Nissan GT-R is a customer attraction. Some dealers are reluctant to allow test-driving
1, 16. 2008
Nissan GT-R is said to show the robustness of Nissan Motor Co.
It became such a popular car that orders had been placed for it more than 11 times more than what Nissan had expected in about two months since the company began accepting advance orders for the car in September 2007. The sales of the car began on Dec. 6, 2007, and many customers have paid visit to dealers exhibiting the car to take a first-hand look at the car since then. But some dealers are unable to hide anxiety about the popularity of the car. The dealers are uncertain how many units of the car they would be supplied by the company even if orders were received briskly from the customers. The car is priced at as high as 8 million yen. While it is getting difficult to sell new models of cars, the dealers are worried that they would be deep in trouble if the cars for test-driving and display are damaged.
Cautious in serving mania without buying power or "speed craze"
Dealers troubled by handling of DT-R
The sales plan for GT-R is 200 units per month. The advance orders for the car had totalled for 2,282 units as of Nov. 14 since such orders began to be accepted on Sept. 26. The orders are still coming in increasingly. The car is produced at the company's Tochigi plant, and its production plan is 1,000 units per month. Attention is focused on how many units of the car produced at the plant are for domestic sales. It never happens that all of the car produced there would be sold at home, and the car provides a low contribution to the earning of the dealers.
The dealers are thus faced by trouble of handling the expensive car priced in the range of 7,770,000 yen to 8,347,500 yen. The GT-R cars are displayed or prepared for test-driving only at the dealers designated in principle by the company as the Nissan High Performance Center (NHPC). It would be natural for car users to think they could test-drive the car if they visit one of the NHPC's located at 160 different places throughout the country. The dealers are, however, reluctant to let the customers test-drive the high-priced car.
The dealers are especially afraid of being visited by the "speed craze" and car manias who do not have enough purchasing power to buy a GT-R car for test-driving. The GT-R cars are high-priced, high-performance cars and their supply by the maker to the dealers is limited. It would cause nuisance to local residents if the high-performance capability of the car is tested on the public road. Not only that, if scratch is made on the car, it would be difficult to replace it with new one. For the dealers, therefore, GT-R is considered as a high-risk car.
Not every one can test-drive by visiting dealers
Some of the dealers that could secure the GT-R cars for both display and test-driving are not keeping the car for test-driving. Cars primarily supplied for test-driving are set aside as "public relations" cars for only selected customers to test-drive. Different from ordinary cars for test-driving, those cars might be used only by invited users at a circuit or for driving to confirm the model when sales are made.
There are some other dealers which display one of the two GT-R cars provided by the maker at NHPC and use the other one as a "customer attraction" at a different dealer that is not designated as NHPC. GT-R is just the car for customer attraction. Luring more visitors to the dealer by taking advantage of the GT-R display, efforts are made to increase the sales of such other models of cars as Skyline and Skyline Coope.
Nissan is encouraging the NHPC's to keep test-driving cars. At present, however, users who want to test-drive the GT-R cars had better call NHPC's to find out if they have the cars for test-driving before visiting.