Nissan is clearly having the most fun right now

Nissan Rogue Dogue ready for “fast & fur-ious” debut at the

Inside baseball stories about the automotive industry can be quite boring for people who aren’t in the industry, but once in awhile you notice something going on within an automaker that needs to be talked about. Today, that automaker is Nissan, and it’s becoming quite clear they’re having a lot of fun, and that’s a good thing.

Bean counters can be terrible for an automaker. It’s why you don’t see a lot of competition to something like the Dodge Challenger Demon. You know more people have insane ideas like that — they’re just not allowed to execute on them. But that’s not the only place bean counters have influence.

Over the past few months, it’s becoming quite clear that the bean counters are Nissan are non-existent, or they’ve let loose the reigns. There are some interesting concepts coming from the company. While they might not make production — the Titan Warrior should — they’re making some fun and interesting stuff.

Just look at the Winter Warrior concepts from last year. If Nissan could put a set of snow tracks on it, they did. Is that the reason why Nissan is selling 40,000 Rogues a month? Probably not, but it surely brought attention to their lineup.

Then there’s the Rogue program tie-in that’s near and dear to my heart; Star Wars. They’ve clearly spent big dollars on an arrangement with Disney for the special edition Nissan Rogue: Rogue One Star Wars Limited Edition that’s on stale. The time and attention to detail is not only commendable, but time consuming. Yet, they managed.

Then, of course, there’s the incredibly silly yet fun sleepover that I participated in in Chicago. I still have people asking me about it when they see me. While it’s not necessarily moving metal, it is raising awareness for the brand in a fun, organic way.

For the New York show this year, Nissan ran a road trip event for journalists to the showcase the fastest growing non-truck brand in advance of the Rogue Sport program in a few weeks, plus they donated $5,000 to the winning team’s charity. They took a fun event yet still found a way to give back. That’s before we even mention all their work for Habitat for Humanity.

Also in New York they showed off the Rogue Dogue concept. They also brought puppies, because Ford proved a few years back in Chicago that puppies are the way to all of our hearts. Again, it was a fun concept that drew attention when horsepower was all the rage.

Are you seeing a trend here?

It appears, at least from the outside, that Nissan is having a good deal of fun right now. Yes, they’re hard at work — you have to be with how many cars they’re selling these days — but they’re finding creative ways to generate earned media while having a lot of fun. It’s not just people enjoying what they do — everyone in this industry really enjoys what they do — but it’s being allowed to express creativity in a way I don’t see from other manufacturers.

What you’re seeing is what happens when smart, creative people are allowed to be smart and creative. To the upper-management at Nissan, good job!

Chad Kirchner
the authorChad Kirchner
In addition to Chad Kirchner's work here, he's a freelance automotive journalist for outlets around the world.

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