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商业 - 汽车

日产押宝自动驾驶汽车

Alex Taylor III 2013年09月06日

日产目前在美国市场的占有率只有8%,排在第7位,落后于底特律三巨头、丰田、本田和现代/起亚。但它的目标是把这个数字提高到10%,而它押宝的对象就是量产的自动驾驶汽车。

    自动驾驶汽车所带来的好处还体现在将来。到时候交通会变得更加顺畅,燃油经济性进一步提高,交通事故不再频发。总有一天,汽车将不再需要防撞钢梁和安全气囊。卡洛斯•高森认为,总有一天,自动驾驶汽车不仅能实现零排放,还能实现车祸零死亡。

    虽然日产公司的电动汽车迄今尚未在认可度和销量上取得丰收,但日产还是义无反顾地跳到了自动驾驶汽车的研发上。自从该公司于2010年12月推出聆风电动汽车以来,这款电池动力车型在美国已经售出了30000辆,但是日产设在田纳西州的工厂拥有超过这个数字好几倍的生产能力。消费者表示经常因为“里程焦虑症”感到头痛,也就是担心车还没有开到地方,电池就已经没电了。虽然今年年初聆风的车价下调了6400美元,但是直到七月底,这款车只在美国卖出了11703台。

    虽然聆风的惨淡销量可能让日产高管觉得不安,但他们并没有流露出来。而且他们表示,聆风对提升日产公司的形象起了积极作用,这一点可以通过交易价格的提升反映出来。2009年,日产公司发布了麦肯锡公司(McKinsey)的一份调查报告,把日产的车型在各个细分市场和地区市场上的交易价格与同级别表现最佳的车型做了对比。结果发现,由于日产公司各车型的价格比后者更低,导致日产公司每年要损失60亿美元。但是在过去四年里,日产通过推出新产品、做大做强经销商网络以及推出聆风等先进技术,已经把这个差距缩小到了40亿美元。

    日产公司希望通过继续在全系产品中使用具有可辨识度的设计语言,进一步摘掉“折扣品牌”的帽子。今天你大概不会想到,外型典雅美观的中级轿车天籁与难看的楼兰敞篷车和诡异的Juke跨界车系出同门。下一步,日产还在各款产品塑造相像的家族式外观,最近日产公布的2015款Maxima设计草图中的轿跑式外观就证明了这一点。

    日产高管也承认最近五年公司在美国市场上的表现令人失望。但是他们相信,除了设计之外,公司还有很多促进美国市场销量的机会。比如美版轩逸Sentra在美国的售价还不到紧凑型市场冠军本田(Honda)思域的一半。另外日产2004年引入美国的全尺寸皮卡Titan虽然在当年引起了轰动,但现在基本上已经不入购者车的法眼。如果日产要实现在美国市场10%的占有率目标,就必须要在所有领域都进行改进。目前日产只占据了8%的美国市场,落后于底特律三巨头、丰田(Toyota )、本田和现代/起亚(Hyundai/Kia),排名第七位。日产公司相信,从现在的增长率和产品节奏来看,未来几年内是可以实现10%的目标的。

    2012年财年,日产在全球市场共卖出7930万辆汽车,占据了全球市场6.2%的份额。卡洛斯•高森声称,到2016财年结束时(也就是2017年3月31日),公司在全球市场上的份额将达到8%(销售利润也将达到8%),其中一个重要的推力是营销。比如最近日产公司聘请了奥运短跑冠军博尔特为GT-R跑车做全球代言。这个广告在全球几十个机场都能看到,也就是说如果你从香港起飞到伦敦,你在两地机场看到的GT-R广告是一样的。另外日产也开始在大型赛会上投放广告,比如英菲尼迪进入F1方程式、日产赞助2016年里约奥运会等,这一切都是为了提高日产在全球主要市场上的曝光度。

    日产的一位高管说:“从我们1999年刚与雷诺结盟时每年只能卖200万辆汽车,到现在年均销售近500万辆。在这个过程中,我们没有一直扩大营销资源以与销量保持同步,但现在我们正在做这件事。”而这次重金邀请900名国内外记者亲手试驾124辆汽车(以及试乘一辆自动驾驶汽车)就是一个典型的例子。(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎  

    The real payoff from self-driving cars lies further in the future. Traffic will move more smoothly, fuel will be consumed more economically, and accidents will occur less often, leading to a day when side panel safety beams can be removed and airbags become obsolete. Ghosn foresees a day when autonomous cars are responsible not only for zero emissions but also zero fatalities.

    Still, Nissan is taking the plunge into AVs at a time when its bet on EVs -- electric vehicles --has yet to pay off in acceptance or sales. The company has sold 30,000 battery-powered Leafs in the U.S since they were introduced in December 2010 but has the capacity to manufacture several times that number at its plant in Tennessee. Customer response has been restrained by range anxiety, the uncertainly that arises out of fear that the battery will discharge before the destination is reached. Despite cutting Leaf prices $6,400 at the beginning of the year, Nissan had sold just 11,703 in through July.

    If they are fazed by the Leaf's slow sales, Nissan executives aren't showing it, and they claim the car has helped lift Nissan's image with customers in a way that is reflected in higher transaction prices. In 2009, the company commissioned a McKinsey study that measured the revenue gap between Nissan and best-in-class vehicles across different segments and markets. It found that lower transaction prices were costing Nissan $6 billion annually. Over the past four years, Nissan has narrowed that gap by around $4 billion with new products, an enhanced dealer network, and advanced technology like the Leaf.

    Going forward, Nissan hopes to further rid itself of the "discount brand" label by using identifiable design executions consistently across its product lines. Today, you wouldn't think that the elegant Altima sedan shared parentage with the awkward Murano convertible or the truly bizarre Juke crossover. That's going to change as Nissan creates thematic similarities among models, and it released an impressionistic sketch of the 2015 Maxima with coupe-like styling to prove its point.

    Besides design, Nissan executives believe there are numerous opportunities to boost sales in the U.S. after what they concede are five years of disappointing performance. Two obvious subjects: the Sentra, a homely compact that sells at less than half the rate of Honda Civic, the segment leader; and the Titan full-size pickup, which was introduced with great fanfare in 2004 but is still little more than an afterthought for truck buyers. Improvement in all areas is essential if Nissan is to reach its goal of attaining 10% of the U.S. market. It currently stands at 8%, leaving it in seventh place beyond the Detroit Three,Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC), and Hyundai/Kia. Nissan believes its 10% goal is reachable within the next several years, given its current rate of growth and product cadence.

    Globally Nissan finished fiscal year 2012 with a 6.2% share of a 79.3 million unit global market, and Ghosn pledges to reach 8% market share (and 8% return on sales) by the end of fiscal year 2016 on March 31, 2017. A big part of the push will come from a new emphasis on marketing. For instance, Nissan put in place a global advertising campaign for the Nissan GT-R, leveraging a collaboration with Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. This campaign appears in dozens of international airports around the world, so when you depart from Hong Kong and arrive in London, the GT-R advertisement you see from Nissan is identical. It has also taken to engaging in big ticket marketing programs -- like Infiniti's entry in Formula One and its sponsorship of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio -- to better raise Nissan's visibility in key markets around the world.

    Says one executive: "As we've expanded from a company that sold 2 million vehicles a year in 1999 when we formed the alliance with Renault, to one that now sells nearly 5 million vehicles, we haven't always increased our marketing resource to stay in step with our sales. Now we're doing this" -- as 900 international journalists experienced first-hand by driving 124 cars and riding in one.

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