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Mexico 2018 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mayra González Velasco, President & Managing Director of Nissan Mexicana, on maintaining its top market position, setting the benchmark for Nissan globally, and innovating for a greener future.

 Mayra González Velasco
BIOGRAPHY
Mayra González Velasco has been the President & Managing Director of Nissan Mexicana since 2016. She is the first woman to lead a Nissan branch worldwide in more than 83 years. She formerly served as Sales, Marketing and Dealer Network Development Vice President at Nissan and has a degree in marketing from Universidad Tecnológica de México.

By market share, Nissan is the top carmaker in the Mexican market. How do you constantly adapt to remain ahead of the competition?

We have four main factors of success. First, it is the product and our innovation in manufacturing, because we have great preference from the market in terms of durability, quality, and reliability. Second, we have the strongest and most well-established dealer network, with dealerships in excellent locations that provide customers with a unique experience when buying a Nissan. Third is our strong financial muscle through Credi Nissan; we have innovative, pioneering, and unique programs. Fourth is our talented team. We are offering customers this innovation and excitement through the introduction of the Nissan GT-R, which is a legendary sports car, as well with our first hybrid vehicle, Nissan X-Trail. We have cars for every taste and segment in Mexico

What is the relevance of Mexico within Nissan's global strategy?

For Nissan, Mexico is the global benchmark. We are the most important operation for the corporation. Markets such as Japan and China are larger than Mexico; however, we have been able to maintain not only the number-one position in terms of car sales and manufacturing but also customer satisfaction, while the profitability of the dealer network has also increased. That it is why Mexico is Nissan's benchmark market.

How advanced is Mexico in terms of industrial technology developments?

Our strategy is extremely focused on what customers want, and a great example of this is Nissan Kicks, an SUV in a segment in which we were not participating previously. It was launched in 2016, and shortly after it became the best-selling car in that segment because it is the perfect example of how successful product innovation can drive demand. This car is also manufactured in Aguascalientes. Furthermore, we will start the production of Infiniti QX50 through a joint venture between the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Daimler. One of our objectives for our manufacturing operation, including four plants—one in Morelos and three in Aguascalientes—is to produce more than 1 million vehicles by the end of the decade.

What are the pillars of environmental innovation at Nissan and what is the appetite for eco-friendly vehicles in Mexico?

We were the first ones to launch an electric vehicle (EV) back in 2014, through the Nissan LEAF. We are the leaders, not only in Mexico, but worldwide. We have sold more than 320,000 EV units globally and more than 355 units in Mexico. To date, we have more than 270 charging stations established both through our dealer network, other public spaces, and commercial centers. When we launched LEAF in 2014, we integrated this step without the respective infrastructure because we could not wait. If we had to wait for the government to get to the point needed, we would still be waiting. It is important for the government to play a key role in such development and energies in partnership with manufacturers to promote policies and different taxation for these energies. We need to continue to work alongside the government and will continue to push because this is not the future, but the present. It has been an effort that has been taking place for many years; however, we need to evolve. Now, we are talking about autonomous driving and connectivity, and we have an umbrella called Nissan Intelligence Mobility pursuing zero-emissions and zero-accident solutions.

How is Nissan adapting in light of NAFTA renegotiation to retain its position in the market?

We will continue to do business as usual because nothing has changed. We are waiting to see what will happen and will decide after that. We have to continue to ensure that we can retain our leadership position in the market. In May, we celebrated nine years of sales leadership in the country.