Nissan has said that it will enter the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market in Russia as it seeks to expand this business to help maintain high profitability.

The company said that it will launch the NP300 pickup and the Cabstar light duty truck in September in Russia.

It will then follow that by expanding its range of vehicles offered to six products by the end of 2011.

Nissan will set up nine local automobile dealers for sales of the trucks, aiming to sell a total 35,000 units annually of the two initial models.

The number of dealers will be expanded to 30 in the future, it also said.

"The start of Nissan LCV sales in Russia is a significant event for our company," said Andy Palmer, Corporate Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, LCV Business Unit. "Entering new markets is a fundamental part of our global LCV growth plan and Russia represents significant volume potential. With an extended LCV range planned in the mid term and a network of dedicated professionals in our dealerships, we are confident that we will meet the needs of the Russian customer," added Palmer.

As part of its plan to further expand its operations globally, the Nissan LCV Business Unit announced on 7 April that it will sell light commercial vehicles in North America, starting in the first half of 2010.  Last October, the LCV Business Unit announced a joint venture with Ashok Leyland of India and plans to start sales of Nissan LCVs in that market during 2010.

Nissan sold about 122,000 passenger cars in Russia last year, up 59.6% from the previous year.

The company is currently constructing a passenger car assembly plant in a suburb of St. Petersburg. It plans to begin operations at the plant next year and produce up to 50,000 cars annually.