TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co.'s purchases of hybrid technology from Toyota Motor Corp. is only a stopgap measure, says CEO Carlos Ghosn.
"I don't think this agreement will go for a very long time," he said Tuesday. "We have other projects and are developing our own technology."
Ghosn made the comments at a press conference to announce Nissan's earnings for the fiscal year that ended March 31.
The company plans to buy components from Toyota to use in a hybrid Altima. Nissan plans to build that car at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn., to go on sale in late 2006 or early 2007.
The hybrid Altima is expected to be sold in only eight states: California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. The states have adopted California's stringent emissions regulations.
Nissan will have capacity to build 50,000 hybrid Altimas a year but has indicated it does not expect to sell that many. Although the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid have sold well, Toyota and Honda Motor Co. have scaled back their hybrid production plans. Ford Motor Co. is offering 0 percent financing on its hybrid Ford Escape SUV.
"You have to be prudent when all competitors are cutting production or offering incentives" on their hybrid vehicles, Ghosn said.
"Developing a technology and mass-marketing a technology is something very different," said Ghosn, who has criticized hybrids because they are sold at a loss.
In September 2002, Nissan said it would use Toyota's hybrid components to build up to 100,000 vehicles over five years starting in 2006.
You may e-mail James B. Treece at [email protected]