Nissan will have a “decent year” in Europe if it can weather a slump in Russia market where the outlook remains uncertain, a senior executive has said.


“For Nissan Europe, clearly if we manage to land on our feet in Russia, we’ll do a decent year in Europe despite the crisis,” Pierre Loing, vice-president product planning for Nissan International, told Reuters, adding: “But we’re not sure about this yet.”


Russia car sales fell 54% in August but that was the smallest fall in four months.]


In western Europe, the company is “significantly ahead of plans at the end of August,” Loing said.


Stocks of unsold vehicles were at “ultra-low” levels by the end of August after a 50% cut since the end of 2008.


“We’re not burning cash – on the contrary,” said Loing.


He also said he could see demand for around 200,000 of Nissan’s popular Qashqai (Dualis) crossover models in 2009 in Europe but limitations on production capacity would probably mean that the company would not achieve that.


“We’re in a reverse situation, with delivery times growing again,” he said.


The model has been consistently popular and quickly attracted long waiting lists when first launched a couple of years ago. Nissan has since added a seven-seat version.