The past few years have been tumultuous for Nissan’s US operations. He struggled with the turnover of executives, restless retailers and indifferent customers. But management has made efforts to improve factory-distributor relationships.
In April, Nissan scrapped the controversial Dealer Staircase Volume Bonus, or DVB, program that used cash rewards to incent retailers to meet aggressive monthly, quarterly, or year-end sales targets.
This strategy had for years angered Nissan retailers, many of whom argued that the automaker had pushed unrealistic sales targets that fostered a culture of price discounts, lowered resale values and damaged the brand’s reputation.
“For Nissan, leaving the DVB program has not been easy,” Slade said. “Nissan has always been a goal-driven company.
But the protest against the sales program had grown too strong for the brand to ignore.
“We heard loud and clear from our National Dealer Advisory Board, the results of our NADA survey,” Wheeler said at the time. “It is very clear that it was time for us to change.
Nissan has since replaced the program with a bonus plan that rewards dealers for customer service and brand loyalty.
While Nissan’s policies towards its dealers have always been “confrontational and intrusive,” the company has recently taken a more dealer-friendly attitude, according to a dealer who requested anonymity.
“Their new policies are more dealer centric,” he said. “There isn’t that much complexity; there is more transparency.