Nissan Motor Co. (7201), Japan’s second- biggest carmaker, will start selling a revamped Note compact in a bid to catch up with Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. (7267)’s top-selling models.
Nissan will introduce the car in the domestic market early September and in Europe next year, the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker said in a statement yesterday. The company targets to sell 350,000 vehicles a year globally, with 120,000 of those units in Japan, Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said.
Nissan sold 940,000 units of the current Note, its second- best selling car model in Japan this year, since the vehicle’s introduction in 2005. The automaker sold 34,130 units of the Note in the first half of this year, compared with 133,345 for the Honda Fit and 128,243 for the Toyota Aqua, according to data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.
“They have a chance to narrow the gap with Aqua and Fit if the old Note and Tiida users replace their old models for the new compact,” Yoshiaki Kawano, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said by phone before Nissan introduced the new car. “The combined replacement may lead to a volume rise.”
The stock fell 0.7 percent to 706 yen at 10:41 a.m. in Tokyo trading, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 0.4 percent.
The new Note will be powered by a 1.2-liter engine, said Toshitake Inoshita, a Nissan spokesman. The earlier version had a 1.5-liter engine. The revamped car, which has a lightweight platform and a fuel economy of 25.2 kilometers (15.7 miles) a liter, will be an integration of the old Note and Tiida hatchback in Japan, Shiga said.
The revamped car “will play a big role in helping Nissan achieve the Power 88 mid-term plan,” said Shiga.
The automaker, in June 2011, unveiled a six-year business plan to boost global market share to 8 percent and achieve an operating profit margin of 8 percent. The company calls this program Nissan Power 88.
Nissan this month shut one of two lines at its Oppama plant in Kanagawa prefecture, as part of measures to cut domestic production and lessen the impact of a strong yen on profits.
Nissan’s new Note will be built at the Kyushu plant in southern Japan and its Sunderland plant in the U.K., it said in the statement.
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