Pierre Boutin, Nissan Motor Co.'s Western Europe managing director, recently said in an interview that the company's European sales expansion may hit a snag in the first quarter of 2011, after the transfer of Micra small-car production to India led to supply shortages.
Boutin said he "ran out of Micra stock completely in November." In July 2010, Nissan stopped Micra production in Sunderland, England, after building inventory to cover the transition to a revamped model assembled in India.
Boutin said that those stocks were exhausted earlier than expected as European incentives fueled demand for small cars.
He added that supplies of the new model would not reach normal levels until March 2011. He estimates that the loss of market share will be worst in France. The Micra shortage caused Nissan to miss out on a December 2010 sales surge before the expiry of France's scrapping bonus, Boutin added.
The EUR500 ($650) subsidy still applies to 2010 orders delivered by March 31, 2011. Boutin said Nissan, which sold 555,000 vehicles in 2010 in Europe for a 3.1 percent market share, still aims to increase volume in the region for 2011.
He added other new models, including the Juke mini-crossover introduced in October 2010, will help Nissan stop a European market decline of as much as 2 percent predicted by Renault S.A., its French alliance partner and 43 percent shareholder. [via reuters]