Nissan Motor expects mini vehicles to help it increase its domestic market share to 15% from the current 13% by the end of March 2014, a senior executive at the company said.
“We think that half (of the increased market share) will come from sales of mini vehicles,” Senior Vice President Takao Katagiri told Dow Jones at the launch of the redesigned Moco minicar.
Nissan said last year that it wants to minimize the impact of the strong yen by selling more vehicles at home to lift its yen-based revenue.
Mini vehicles, which have engine capacities of 660 cubic centimetres or less, accounted for around 20% of Nissan’s annual domestic sales last year, the news agency noted. The cars are popular with consumers, making up about 30% of all cars sold in Japan due to their relatively low tax rates, but they also generate thin profits.
Nissan currently buys mini models from Suzuki and Mitsubishi Motorson an OEM basis. The new Moco is from Suzuki.
Nissan also plans to set up a 50-50 joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors to design and develop mini vehicles by the end of March 2013.
Even so, Katagiri said that his company will maintain its current tie-up with Suzuki.
Outside of the minicar segment, Nissan recently announced its own version of Mazda’s 5 minivan would be on sale from May.