New Nissan Philippines President Yasuhisa Masuda hits the ground running

Interview by Kap Maceda Aguila

AN AVOWED FAN of the Star Wars franchise (he admits to having more than 50,000 pieces of memorabilia) and punk band Green Day, Yasuhisa Masuda has logged over 12 years of service with Nissan. Since joining the brand in 2011, Mr. Masuda has “held various leadership positions in Market Intelligence, Brand and Media Strategy.” Prior to his appointment to lead NPI, he was Nissan’s Chief Marketing Officer for the Japan Marketing Division. Mr. Masuda used to work in the fast-moving consumer goods business.

“Velocity” had a short chat with the executive right after the formal turnover of the NPI presidency to him from Juan Manuel Hoyos. Here are excerpts from that interview:

VELOCITY: What are your priorities for Nissan Philippines?

YASUHISA MASUDA: Definitely, the brand is the priority. That includes everything: the products, dealerships, and also our communication. Improving the brand is my priority, and I want to leverage the past while trying out something new in order to have a strong brand image to the customer. That’s the my priority.

Nissan has been known for pioneering the electric vehicle space in the Philippines through the Leaf. Can you share with us some of your plans for EVs? Do you think we are ready for a bigger number of electric vehicle buyers?

Yeah, thank you for bringing up that point. I can definitely say we are known as the pioneer in EVs; we are being very positive and proactive in expanding our lineup of EVs. Of course, you know we have the Leaf EV and the Kicks (e-Power). We are looking to expand that lineup but at this moment we cannot share the details. We are seriously planning to expand.

How many dealerships does Nissan Philippines have at the moment? Are you looking to grow this number?

We have 54 dealerships, and we’re trying to think not only about how to expand this number, but also the categories. For example, we want to have both permanent dealerships and pop-up stores. We are very open to have events at the mall, etcetera.

You’re looking to grow the brand and, of course, you will need to sell units of your vehicles. What segments are you seeing promise in — segments that will offer the most growth for NPI?

We see three segments that are growing: Pickups, minivans or people movers, and SUVs — (in the third category) we have quite a good lineup from the Patrol to the Kicks and Terra — and we have an opportunity to deliver more vehicles in these segments.