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Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it might have to pass the added cost from soaring steel prices on to consumers if the current trend continues over a long period.

“For the moment, car manufacturers have absorbed most of the increase in (raw materials) prices. But I don’t think it will last long,” Nissan President Carlos Ghosn said.

Ghosn’s remarks came a day after steel industry leader Akio Mimura said steelmakers plan to pass the cost rise on to automakers through increases in steel prices in fiscal 2005.

Japanese automakers have been hesitant to raise vehicle prices, saying buyers will not accept the increase amid deflation. Ghosn said he needs to closely watch the situation to determine whether the steel price increase is a temporary phenomenon.

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