Nissan Motor's chief in North America wants his nameplate to leapfrog Honda Motor to become the second largest Japanese brand there.

Colin Dodge said: "I can't see any excuse for not overtaking Honda in the US market."

Nissan outsells Honda everywhere the two brands compete worldwide except in the US and Thailand.

Dodge said: "I find it unthinkable that Nissan won't be at 10% of the market. It's just a matter of when."

So far in 2011, Honda's US market share has dropped to 9.1%, compared with 10.6% during the same period in 2010.

Nissan's US sales were up 18% to 908,570 vehicles in 2010 compared with a 7% US sales gain by Honda to 1.2m automobiles.

Nissan said its US November sales rose 19% to 85,182 autos amid strong demand for the Rogue compact SUV and Frontier pickup truck.

In US, Honda dominates in the compact segment, with its Civic model, where Nissan expects to grow.

But in recent times, there have been issues concerning Honda's latest generation automobiles which has raised questions whether the Civic will remain the top-selling compact in the US.

Honda President Takanobu Ito said: "There are mixed views about the Civic in the US market. I believe that ultimate responsibility rests with me."

Individuals aware of Honda's plans said the company might probably pull forward a mid-cycle refresh of the 2013 Civic, which will go on sale in autumn 2012. Normally, such facelifts do not occur until two to three years after a launch.