YOKOHAMA — Nissan Motor Co. on Thursday unveiled six new models that will be released by mid-January to help achieve the automaker’s global sales target.
It is unusual for an automaker to announce so many models at one time.
The six are the Murano premium sport utility vehicle, the Fuga luxury sedan, the Tiida hatchback, the Tiida Latio compact sedan, the Note hatchback and the Lafesta minivan.
“Our ability to deliver sales commitment will be supported . . . by new products, which are at the core of our performance,” Nissan President Carlos Ghosn said, referring to the firm’s global sales target of 3.6 million vehicles between October 2004 and September 2005, up 1 million from sales logged between April 2001 and March 2002.
Yasuhiro Matsumoto, a credit analyst at BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Ltd., said, “By unveiling all the new models at once, Nissan must be trying to make an impact on the domestic market.”
Nissan’s domestic car sales, excluding those of minivehicles, have been falling for the last seven months.
Ghosn blamed the absence of new models since October for the sluggish results.
He said Nissan has changed its regional sales growth target in response to changes in the business environment, revising down its domestic and European targets.
Nissan initially divided the sales growth target of 1 million vehicles into 300,000 vehicles each in Japan and the United States, 100,000 vehicles in Europe and 300,000 units in the rest of the world.
But given a weaker-than-expected market situation in Japan and Europe, the automaker hopes to sell 220,000 units in Japan, 360,000 in the U.S., 70,000 in Europe and 350,000 elsewhere.
Asked if Nissan was being overly optimistic about the domestic market, Ghosn said, “Our commitment to deliver an additional 1 million sales will not change.”
The Murano, of which more than 80,000 models have been sold in North America since its introduction in December 2002, debuted in Japan on Thursday.
The other five models will go on sale separately between late September and mid-January.
The monthly sales target for the domestic market is 1,000 vehicles.
The Murano is named after an island off Venice, Italy, that is famous for its glassware.
Powered by either a 3.5-liter or 2.5-liter engine, the 4.77-meter long Murano is priced between 2.86 million yen and 3.76 million yen.
The Fuga, remodeled from the Cedric/Gloria series, is equipped with a round-the-clock, operator-assisted navigation system. The driver can have an operator remote-control the navigation system by asking for directions by phone. It will go on sale in mid-October.
Consumers like Toyota
Japanese see Toyota Motor Corp. as the most dependable domestic automaker, according to a study released Thursday by a U.S.-affiliated market research firm in Tokyo.
J.D. Power Asia Pacific Inc. said an index showing the number of complaints by new-car buyers in 2002 came to 89 per 100 cars for Toyota, compared with an average of 104 for the five Japanese carmakers the survey covered.
Honda Motor Co. came second with an index reading of 91.
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