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Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Nissan to boost number of women selling its cars

AP , TOKYO

Nissan Motor Co will double the percentage of females in its Japanese sales force over the next two years because the public "would prefer to have a woman sell them a car," chief executive Carlos Ghosn said yesterday.

Japan's second-largest automaker will boost the percent of women on showroom floors to 10 percent from 5 percent by the fiscal year ending March 2008 and raise the percentage of women as technical advisers to 20 percent from 11 percent, Ghosn said.

The move comes after a slump in October sales and is mean to respond to customer surveys showing that buyers in traditionally male-dominated Japan respond better to female salespeople than to their male colleagues.

"The bottom line is that -- statistically -- more than half the public say they would prefer to have a woman sell them a car," Ghosn said while unveiling the plan to a group of 100 saleswomen at a seminar in Tokyo.

Tokyo-based Nissan has 142 dealerships in Japan and started the drive for more saleswomen here because Nissan owns about 50 percent of the showrooms. In the US, where women account for less than 10 percent, dealerships are independent.

Ghosn said market research shows buyers respond better to women staff because females are more skilled in showing empathy and in connecting with customers and understanding their needs.

Nissan has about 30,000 employees in Japan, and 18,000 in sales. Women account for about 800 of the sales staff.

Nissan's profit for the July-September quarter climbed 8 percent to ?125 billion (US$1.04 billion) as strong sales around the world offset rising raw material costs and discount incentives.

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