REDMOND, Wash., and YOKOHAMA, Japan — Microsoft Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announced a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation dealer management system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The solution will utilize the Windows Azure platform, taking advantage of the economies of scale and flexibility offered by Microsoft's public cloud offerings, according to Nissan.

“Customer loyalty and retention are essential to the success of any business. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps businesses better understand and build deeper relationships with their customers and partners,” said Kirill Tatarinov, president, Microsoft Business Solutions.

The new DMS will initially be rolled out to Nissan's dealership networks in Japan and other strategic regions across the globe, according to the company. The system will have the flexibility to be customized for the needs of a specific country, region or automotive manufacturer, with broader availability to be explored in the future.

Nissan also intends to explore how Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Azure can work together as a platform to deploy applications across the company's global network and to standardize its information architecture on the cloud, according to Nissan.

“We are delighted to be working with Microsoft to deliver the next-generation dealer management system,”  said Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan. “Nissan is seeking a solution that will help meet our business needs, especially to better understand our customers and dealers.”