Profits of Nissan Motor Co. will only get a modest boost this year as it sees growth in emerging markets and as it prepares to launch new models, including its Micra subcompact. Other Japanese carmakers have also given cautious forecasts for this year. Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. (No. 1 and No. 2, respectively) have reaped benefits from their lead in fuel-efficient hybrid models in mature markets. Nissan, on the other hand, has expanded quicker in China where drivers still favor cheap, conventional cars.
In 2009, Nissan's sales rose by 45% in China, the world's largest auto market -- easily earning the distinction of being the best performer among Japanese automakers.
Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments, said that Nissan's lack of hybrid products and the rising competition are likely to dampen its success.
Ogawa, who said that Nissan has an unsatisfying outlook, thinks that Nissan did "pretty well" in comparison to the past.
This is primarily because of its presence in China and other emerging markets in the past year.
Nissan has been trailing behind Toyota and Honda with regards to environmentally friendly technology. But Nissan is now looking to rebrand itself as a "green" automaker by being the first to market electric cars in big volumes beginning in 2012.
Its five-seat Leaf debuts in Europe in late-2010. Nissan and French alliance partner Renault SA are heavily investing on electric cars. The Micra subcompact debuts in Europe before the year ends. [via autonews - sub. required]