Nissan Europe has reported sales of 54,831 units in September, down 8% year on year, though market share held steady at 3%. Although sales held up well in western Europe, volume continued to slide in Russia and eastern Europe.

In western Europe, where total industry volume was up 5%, Nissan saw a significant increase of 17% in September compared to last year, adding to good performances reported in July and August.

Much of this was attributed to models such as the Qashqai, Pixo, Micra and Note which were meeting higher customer demand for smaller cars in these markets, boosted by scrappage incentives. Nissan improved its market share in each of its major western European markets compared with September 2008.

These were offset, however, by the "challenging" market in Russia, where the overall market was down 54%, and unfavourable exchange rates have also affected Nissan's sales.

Nissan Europe sales chief Bernard Loire said: "We are seeing significant differences between our western Europe and eastern Europe markets. One year after the start of the global economic crisis, western Europe markets appear to be stabilising, in large part due to scrappage incentive schemes in those markets. We are showing very strong sales results and improving market share.

"However, we remain cautious as our eastern Europe markets - in particular Russia - do not yet show signs of recovery and the scrappage incentive schemes, when they are discontinued, could also impact sales in those markets."

Nissan's market share here in the UK rose from 3.6% to 4.3% year on year, Germany was up to 1.9% vs 1.7%, Italy 2.8% vs 2.6%, France 2.1% vs 1.6% and Spain 3.9% vs 3.2%.

In contrast market share in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan dropped to 3.9% from 5.6% in September last year with volume down 11,883 units.

The company said that the Qashqai/Qashqai+2, with 21,382 sales & Maruti Suzuki India-built Pixo (5,363) continued to exceed expectations with strong order banks. Micra sales (10,445) exceeded 2008 volume with demand up 3.93% mainly due to scrap incentive schemes even though this is its last year of production. Output for Europe moves to India from the UK in 2010.