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While Detroit Gains Ground, Japanese Makers Stumble in China

Toyota, Honda, Nissan all hurt by island dispute with China.

by on Jan.07, 2013

A Toyota dealership in Qingdao was burned by protestors in a dispute over an island chain claimed by both China and Japan.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have ended 2012 with all-time sales records in China — but the news is nowhere near as good for Japanese makers.

Stung by a dispute between China and Japan over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Toyota, Nissan and Honda have all suffered a sharp decline in sales in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

While General Motors has yet to release its final figures for 2012, the maker already passed its previous peak by the end of November, the 2.59 million vehicles it sold for all of 2011. GM has set a goal of boosting sales in China to 5 million by mid-decade.

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Ford, meanwhile, has confirmed its sales in China rose 21% last year, to 626,616, also an all-time high. The maker was a relative latecomer to the Chinese market but has been aggressively expanding both its product portfolio and production capacity over the last several years.


Daimler Earnings Jump 30%, While Nissan Minimizes Impact of March Quake

German maker hits new quarterly record - but investors worried by results.

by on Jul.27, 2011

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche promises a great year - but investors worry about a Chinese market slowdown.

Credit China.  That’s the message from two major automakers as they report earnings from opposite ends of the globe.  For Daimler AG, a worldwide resurgence in luxury car demand – especially in the fast-growing Chinese market helped it come in with an all-time quarterly record that was up 30% year-over-year.

The numbers weren’t nearly as good for Nissan, but that was no surprise considering the devastating hit the Japanese industry, overall, has taken since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 on March 11 and left the industry in a shambles.  If anything, the 10% decline in net income was less than many had anticipated, while revenues – also driven by China – were up markedly.

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“Our rapid recovery from the natural disasters in March once again shows the power of Nissan in responding effectively and decisively to crisis,” said Nissan President and CEO, Carlos Ghosn. “Nissan’s performance in the first quarter, despite strong headwinds such as foreign exchange and rising raw material costs, demonstrates our potential to deliver the goals of our recently announced Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan.”


“Key” to the Future, Nissan Planning $8 Billion Push into China

Maker will launch 30 new models by 2015.

by on Jul.26, 2011

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn outlines big plans for the Chinese market.

Calling it the “key” to the company’s future, Nissan will invest $8 billion in an aggressive Chinese expansion plan that it hopes will help double annual sales in the booming Asian market.

Working with its local partner, the Dongfeng Group, Nissan says it will add another 30 new models to its Chinese line-up by 2015, including a new battery-electric vehicle that will be sold under the new low-priced Venucia brand.

In all, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Japanese maker hopes to nearly double sales in China over the next four years.  They hit 1.3 million last year but Nissan is targeting a figure closer to 2.3 million by 2015.

Inside News!

“China is key to our total growth,” the Brazilian-born executive declared during a Beijing news conference.  “We used to be extremely dependent on one market – it was the U.S. market,” he added, but the company’s strategy is now to put more emphasis on China.