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Nissan Surges Past Honda

New world order in the auto business.

by on Jan.28, 2011

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn with a prototype Nissan Leaf.

In a stunning upset, Nissan Motor Co. surged past rival Honda Motor Co. to become the second-largest Japanese automaker – and join the Top Five car manufacturers worldwide.

The switch in status was driven, to a significant degree, by Nissan’s success in tapping the emerging Chinese automotive market.  Nissan sales there surged by 36% in 2010, and at 1.02 million units, sales in China accounted for a full 25% of the Japanese maker’s global 4.08 million total.

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Worldwide, Nissan saw a 22% increase in volume, last year, compared to 5% for Honda, which reported global volume of 3.56 million.  However, the two makers combined still fell short of the 8.42 million cars, trucks and crossovers sold by the world’s automotive leader, Toyota, and its various subsidiaries.