Nissan to offer self-driving techs on commercial vehicles

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 13, 2014

Nissan is planning to offer autonomous driving features on its commercial trucks and vans to cater to growing demand from customers. Philippe Guerin-Boutaud, global corporate vice president for Nissan's commercial vehicle business unit, remarked that such features will help the carmaker hike its commercial truck and van sales in the United States.

Guerin-Boutaud told Automotive News that autonomous will bring benefits like attention to safety and the opportunity to improve fuel efficiency. He noted that the timetable for launching self-driving features to commercial vehicles will differ from country to country. Nissan has vowed to commence offering autonomous vehicles by the end of the decade.

Nissan has so far found the US commercial vehicle market a tough nut to crack, even though it has around 300 certified dealers in the country. Nissan sold 10,975 NV full-size commercial vans in the US in the first nine months of 2014 – a pale comparison to 75,088 E-series vans sold by Ford in the period.

The Japanese carmaker also counts pickups as part of its commercial portfolio, although it has not said so in the US, where it is selling its Titan full-size pickup.

Guerin-Boutaud believes he could hike Nissan’s global pickup sales by focusing on driver comfort and sophisticated features like 360-degree backup cameras; ergonomic seats; and safety-oriented self- driving technologies.

Guerin-Boutaud remarked that key direction for Nissan’s commercial business is to grow among small and medium-sized business customers, noting that customer satisfaction would be a vital gauge in determining the carmaker’s success.

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