Nissan Motor Co. introduced the fully revamped Otti minivehicle Tuesday, hoping to cash in on the lucrative minivehicle market and counter its falling domestic sales.

“Since our entrance into the minicar market in 2002, we have been continuously expanding our share,” Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters at its head office in Tokyo. “We are eyeing the expansion of our minivehicle lineup.”

In contrast to falling domestic sales of larger cars, the popularity of minivehicles — cars with engine displacements of up to 660cc — is growing. In 2005, domestic minivehicle sales hit a record 1.924 million and industry officials say the market is still growing.

The Otti is supplied by Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on an original equipment manufacturing basis. Nissan has also been buying the Moco from Suzuki Motor Corp. Nissan does not manufacture minivehicles on its own.

The Otti, based on MMC’s new eK Wagon, has a particularly large cab. An upper-grade model with an electric sliding door will be put on the market in late December.

The Otti retails for between 976,500 yen and 1.34 million yen and the monthly sales target is 2,600 units.

At a regular shareholders’ meeting in June, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said it might be difficult to reach its domestic sales target of 846,000 units and revised the figure to about 800,000.

Between April and August, Nissan sold 274,116 vehicles, down 17.5 percent from the same period a year before.

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