TOKYO -- Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Co., is boosting his sales estimates for the United States.
To achieve a sales increase of 1 million worldwide from fiscal 2001 to 2004, he is expecting 360,000 additional sales to come from the United States over the three years. That's up from the 300,000-unit increase Ghosn had projected.
Nissan and Infiniti sold 718,788 vehicles in the United States in fiscal 2001, which ended March 31, 2002. In calendar 2003, the two brands sold 794,417 units.
Although U.S. sales are surpassing Ghosn's expectations, sales in Japan and Europe are falling short. Sales in other markets, particularly China, are ahead of forecast.
Under the Nissan 180 turnaround plan, Ghosn aims to sell 1 million more vehicles in fiscal 2004 than the 2.6 million sold in 2001. Fiscal 2004 ends March 31, 2005.
Ghosn already has achieved the other two goals of Nissan 180: an 8 percent operating-profit margin and zero debt.
Adding the 1 million sales has been more problematic.
"We've said from the beginning this is a stretching objective. The markets are changing all the time," he says.
Nissan is topping its original sales goals in the United States because Nissan was unduly cautious when it set those targets, he says.
"We thought, after a very high level in 2002, the U.S. market would go down," Ghosn says.
Instead, the market remained relatively strong.
Ghosn took direct control of Nissan's North American business in April. Previously he directly oversaw Nissan's Japan and China operations.