Nissan Motor Co. expects its European sales in 2005 to be 20 percent higher than last year with help from its new Micra supermini and the introduction of two diesel engines.
"In the past few years, we've accepted losing market share in order to be profitable again," says Mario Canavesi, Nissan Europe's head of sales and marketing.
"Now that Europe is again making money, we can think about expanding sales volumes and market share."
For the second consecutive year, Europe is expected to contribute positively to Nissan's profit. An early estimate of the company's results in the year ending March 31, will be available in April, and the full results will be published in May.
The Renault unit, once the fastest growing Japanese carmaker in Europe, has seen sales fall to 475,000 units in 2002, compared with 530,000 units in 2000. The company expects about 580,000 sales in 2005.
Canavesi said the Micra should sell 160,000 units a year, up from 140,000 a year for its predecessor. The Micra will be helped by the introduction of a 1.5-liter diesel engine in April.
Canavesi rules out introducing Nissan's Infiniti brand in Europe.
"It's not even being considered," he says. "We can't afford to invest in two brands."
Since the start of the decade, Nissan has been restructuring its European dealer network in conjunction with Renault.