Paul Willcox has been named the new sales and marketing chief of Nissan's operations in Europe effective July 1. The appointment is part of the company's aim of replacing Toyota as the bestselling Japanese brand in Europe.
Willcox, who is currently Nissan's head of national sales company in the United Kingdom, will be replacing Simon Thomas, who will be leaving the company after 20 years to pursue a career outside Nissan.
According to Nissan's head of Africa, Middle East, India and European region operations, Colin Dodge, the appointment came as the company is "making strong progress" with its goal to be the top selling Japanese brand in the region.
He added that Willcox will be responsible for ensuring that the European team will stay focused on "aggressively pursuing further growth." In 1992, after starting his career at Peugeot in the UK, Willcox joined Nissan.
In 2008, he was named managing director of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. In 2010, Nissan held its position as the No. 1 Japanese brand in the UK, obtaining at least 100,000 in unit sales. Willcox will initially work between the UK and Nissan's European headquarters in Switzerland.
He will be relocating to Switzerland permanently on August 1. During the first five months, the company's new-vehicle sales in EFTA and EU countries were 206,314 units, an increase of 21.7 percent compared to the same period last year, based on the European automakers association ACEA.
In the same period, Toyota group sales dropped 4 percent to 256,935, including Lexus. Furthermore, brand sales for Toyota were 245,254, a 5.4 percent drop, while Lexus sold 11,681 units, an increase of 37.1 percent.