Nissan sees double-digit sales growth in Europe

Bruehl, Germany. Nissan expects its sales in Europe to grow by 10 percent annually within three years.

The Japanese automaker's European sales will start to rise from next year, helped by the introduction of new models, says said Patrick Pelata, Nissan's executive vice president.

Nissan expects its 2004 sales in Europe to drop by 0.8 percent to 538,000 units.

"For 2005 I am expecting a rise of 4 percent and I can only envisage double-digit growth from 2006/7 onward," said Pelata.

New models such as the Murano SUV and Tone small minivan are expected to boost sales.

"We will manufacture about 60,000 units of the Murano in 2005, 10,000 of which will be sold in Europe," said Pelat

Nissan will bring the roadster version of the 350Z sports car to Europe in February, followed in March by the Pathfinder SUV in the summer and the Micra convertible in the fall of 2005.

Nissan, which is 44 percent owned by Renault, will launch the Tone in 2006. The Tone uses the Micra platform and is manufactured at the company's plant in Sunderland, England.

Nissan has still not decided whether the Qashqai SUV prototype shown at the Geneva auto show last March will go into production.

"If the model appears in two or three years," said Paleta, "it must not cost more than 20,000 euros."

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