Nissan Motor expects to be profitable in 2021 if its current sales momentum continues, chief executive officer Makoto Uchida told reporters at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition at the weekend.

Uchida noted Nissan was beginning to recover thanks in large part to a strong sales rebound in China. After declining by 42% in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall Chinese vehicle market has grown strongly in the last five month and Nissan expects this recovery to continue.

In May Nissan reported its biggest financial loss in 20 years for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2020, of JPY671.2bn (US6.2bn), due in large part to plunging global sales in the first quarter of 2020.

The company now expects the strong recovery in the Chinese market to continue and plans to invest in strengthening its presence in the country. China has become a crucial market for Nissan, particularly after it announced a far reaching restructuring plan earlier this year involving the closure of several plants around the world in response to weak sales.

Nissan sales in China declined by just under 12% to 843,879 units in the first eight months of 2020 after falling almost 40% in the first quarter of the year. In partnership with state owned Dongfeng Motor, the Japanese automaker said it planned to launch a total of nine new and redesigned electric and hybrid models in China by 2025.