Nissan Versa Note named one of Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com “10 Best Back-to-School Cars of 2015”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – 07.31.2015 – The Nissan Versa Note has been named by the editors at Kelley Blue Book to its annual KBB.com “10 Best Back to School Cars of 2015” list. It is the latest honor for Nissan’s popular entry-level hatchback from KBB.com, which has also included Versa Note on its “10 Tech-Savviest Cars Under $20,000” (2015) and “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000” (2014) lists.

The vehicles selected for this year’s “Back-to-School” recommendation had to be available for around $20,000 or less and meet the editors’ criteria of being “practical, functional, safe and affordable” – as well as “something fun and stylish.” The 2015 Versa Note has a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price* (M.S.R.P.) of $14,180 USD, making it the lowest priced vehicle on the list.

“We are honored that Kelley Blue Book has recognized the Versa Note as one of its Best Back-to-School Cars of 2015,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc.  “Versa Note has a great combination of an affordable starting price, excellent fuel economy and long list of available safety and security features, combined with a sporty style and one of the roomiest interiors in the segment.”

The five-passenger Versa Note cabin provides a spacious total interior volume of 112.9 cubic feet and ample cargo space of 18.8 cubic feet. A low cargo area liftover height provides easy loading and unloading of heavy or bulky objects. The interior also offers front headroom of 40.8 inches and rear legroom of 38.3 inches. Interior versatility is further enhanced with the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, large flat cargo area and an available Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor.

The 2015 Versa Note is offered in five well-equipped models: S, S Plus, SV, SR and SL. Each is powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder. Versa Note S features a 5-speed manual transmission. The S Plus, SV, SR and SL models are equipped with a next-generation Nissan Xtronic transmission, helping them achieve 40 miles per gallon highway fuel economy.

The long list of Versa Note equipment includes standard Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, along with available Nissan Intelligent Key®, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), heated front seats and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Also offered are NissanConnectSM with Navigation and Mobile Apps, Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant, RearView Monitor, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and class-exclusive** Around View® Monitor, which provide a virtual 360° view of objects around the vehicle, with selectable split-screen close-ups of the front, rear and curb views, helping students maneuver the Versa Note into tight spots around campus or anywhere else they go.

To view the complete list “Back-to-School Cars” list, visit http://www.kbb.com/car-reviews-and-news/top-10/best-back-to-school-cars-2015/.

Nissan welcomes Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota to its “Heisman House” and presents new Armada SUV for his driveway

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – 07.29.2015 – When Marcus Mariota stepped on the stage at New York’s Best Buy Theater last December to accept the Heisman Trophy, he joined what is arguably one of the most exclusive clubs in all of sports – those who have hoisted the iconic 45-pound trophy.

Today, Mariota walked across another stage to receive a heavier piece of hardware, a new 2015 Nissan Armada SUV. The event, held at Nissan North America’s headquarters, about 15 miles south of the newly named Nissan Stadium where he’ll play home games as a professional, commemorated Mariota’s acceptance into the “Heisman House,” Nissan’s fictional fraternity for former Heisman winners.

As part of the Heisman House campaign, Mariota joins 13 other former Heisman winners, in a series of broadcast and social media vignettes set to air throughout the upcoming college football season. The first featuring Mariota are scheduled to air beginning Thursday, Sept. 3.

“On behalf of all Nissan employees, we are pleased to welcome you, Marcus, to the Heisman House. We hear you more than held your own against some of the Heisman veterans during the production of the spots,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc., at the presentation. “We also want to extend a heartfelt welcome to Nashville and to our Nissan family. Your new Armada will look right at home parked at Nissan Stadium.”

Now entering its fifth year, the popular Heisman House marketing campaign features a series of video vignettes, a traveling college campus/stadium tour and social media elements, including the opportunity for fans to vote online for their favorite Heisman Trophy candidates. In 2014 Nissan’s official crowed-sourced vote, with more than 400,000 participants, went to Mariota.

The first Heisman House college tour stop is Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Michigan – Oregon State game in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nissan’s relationship with the Heisman Trophy Trust began in 2006. In the company’s role as a premier partner, Nissan supports the Trust’s charitable activities and mission of service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.

Mariota recently signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans. He received 90.9 percent of the total possible points in the Heisman vote, the second highest all time. He also led Oregon to the National Championship game against Ohio State. Mariota complied a career 36-5 record at Oregon and was the second player selected in the 2015 NFL draft.

Remarks from Joji Tagawa, Corporate Vice President on Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. fiscal year 2015 first-quarter financial results

07.29.2015 – Today, Nissan is reporting solid financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 against a mixed backdrop for the global economy, and a varied performance in the different regions in which we operate.

For the quarter, net revenue, operating profit, net income and automotive free cash-flow all improved versus the comparable prior-year period. Our results were supported by encouraging demand in North America and Western Europe as well as the favorable impact of the year over year change in the yen-dollar exchange rate. Together, these trends as well as our ongoing actions to improve operational efficiency allowed us to offset the slow sales pace in Japan and several emerging markets, as well as negative currency movements in other countries.

For the three month period, consolidated net revenues increased 17.6% to 2.9 trillion yen. Operating profit totaled 193.7 billion yen, which equates to an operating margin of 6.7%. Net income increased to 152.8 billion yen, which represents a 5.3% net margin. Free cash flow for the automotive business was 109.5 billion yen and we ended the period with an automotive net cash position of 1.45 trillion yen.

These figures indicate that Nissan is on the right path towards our Power 88 mid-term goals.

Before going through the financial results in more detail, I will outline some business highlights for the quarter.

PRODUCT OFFENSIVE 

During the period, we maintained our new product offensive. In the US, we launched the 2016 Maxima to positive reviews. This flagship sedan has been redesigned to appeal to American consumers with bolder styling, a more powerful engine and the latest safety and connected technology system.

In China, we unveiled the Lannia, which was developed for young Chinese customers and we launched the Venucia T70, an all-new compact SUV.

In Japan, we launched the Hybrid version of the X-Trail, one of our most successful models in Japan and globally. We also announced the additional production of the Rogue in Kyushu from next spring for export to North America, and we introduced a taxi version of the NV200 for the market.

Our product offensive is continuing with the launch of the NP300 Frontier in Latin America and the Caribbean. This begins a series of back to back pick-up launches in 33 markets.

QUALITY 

Also in the quarter, several Nissan and Infiniti models were recognized in the recent JD Power Initial Quality Study in the US. The 2015 Nissan Sentra was named the top Compact Car.

The Infiniti QX70 was the highest ranked midsize premium SUV, and the QX80 was the number one large premium SUV. The QX50 was also named one of the top three compact premium SUVs. Infiniti was ranked among the top five nameplates in the overall ranking, out-performing several rival European premium brands.

Nissan also received honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The completely redesigned 2015 Nissan Murano was awarded a “Top Safety Pick Plus” vehicle safety rating.

BRAND 

These awards help reinforce perceptions of the Nissan brand. We further enhanced the brand through our sports partnerships, as demonstrated by our support for the UEFA (pronounced u-ey-faa) Champions League, the Yokohama F-Marinos and next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In the US, Nissan and the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans recently announced the formation of a 20-year, exclusive naming-rights partnership that rebrands Nashville’s downtown stadium as Nissan Stadium. This will increase Nissan’s visibility, as Nissan will be named by the media in connection with numerous sporting events and concerts held at the stadium.

ZERO EMISSIONS 

Nissan is also supporting the expansion of the world’s charging infrastructure. During the past quarter, Nissan extended its “No Charge to Charge” promotion to 17 US markets with the addition of the Boston and Denver metropolitan areas. We also enhanced our charging presence in Japan, where we forged a partnership with Yokosuka city. There are now more than 14,000 EV chargers, excluding home chargers.

And in South Africa, we signed a memorandum of understanding with BMW to plan and build a national grid of electric vehicle charging stations for use by Nissan and BMW electric vehicles.

In addition, Nissan and Green Charge Networks, the largest provider of commercial energy storage, joined forces to deploy second-life lithium-ion vehicle batteries for stationary commercial storage in the U.S. and international markets.

ALLIANCE 

Last month, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has sold its 250,000th electric vehicle. The Alliance is the world’s leader in zero-emission mobility and accounts for half of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. The Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle of all time, with more than 180,000 units sold.

And earlier this month, the Alliance, announced record synergies of 3.8 billion euros for 2014, up from 2.9 billion euros the previous year. The Alliance is targeting synergies of at least 4.3 billion euros by the end of fiscal year 2016. These benefits will flow from deeper collaboration in four key business areas: engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management, purchasing, and human resources.

FY 15 Q1 SALES PERFORMANCE 

During the three months ending June 30th, global total industry volumes – or TIV – reached 22.02 million units, an increase of 1.5%.

Nissan saw unit sales rise to 1.29 million units, up 4.4% from 1.24 million in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Nissan’s global market share was up 0.2 percentage points to 5.9%.

Looking at our key markets in detail…

In Japan, TIV fell by 5.5% to 1.1 million units. Nissan saw unit sales decline by 10% to 120 thousand units, resulting in a market share of 11.0%. Conditions remain challenging, particularly in segments for models such as NOTE and Serena. But we have been encouraged by robust sales of the X-Trail and DAYZ ROOX.

In China, where our sales performance is measured on a calendar basis, TIV was up 5.7% to 5.94 million units. Nissan unit sales increased to 296 thousand units, equivalent to a market share of 5.0%.

The Sylphy series and X-Trail continue to drive demand. Although we were negatively impacted by the decline in light commercial vehicles sales – due to new emission regulations – our China sales are in line with our expectations.

In North America, Nissan achieved record sales. TIV in the U.S. was up 3.3% at 4.57 million units. Nissan’s sales rose by 5.5% to 369 thousand units, equivalent to a market share of 8.1%. Strong demand for models including Altima, Rogue and Sentra underpinned this performance.

– In Canada, Nissan also outperformed the market as unit sales jumped 13.6% to 37 thousand units, equivalent to a market share of 6.5%.
– In Mexico, Nissan maintained its number-one position with unit sales of 80 thousand units up 25%, equivalent to a market share of 26.3%.
– In Europe, TIV increased by 0.7%. Nissan sales rose by 10.7% to 189 thousand units, representing a market share of 4.0%. This performance was driven by demand for products such as Qashqai and Juke, which established our leadership in the crossover segment. The company ended the period as the best-selling Asian brand in Europe.
– In Russia, despite a 36.6% decline in the market, Nissan’s sales declined by 12.6% to 34 thousand units. As a result, our market share rose to 8.5%.

In other markets, TIV fell by an estimated 3.8% to 4.82 million units. Nissan’s sales in the other markets fell by 1.6% to 203 thousand units. Among these markets, sales in Asia and Oceania declined 3.9% to 87 thousand units. Sales in Latin America declined 2.5% to 42 thousand units and sales in the Middle East decreased 6.3% to 49 thousand units. Sales in Africa increased 22.3% to 25 thousand units.

FY15 Q1 financial performance 

Now let’s move to our overall financial performance for the period. As with previous quarters, Nissan is presenting its financial performance under the equity accounting method for our joint venture in China.

On this basis:

  • Consolidated net revenues increased 433.8 billion yen to 2.9 trillion yen, primarily driven by the increase in volume and the impact of FX currency translation on overseas revenues.
  • Operating profit totaled 193.7 billion yen, up 71.1 billion yen or 58% from the comparable prior year period.
  • Net income was 152.8 billion yen which was up 40.7 billion yen or 36.3% versus the comparable prior year period.

Looking at the operating profit movement in detail:

  • FX had a positive impact of 32.0 billion yen.
  • Cost items, including purchasing cost reduction efforts resulted in net savings of 42.6 billion yen.
  • Volume and mix produced a positive impact of 64.5 billion yen.
  • The increase in selling expenses resulted in a 41.9 billion yen negative movement.
  • R&D expenses increased by 7.4 billion yen.
  • Manufacturing expenses increased by 3.2 billion yen.
  • Other items had a negative impact of 15.5 billion yen.

For the period, free cash flow was 109.5 billion yen for the automotive business. Nissan continued to enjoy a solid automotive net cash position of 1.45 trillion yen. While this increased from the 1.39 trillion yen at the end of fiscal year 2014, it is 530.8 billion yen above the net cash position of 916.3 billion yen that we reported at the same point in fiscal 2014.

On a management pro forma basis, which includes the proportional consolidation of our Chinese joint venture:

  • Net revenues rose to 3.1 trillion yen for the first quarter.
  • Operating profit increased to 219.7 billion yen or 7% of net revenue.
  • Net income rose to 152.8 billion yen.
  • Automotive free cash flow was 130.4 billion yen; and
  • We ended the period with automotive net cash of 1.6 trillion yen.

Conclusion 

Relative to our financial outlook for the year, we are maintaining our previously announced full-year guidance.

We also continue to project a full year dividend of 42 yen per share, a 27% increase from the prior year.

In conclusion, these results show Nissan is making progress towards delivering our Power 88 objectives. These remain the achievement of a sustainable 8% operating profit margin by the end of the plan period and a target of 8% global market share.