NEW YORK – Set to replace Jed Connelly, Nissan North America Inc.’s long-time senior vice president of sales and marketing, Brad Bradshaw has a daunting task ahead.

Bradshaw, currently vice president and general manager-Nissan Div., was promoted last month to replace the retiring Connelly as the senior most U.S. Nissan executive.

Under Connelly’s leadership, Nissan’s U.S. sales grew from 703,662 in 2001 to 1,076,945 in 2005.

“It’s going to be important to just keep the company moving forward,” Bradshaw tells Ward's here on the sidelines of Nissan’s New York auto show unveiling of the new ’07 Infiniti G and Nissan Altima sedans.

“(Jed has a) pretty good track record,” he says.

Nissan is launching five all-new or refreshed vehicles in the U.S. this year, not including the new Infiniti G sedan.

“We’ve got five launches this year on the Nissan side and one on the Infiniti side, and the biggest priority is going to be to keep those balls in the air,” Bradshaw says.

Nissan is due to launch the redesigned Quest minivan in June, although start of production is set for May at its Canton, MS, plant.

Next up will be the subcompact Versa hatchback, launching production in June but going on sale in July, Bradshaw says. The Sentra compact car is due in October, followed by the launch of the all-new Altima and Infiniti G in November.

Closing out 2005, Nissan will debut the sedan version of the Versa.

Bradshaw confirms the Altima Hybrid, which is set to go on sale in the U.S. early next year, will not be sold nationally. He says volumes will be accordingly low.

“If you look at the marketplace today, that looks like the way hybrids are going,” Bradshaw says of the small volumes.

Meanwhile, he says it has not yet been determined how many of Nissan’s mid- and lower-level staff will make the cross-country move to Nashville.

Bradshaw says there are a number of Los Angeles-based employees that have yet to take a familiarization tour of Nashville, and that Nissan will not have a headcount until the end of the month.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com