麦拿市的日产装配工厂,出席新天籁的投产典礼。他说道:“如果我在肯塔基州乔治城的某个地方工作的话,我会很紧张自己能否保住第一名的位子。”乔治城正是丰田公司生产凯美瑞的地方。

    2012年的头四个月,日产共售出112,599台天籁,几乎比去年同期多出30%。相比之下,本田雅阁同期的销量只有96,517台,丰田凯美瑞的销量为142,225台,雪佛兰迈锐宝(Chevrolet Malibu)的销量为80,456台,福特(Ford)福星(Fusion)的销量为85,559台。

    日产北美副总裁比尔•克鲁格认为,销量的增加主要归功于1999年经济危机后日产全球生产体系的进步。1999年,法国雷诺公司(Renault)买下了日产的部分股权并重组了日产。新生产体系使日产能够在装配工厂实现生产的优化,灵活地生产五六种不同的车型,同时保证高质量,并把最佳业务操作推广到所有工厂。“基础其实早就在那儿了,”克鲁格说。“只是利用经济危机提升了整个体系。”至于天籁有几分把握能超过凯美瑞,克鲁格表示:“我们做出这些进步不是为了当老二的。”

    Nissan Motor Co. is betting its new Altima will be the ultimate weapon in its battle to top rival Toyota in the hard-fought market for family sedans.

    The fifth generation Altima began U.S. production on Tuesday, May 15 and goes on sale in U.S. dealerships this summer. It has a shot at becoming the most popular sedan in the U.S., having already passed Honda's Accord in sales. Now the company hopes it will out-sell Toyota's No. 1 Camry within a year.

    Nissan, long renowned for excellent engineering, is working hard to overcome a legacy of uninspired marketing that hasn't made much of a dent in Toyota's and Honda's sales. Nissan long made well-regarded vehicles that had difficulty reaching the front ranks of consumer awareness.

    Not that Nissan hasn't sold a lot of Altimas. The first generation rolled off the line in 1992 and, according to the company, Nissan has sold some 4.4 million units since. "[But the] Altima has relied heavily on sales to fleets, rather than retail," says Michelle Krebs, an analyst for Edmunds.com, an automotive website. That made gaining a reputation with retail customers difficult. "It's been hard for companies like Nissan and Mazda to break through" the marketing presence of Honda and Toyota, she adds.

    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who spoke at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant on Tuesday said "if I worked at a certain place in Georgetown, Kentucky I would be nervous about holding on to the No. 1 title." Haslam, who was invited to help inaugurate production of the new vehicle, was referring to the site of the Toyota plant where the Camry is assembled.

    In the first four months of 2012, Nissan sold 112,599 Altimas, almost 30% more than the same period last year. By comparison, Honda sold 96,517 Accords, Toyota sold 142,225 Camrys, Chevrolet sold 80,456 Malibus and Ford sold 85,559 Fusions during the same period.

    Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan operations in the Americas, credited improvement in Nissan's worldwide manufacturing system following the crisis of 1999. At that time French automaker Renault bought a stake and reorganized the company. The system allows Nissan to optimize production at its assembly plants, which are flexible enough to build five or six different models, while keeping quality high and spreading best practices to all its plants. "The building blocks were always there," says Krueger. "It took the crisis to elevate the system." What about the Altima's chances of passing the Camry? "We didn't make all these improvements to be No. 2," he says.

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