Last month, newly appointed Nissan Philippines president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan was our featured executive in the Gearhead section of the magazine. Here is an excerpt from our exclusive interview with the head honcho.
Top Gear Philippines (TGP): The clamor for the GT-R has been there for a while. Why did you choose to finally bring it in? Why now?
Ramesh Narasimhan (RN): Of course, introducing such an iconic model does not come with a bed of roses. Lots of factors are carefully considered to fully support the success of this supercar. I believe that we are on the right track, as we continue to re-establish the brand, and at the same time refresh our product lineup. I firmly believe that there is no better time than now. Why? Because we are also serving the latest version of Godzilla, the 2017 GT-R.
TGP: We noticed that NPI is making fun cars (the Juke, for example) available in the country. Is this part of your strategy to bring back Nissan to the forefront of the Philippine automotive scene?
RN: Nissan makes vehicles for a wide range of needs. From a quirky compact car like the Juke, to a commanding luxury SUV like the Patrol Royale, to the super exciting sports car like the GT-R. Our product portfolio fits different life stages and we will continue to bring in exciting products that are relevant to the market. I believe Nissan can make it back as one of the key players in the industry.
TGP: How do you plan to sustain the growth that Nissan Philippines experienced the previous year?
RN: Exciting and innovative product offering is key. But more than that, we also need to focus on enhancing our customer experience that sparks loyalty to the brand. We need to take care of our customers starting from purchase to re-purchase. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, and we need to start now, to drive our growth even further.
TGP: What would you do to enhance customer experience?
RN: Understanding our customer’s journey, identify our weak points and plan out how we can improve. This year we are also opening new dealerships, so we can be conveniently located to where our customers are.
TGP: The past few years have been good to the Nissan brand as shown by its tremendous growth. This is no doubt because of the launch of important products like the Navara and the X-Trail. What else can we expect from the brand this year?
RN: Classified. I’d have to kill you if I tell you (laughs). But kidding aside, we would like to seize our current momentum to continuously excite the market with our product offerings. Watch out for us!
TGP: More people are also becoming aware of the resurgence of the Nissan brand through the help of events like the GT Academy. Are you planning more activities like this in the future? Aside from motorsports, what other areas are you planning to explore?
RN: We have said it before that Nissan GT Academy is the democratization of motorsports; unearthing and developing future motorsport talents to become Nissan ambassadors. Let’s hope for the best that the Philippine representatives will make it again this year. Aside from motorsports, we're promoting tourism and travel (In partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board, the marketing arm of the Department of Tourism). There are lots of beautiful places in the Philippines. I have seen some of them, and we should be proud of them. I’m sure there are more hidden gems that are accessible by driving and are yet to be discovered. Of course, discovery is more exciting when you are using a Nissan vehicle.
TGP: What is your favorite Nissan model? Why?
RN: I would have two favorites because they fit two of my personalities. First, I love the outdoors with my family, so I would go for the Nissan Navara. With its brawny looks and superb multi-link suspension technology, it’s simply home when it is off-road (literally and figuratively). Second, I spend most of my time in the city as I perform my role in NPI, so I would like to be in a Nissan Patrol Royale. With its commanding road presence and its luxurious amenities, no need to fuss going through the hustle and bustle of city life.