Masurel joins from Japan where he was most recently global chief marketing manager for large cars and performance cars.
He has also held a number of roles at Nissan Europe including chief marketing manager for Qashqai, Juke and medium cars, and strategy & business planning manager.
Masurel replaces Steve McLennan who has moved to Nissan Europe. Masurel will be responsible for all marketing functions at Nissan Motor (GB) Limited and spared us a few moments of his time to tell us about an exciting year ahead.
Congratulations on your appointment. What will you be hoping to achieve in your first year?
The most important thing will be to work on continuing to develop the Nissan brand power – this is the main objective we have as part of our mid-term plan. I will be keeping track of the long-term development of the brand, supporting the dealers on a daily basis and making sure the business delivers.
Do you think dealers can feel confident about the future with Nissan?
Of course. We have a lot of new exciting products coming in the next 12 to 24 months. And as well as the new products on the way, some core products will also be replaced or enhanced.
We are just before a big new wave of products. It’s a moment when we can grow our volume and our brand and it’s good for dealers as well. It’s a bit early to give too many details. Some information has been shared with dealers but we cannot go public yet.
So the next 12 months will be key…
Yes, we will be announcing enhancements of products representing maybe half of our sales. There will be some news at the Geneva Motor Show in March which will be very important for the UK market and will continue our brand story of innovation and excitement.
Every time we have a new product, there will be a strong innovation element and something exciting about the design or driving performance. It’s very important that every product we launch supports this message of innovation that excites.
Are you looking forward to the challenge of your new job?
Of course. It’s very good for me to be beginning this job for several reasons.
The UK market is a very mature, very structured market. It’s very exciting because it’s a market where professionals within the organisation can make a difference.
It’s very interesting and exciting for me because I’ve just come back from Japan. I’ve been working on global strategy for almost three years. It will be good to actually implement this strategy.
You oversaw the launch of Qashqai and Juke – those two cars have been a great success for Nissan, would you agree?
When we first launched Qashqai, there was a little bit of surprise about its success. Everybody was confident but it went beyond what we planned. We were very satisfied with the launch and the success that came at that event – it was a good launch with good customer feedback.
For Juke, based on the success of Qashqai, we were very ambitious. Its success did not come as a surprise. With Juke we were confident we had something unique and we planned from the start for strong volume and results.
Turning to Nismo, the potential there would seem to be enormous…
Nismo is proof that Nissan believes in innovation that excites and is one of the key initiatives for 2013. It was one of my projects in Japan, working with the team there, the Nismo engineers, the product guys and the racing guys to bring this back to life and to bring it to Europe.
In Europe it’s still very niche so we want to broaden Nismo’s appeal. We intend it to be a very modern expression of performance which also focuses on the experience of the performance.
We will be focusing very heavily on technology so the Nismo product and Nismo brand will give a superior driving sensation with handling and aerodynamic characteristics from motor sport but also with a very strong technology element inspired by the gaming world.
The theme of accessible excitement is very present at the moment in all of Nissan’s activities. The GT Academy is one example of what we call ‘accessible thrill’. With Nismo we will be attempting to bring accessible thrill to our customers and make ourselves different from our competitors.
How are things going with LEAF?
Again, it is an example of us bringing innovation to the market. So far the results are that we are the EV leader worldwide. LEAF is the most sold electric car so represents a major success for us. The market itself is growing at a relatively moderate pace.
The building of the infrastructure is dependent on many players including local authorities, the government and manufacturers. There are a lot of people involved and the infrastructure is growing step by step.
In the US however, sales are now ramping up and the infrastructure is getting to a good level in some regions. When this is in place there is increased interest from the customer.
We are confident that as this becomes the case in the UK, the market will grow and LEAF is in a good position to take advantage of that. UK production starts in Sunderland this year.
Any final thoughts?
The key initiatives we have at the start of this year, such as Nismo launch, LEAF expansion and coming exciting news at Geneva and after confirm the direction the brand is heading in. Along with the themes of innovation and excitement, this is very important. We also need to get ready for the numerous product launches in the coming year.