Nissan Motor GB has appointed Kalyana Sivagnanam as its new managing director four months after the announcement that his predecessor Alex Smith would replace Paul Willis as Volkswagen Group UK managing director.
Sivagnanam is returning to the UK from his previous role with Nissan as regional vice-president sales and marketing, Africa Middle-East and India, after 14 years spent with Ford Motor Company and is now based at Nissan’s Maple Cross head office.
He will report to Ken Ramirez, senior vice-president for sales and marketing in Nissan Europe and takes the managing director’s reigns from NMGB sales director Andrew Sellars, who had assumed the role on an interim basis.
Commenting on Sivagnanam’s appointment, Ramirez said: “I am delighted to welcome Kalyana to Nissan Motor GB.
“His extensive experience, both within Nissan and the wider automotive industry, will be a tremendous asset as we accelerate plans to electrify our European product range and rapidly evolve our business in the years ahead.
“I would also like to thank Andrew Sellars, NMGB Sales Director, for taking on the additional role of interim MD during the last quarter. His valued contribution and support have enabled a successful transition for our business as we closed the fiscal year.”
Sivagnanam joins Nissan Motor GB at a time when its UK registrations are faltering. In 2018 the brand suffered a decline of 32.1% (to 102,637) and Nissan’s Q1 2019 sales were down 15.5% (to 29,402) in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Despite the outlook, he remains in a positive frame of mind.
Commenting on his new appointment, Sivagnanam said: “It’s a great time to be joining Nissan in Europe, thanks to established leadership in the crossover segments, exciting new model launches to come, and a clearly defined vision that will meet the needs of future customers, while delivering a profitable return for our UK dealer network.”
Nissan said that the appointment of Sivagnanam comes as the European automotive industry embarks on a period of unprecedented change.
“Three key trends - electrification, connectivity and autonomous technologies – are set to deliver new opportunities for Nissan dealers, while transforming the way customers interact with their cars”, it said in a statement.
“Designed to meet the needs of these future customers, Nissan Intelligent Mobility clearly defines Nissan’s vision of how cars can be powered, driven and integrated into society.
With the LEAF and e-NV200 as a start point, Nissan expects to electrify 42% of its range – almost double the forecasted industry average – over the next three years, as part of its Move to 2022 strategy, with the launch of new vehicles powered by a suite of new powertrains including e-power and fully electric models.