Tue, Jun 28, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Nissan aims for 8 percent global auto market share

SIX-YEAR PLAN:The automaker hopes to achieve this target by expanding production, focusing on growth markets like China and pushing sales of electric vehicles

AP, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN

Nissan Motor Corp CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks during a news conference held at Nissan headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Nissan Motor Corp chief executive Carlos Ghosn yesterday unveiled an ambitious six-year plan for growth, including a target of boosting the carmaker’s share of the global auto market to 8 percent.

Nissan hopes to reach the market share target by fiscal 2016 (ending in March 2017), in part by focusing on growth in countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and India.

Nissan had a record 5.8 percent market share in the last fiscal year that ended in March.

“We are definitely on the offensive,” Ghosn said at the -automaker’s Yokohama headquarters.

The plan underlines how Nissan is readying for expansion despite the production disruptions from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that are projected to drag profit down 15.4 percent to ¥270 billion (US$3.4 billion) for the current fiscal year ending in March next year.

The maker of the March subcompact, Leaf electric vehicle and Infiniti luxury models is not being deterred by the recall woes at Toyota Motor Corp, which were blamed on overly rapid expansion.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan’s alliance partner Renault SA of France, said Nissan was in good shape to go on the growth track because it now had no “handicap” in cash reserves, market presence or product lineup.

The business plan also includes a focus on Nissan’s trademark green technology, the electric vehicle. The automaker expects cumulative electric vehicle sales of 1.5 million vehicles for the Renault-Nissan alliance by the fiscal year ending March 2017.

Nissan will have a production capacity of 1.2 million vehicles in China by next year, becoming Nissan’s single-largest global market, it said. Nissan aims to boost its market share in China to 10 percent under the six-year plan from the current 6.2 percent.

Nissan also hopes to boost its operating profit margin to 8 -percent over six years from the current 6.1 percent.

“We will accelerate our growth, bringing more innovation and excitement to our products and services, as well as cleaner, more affordable cars for everyone around the world,” Ghosn said.

Japan’s No. 2 automaker said last week that it planned to sell more cars around the world at 4.6 million vehicles in the current fiscal year, up 9.9 percent. Sales revenue is expected to edge up 7.1 percent to ¥9.4 trillion.

Ghosn, who took over Nissan when it was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, said the first few years had been devoted to cost cuts and salvaging Nissan.

That was followed by a period of growth in the early part of last decade. Then the company had to invest in new headquarters and plants and is now ready to reap the benefits of that in the years ahead, he said last week.

Like other Japanese automakers, Nissan suffered production disruptions in Japan because of parts shortages after the March quake and tsunami destroyed key suppliers. The automaker says it has mostly recovered and will be back to normal by October.

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