Nissan Motor on Thursday said it wanted to expand Chinese vehicle sales this year by 4.6%.

Nissan wants to sell 570,000 cars and light commercial vehicles in 2009 in still growing but slowing China, which accounted for about 15% of its global sales last year.

Its sales last year grew 19% to 545,000 units in an overall passenger car market up 7%, Reuters reported.

Nissan Chinese JV Dongfeng Motor‘s president  Kimiyasu Nakamura said in Tokyo he expected the government’s economic stimulus package and lowered taxes on smaller cars to help bring some demand back, although he stopped short of forecasting the rate of growth – if any – for the overall Chinese market this year.

Chinese car sales in January fell 8% year on year but improved by month with help from government incentives. Sales were also dragged down by the Lunar New Year holidays, which happened in February last year, the report noted.

Dongfeng Motor sold 708,000 cars, light commercial vehicles and medium and heavy-duty trucks last year, up 16% from 2007.

The joint venture has a goal of selling 1m vehicles in 2012 and making annual sales of RMB100bn (US$14.6bn) by 2012, up from RMB59.32bn in 2007, as part of a five-year business plan that began last year, the report said.