YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan Motor Co., bracing for global market share loss after Japan's devastating earthquake, says it will put a priority on defending its business in the United States.
CEO Carlos Ghosn said his company will inevitably lose market share in the months following the March 11 quake because parts shortages are hammering vehicle production.
"We're going to have to accept the fact that in some markets we're going to have significant loss in market share," Ghosn said May 12 while announcing fourth-quarter financial results.
But Nissan wants to limit the damage in the United States and other top markets.
"What you're trying to do is protect some selected markets," Ghosn said. "You're going to see the availability of cars, for example, [being] much more important in the United States or China because we really consider them as critical markets we need to hold."
Ghosn said Nissan's global production should return to normal by October.
But in March alone, Nissan lost 55,000 units of production in Japan. In April, its Japan output was about 40 percent of last year's level while production this month is only around half. Nissan also has been forced to trim production in the United States and limit orders because of parts shortages.
In April, Nissan/Infiniti's U.S. market share slipped to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent last year.
China is Nissan's largest single market, but North America is its most profitable region.
Nissan's North America operating profit dipped 9.9 percent to ¥47.6 billion ($574.5 million) in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31. But on an annual basis, it rose 8 percent to $2.72 billion. In the quarter, regional sales climbed 22 percent to 354,000 units.