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How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected auto industry leaders

By Atsushi Najima, President and Managing Director Nissan Philippines Inc.

“1. Our customers, our boss:

The current pandemic is such an unprecedented event. All business plans and scenarios pre-pandemic all became irrelevant. Navigating through this disruption, we needed to go back to our corporate purpose and pay closer attention to our customers’ needs in this situation. All our company efforts as we go through this pandemic have been geared towards serving our customers better, validating our vision to enriching Filipino lives.

2. Communication is key

As the automotive industry is one of the industries sustaining the biggest negative impact during the pandemic, the situation over the past 2 years has taught us that consistent communication with our employees, dealers, and partners is key for our business to survive. In these challenging times, it is important that our stakeholders are always updated on the company’s plans. It also shows a sign of stability. At Nissan, we make it a priority to engage with everyone through our periodic Virtual meetings. Now that COVID cases are starting to go down, we recently started having face-to-face meetings again in select areas and occasions. Consistent communication is vital for us to continue serving our customers better.

3. Flexibility is vital for survival 

While our overall vision remains the same, the pandemic has taught us to be more flexible and agile to accommodate changes in our business conditions. As an example, because of lockdowns and quarantines, people are forced to stay indoors and become more active online. We quickly seized this opportunity by introducing our Virtual Showroom and other online solutions to make purchasing a Nissan vehicle as convenient as possible. We also adapted a more robust online after sales portal that caters to our customers’ service needs from the comfort of their own homes. In the company, we have fully adopted the “work-from-home” set up. We have put programs in place that allow our employees to be more productive even while working from home.

4. Focus on our strength

For Nissan, our strength is in innovation. Despite the pandemic, we continued to innovate this year as we launched multiple products for our customers in the Philippines. We are able to launch the tougher and smarter Nissan Navara in March, the 100% electric vehicle Nissan LEAF in May, the new perfect family mid-size SUV Nissan Terra in September, and the stylish and smart all-new Nissan Almera sub-compact sedan in October.  This week we continue to show our latest innovation by launching our Flagship SUV.

5. Clear vision. The future looks bright.

I always believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic is only temporary. Despite the challenges in our lives and in our business, we continue to persevere, strengthening our fundamentals on products and customer experiences. We continue to invest in innovative technologies, increase efficiency of our services through digitalization, and train our people to achieve their optimum performance. I believe that these are key to having a stronger and more resilient future not just for our company, but also for our customers. Now that the market is starting to recover, I see this becoming more of a reality.”

Compiled by Tessa Salazar

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