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Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Nissan, Dongfeng aim to double vehicle sales in China by 2007

, BLOOMBERG

Nissan Motor Co, the last of Japan's three biggest automakers to form a venture in China, said it aims to double vehicle sales to 620,000 units by 2007 and get a 10th of the world's third-biggest car market.

Nissan and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Automotive Industry Investment Co will invest a combined 15 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) over the next four years to expand their 50-50 venture in southern China's Hunan Province, said Katsumi Nakamura, the venture's president.

"We aim to make our joint venture Dongfeng Motor into a globally competitive assembler," Nakamura said at a Beijing press conference to unveil the Tokyo-based Nissan's business plans for China.

Nissan, 44.4 percent owned by Renault SA, views China and the US as the key markets to help meet its goal of raising annual sales by 1 million units in the three years to 2005. China may contribute as much as 10 percent of this growth target, Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn has said.

By 2007, Dongfeng Motor aims to increase sales of its passenger cars fourfold to 320,000 units, from 74,000 units this year, according to the plan unveiled by Nakamura. The company will introduce six new models by 2006, including its Teana passenger car.

Dongfeng is one of China's biggest manufacturers of commercial vehicles and trucks. The company is aiming to increase sales of commercial vehicles by 40 percent to 320,000 units by 2007, from 226,000 units this year, Nakamura said.

The venture's revenue may increase fivefold to 80 billion yuan by 2007 and its operating profit could increase sixfold to 8 billion yuan from 1.36 billion yuan, Nakamura said. The venture's operating margin will rise to about 10 percent in 2007, from 8 percent this year, he said.

"Dongfeng needs the infusion of Nissan's technology and expertise to help us compete on a global scale, improve our management and develop new models to meet customer demand," said Miao Wei, the venture's chairman.

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