A panel van is not a car. It can’t be marketed like one. The folks at Nissan Canada know that, says the automaker’s chief marketing manager, Jason Legere.
So the automaker has crafted a marketing campaign aimed at reaching likely buyers. It includes a direct mail campaign, talk show and sports radio slots on stations trades people listen to when they’re out in their vans. There will be some ads in trade publications as well.
The NV will also be on view at trade shows, starting with the Buildex Vancouver show in February, which draws people from the construction industry.
But it looks as if dealers will be taking on the lion’s share of the marketing.
“We want dealers to find opportunities for putting as many of the vehicles on as loaners and test vehicles as possible,” Legere says. “They will be going out to bring the vehicle to potential customers.”
He says the NV has plenty to offer trades people. Features like the fold down front passenger seat, which doubles as a worktable, a 120 volt plug-in in the centre console for a laptop and other power outlets.
“The van comes lots pre-drilled with mounting points in the cargo area which makes upfitting easy,” Legere says. “There no need to drill into the vehicle.”
(Upfitting is panel van and pickup truck lingo for outfitting.)
Nissan plans to lure buyers with two incentive programs: the cargo management system comes with a cargo partition and three, 44-inch shelving units; the utility package offers a cargo partition and a three-bar utility rack or a cargo partition and an interior ladder keeper for high roof models.
All packages are free.
He says the automaker will be a partnering with a company here to do the work and supply other accessories, but dealers will have the opportunity to align themselves with other suppliers as well.
Legere says that since Nissan dealers selling NVs will be operating franchises separate from their Nissan stores, though not necessarily standalone, there will be need for staff to specialize in NV sales and service as well as heavier lifts and larger and higher service department doors to cope with the high-roof models.
As for service hours that are friendly to van operators, that’s coming he says. And telematic devices? He says that’s coming too.