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Nissan is targeting the Russian market as it looks to soak up an expected shortfall in European registrations this year.

The automaker has estimated new vehicle sales will drop 5% to 10% in 2010 as government-sponsored scrappage schemes start to wind down.

“The only region where we see the potential uplift is Russia,” Nissan Europe sales chief Bernard Loire told just-auto at the Geneva show today (2 March).

“Russia was probably one of the most negatively-impacted countries. It is still decreasing month to month by 40%. By the end of the year, we think Russia will be higher than 2009, which is not the case for Italy, Germany and the UK. It is a very unusual situation.”

Loire believes Russia can give Nissan additional volume but it will still be “half of the volume we had.”

He added: “Maybe we could expect to be quickly back there. We should be ready.”

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By GlobalData