Nissan Motor has raised Micra capacity at its Sunderland, England, plant by 25% to 200,000, president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said, according to Automotive News Europe.

Nissan aims to sell 530,000 vehicles in Europe in 2003, up 11.8% from 474,000 a year earlier. It forecasts total industry European vehicle sales will slide 5.8% to 17.9 million unit this year.

Nissan expects its targeted gains will come mostly from the new Micra, although Nissan will also launch its Z coupe sports car and a car-derived van in Europe this year.

Launched in January, the new Micra's European sales in the first quarter were up 42% compared with a year earlier, Nissan said.

Nissan's European operations posted operating profits of 22 billion yen (166 million euros) in 2002, compared with 3.2 billion yen a year earlier.