Nissan is in a good position with its U.S. dealer count, both for Nissan and Infiniti brands, says Jed Connelly, Nissan North America's senior vice president-sales and marketing.
Last year, NNA launched an initiative for redesigning aging Infiniti dealerships in the U.S. to boost sales. The first batch of remodeled stores are expected to be complete by spring.
“The response is great, the dealers love the program,” Connelly says. “We have three dealers who are going to do ground-up prototypes probably in the next six to 12 months, and the dealers are excited because, very much like the Nissan program, the dealer advisory board was involved and I think it's always much more successful on both sides if you have dealer involvement.”
There now are about 178 Infiniti dealers in the U.S. All are selling the brand exclusively.
Connelly expects Infiniti dealer growth to be “very, very modest. We're only going to where markets are expanding and emerging,” he says, adding “a couple dealers” will be added next year.
A similar program to redo Nissan stores is at the halfway point, says Connelly, with a quarter of Nissan's U.S. dealers completing remodeling.
Some 65% of Nissan's dealerships are exclusive, up from 50% when the program launched three years ago.
“I think our exclusive count now is very much on par with Toyota and Honda, and we were quite far behind three years ago,” he says.
Like Infiniti, Connelly expects little if any growth in Nissan's dealer count.
“Basically our dealer count has been stable and it should remain stable,” he says.