Nissan hires famous testing chief David Champion as quality advisor

Article by Anita Panait, on August 25, 2012

Nissan Motor Co. has acquired the services of David Champion to aid the carmaker in making sure that its vehicles match up well against rival models. Champion will hold a newly created position as the executive adviser of competitive assessment and quality, effective Sept. 10, 2012.

Champion, who served as a quality-assurance engineer at Nissan from 1994 to 1997, is known for his recommendations as the head of auto testing for Consumer Reports, and has influenced countless car buyers. Carla Bailo, Nissan's senior vice president of research and development, said in a statement that Champion's unique industry background will help ensure that the customer's voice is evident in every product the carmaker engineers.

Bailo noted that Champion’s experience in developing robust testing methods will aid Nissan in keeping pace with the increasing complexity of its products and in staying focused on continually improving its customer satisfaction ratings.

Champion has been in charge of Consumer Reports' 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut, considered as the largest independent proving ground in the world. His opinions as well as those of his 23-person staff are well regarded, and usually played a significant role in how well the public receives produced vehicles. Carmakers sought his advice as well as took note of the Consumer Reports’ "recommended" label he controlled.

In print since 1936, Consumer Reports is a magazine is published Consumers Union, a nonprofit organization that conducts unbiased product testing and consumer-oriented research as well as public education and advocacy. Consumer Reports publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products, as assessed in its in-house testing laboratory and survey research center. Its staff buys all tested products at retail prices, and doesn’t accept free samples to dispel any bias.

Champion will hold office at Nissan’s Arizona Testing Center, and will report to Steve Monk, director of vehicle evaluation and testing and chief marketability engineer for the Nissan Technical Center North America. Champion told Automotive News that he aims to help "make Nissan a world leader" by showing the carmaker what consumers look for in cars and helping the company really target their cars to consumers.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. -- Nissan Jidosha Kabushiki-gaisha -- is a Japanese multinational carmaker that builds and sells cars under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands. It is currently based in Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan. In 1928, the Nihon Sangyo holding company -- with the 'Nissan' name serving as an abbreviation for Nihon Sangyo – was formed by Yoshisuke Aikawa. Nissan entered auto manufacturing in 1933.

Nissan was hit by severe financial difficulties in the late 1990s, prompting it to look for a partner. Nissan entered into a strategic alliance with Renault in March 1999.

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