A top Nissan exec says the U.S. shift to small cars is the real deal, not a passing fad.
COO Toshiyuki Shiga says increasing demand for compact cars is a global trend and the United States is no exception, despite its long addiction to big trucks running on cheap gasoline.
"The shift from trucks to cars is actually happening," Shiga said at his company's first-quarter earnings announcement in Tokyo last week. And that's good news for Nissan.
Nissan's U.S. sales fell 33.4 percent in the first half. But a lineup tilted toward high-mileage small cars kept it ahead of the industry's 35.1 percent drop.
Government incentives such as the cash-for-guzzlers program and more stringent mileage guidelines are likely to buttress the shift away from bigger, thirstier vehicles, Shiga says: "When you talk about product mix, there is a shift in demand to compact cars in almost all countries."