YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Meager U.S. growth was Carlos Ghosn's biggest disappointment last year, and Nissan's CEO has responded by giving his team a big order: Double the brand's sales by 2017.
Ghosn has directed his U.S. executives to iron out the production kinks that snarled launches and to strengthen the dealer network. The plan calls for increasing the number of dealerships, doubling per-store sales and stepping up marketing to fast-growing demographic groups.
Speaking last week after Nissan Motor Co. announced results for the year that ended March 31, Ghosn said: "China was not our biggest, I would say, disappointment. It was mainly the United States. We were expecting a strong year in the United States. It didn't happen."
North American sales rose 4 percent to 1.47 million in the fiscal year that ended March 31. That was a record, but below expectations; a year ago Nissan had predicted sales would rise 8 percent to 1.5 million.
U.S. sales rose 5 percent to 1.1 million units, also a record. But market share fell to 7.7 percent, from 8.2 percent, putting Nissan further behind in its quest for 10 percent.