Despite launching six new vehicles, Nissan Europe does not expect increased sales this year.
“Our sales will be stable,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president of Nissan Europe’s sales and marketing.
Nissan sold 544,000 vehicles in 2004 in Europe, which it defines as western and eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus and France’s overseas territories.
Carolin said sales will remain at that level in 2005 because of Europe’s stagnant market and because most of the new vehicles that Nissan will launch are low volume or replacements for stronger sellers.
This year Nissan will launch the Murano and Pathfinder SUVs, two versions of the Navara pickup, the 350Z Roadster and the Micra C+C, the coupe-convertible version of the Micra small-segment car.
Carolin said sales will pick up after next year as models with bigger volumes come on stream.
These include a minivan/hatchback crossover code-named P32L, based on the Qashqai concept car unveiled at the 2004 Geneva auto show. The crossover is due in late 2006. Initial production volume will be about 130,000 units a year.
In early 2006, Nissan will launch the Tone, a small minivan similar to the Renault Modus that is based on a stretched version of the Nissan Micra architecture. Renault owns 44.4 percent of Nissan.
The Tone and the crossover will be built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, northern England.
Without being specific, Carolin said Nissan Europe’s profits are increasing, which is in contrast to the 1990s when the division lost money. Nissan does not provide a regional breakdown of its financial figures.
Nissan is still working to dispel what Carolin called the “worthy-but-dull” image it picked up in the 1990s. Nissan is repositioning its brand to highlight its key values, which Carolin says are excellent design, user-friendly innovation and the thrill of driving.