Nissan Motor Co. (7201), the third-biggest global carmaker in China, expects sales in the country to rise about 6 percent this year as anti-Japan sentiment subsides in the world’s biggest auto market.
Deliveries in China will probably increase to 1.25 million units in 2013 after falling to 1.18 million last year, Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said in an e-mail interview yesterday. Nissan would be projecting higher growth had it not stopped counting some cars that used to recognized in past tallies, he said, without elaborating.
Nissan, like Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co., is still recuperating from last year, when protests flared across China because of a diplomatic dispute over a group of uninhabited islands claimed by both countries, leading consumers to shun Japanese-branded cars. While the demonstrations have subsided, Japan’s three-largest carmakers all saw sales fall in the country last quarter.
More representative of underlying growth are sales of passenger vehicles by Nissan’s venture with Dongfeng Motor, which will probably increase 16 percent to 900,000 units this year, Palmer said.
Nissan expects deliveries in China to begin rising in May thanks to the introductions of the Teana sedan and Lavina multi- purpose vehicle, according to Palmer.
The company, which trails only General Motors Co. (GM:US) and Volkswagen AG (VOW) in sales among global automakers in China, is counting on the Teana sedan -- introduced late February -- to revive sales in the country. It’s the most profitable of the dozen-plus models the automaker sells in the country, according to Sanford C. Bernstein estimates.
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