Nissan Motor expects sales in China to rise 11% this year to 500,000 vehicles as it launches three new passenger car models, including a locally-built version of the Qashqai/Dualis crossover which has been a hit in Europe and Japan.

Among the new product launches will be the Qashqai crossover SUV, developed for Europe and built in the UK, and also a hit in Japan where production starts soon. The model is called Dualis in Japan but will be sold as the Xiaoke in China from next month, Reuters reported.

A Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK spokeswoman said the Xiaoke would be built at Nissan's Huadu plant in Guangzhou.

Nissan expects passenger car sales to rise 20% year on year year to about 360,000, while sales of light commercial vehicles, mostly through its local partner Dongfeng, are seen totaling 140,000, the news agency said.

The Dongfeng cars and commercial vehicle 50-50 JV sold about 450,000 cars and light commercial vehicles last year, according to the report.

"We expect our passenger car sales to grow faster than the industry's, so we're looking to boost our market share," Takashi Nishibayashi, general manager of Nissan's China operation support office, told Reuters. He estimated Nissan's share of China's passenger car market at slightly more than 5% last year.

Nissan expects China's overall vehicle market, including trucks and buses, to approach 10m units this year, up from roughly 8.8m in 2007, the report added.

Nissan also told Reuters it would open a new training centre at its Huadu factory at a cost of $US 3m. The training ground, geared toward sales staff and mechanics, is Nissan's second-biggest after a facility in Japan, Nishibayashi said.

The company hopes to lift the number of Chinese sales outlets by 100 to about 470 this year and the number of Infiniti dealerships from six to 15.

Nissan launched Infiniti in China last July with the G35 sedan and FX35/45 SUV and added the M35 sedan last month, Reuters noted.

Nissan to build crossover in Japan