February 3, 2011 / 4:38 PM / 8 years ago

Nissan chases market share in stagnant Europe

PARIS (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) wants to win a 5 percent share of Europe’s car market by 2014, helped by new models such as the Juke crossover and updated Micra, a senior executive said on Thursday.

As carmakers seek international growth to offset stagnating demand in the European market in the coming years, the battle for market share in the region is intensifying.

“This is why all the manufacturers are going to be fighting all the harder to get more market share,” Simon Thomas, senior vice president sales and marketing for Nissan in Europe, told Reuters.

“You can’t grow market share unless you take it off somebody,” he said.

The Renault (RENA.PA) partner achieved a 3.1 percent market share in Europe in 2010, selling 547,000 vehicles, 13 percent more than in 2009.

Sales of the company’s popular Qashqai crossover rose 18 percent to over 235,000 units last year, Nissan said.

Thomas said Qashqai’s smaller sister Juke would not achieve the same level of sales, as it targets a smaller market segment.

“The segment’s significantly smaller ... But I see no reason we can’t get to three figures on Juke,” he said.

Nissan is aiming for a market share of between 3.5 and 4.0 percent in 2011 in the region. Longer-term, it also wants to become the No. 1 Asian car brand in Europe. In 2011, it was beaten by Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), which grabbed 4.2 percent of the market, Thomas said.

“The market in Europe won’t really return to pre-crisis levels until 2014 or even 2015,” Thomas said. “We’re half way back from pre-crisis levels today.”

Thomas said Nissan’s margins in Europe were not suffering from the heavy discounting some carmakers were employing to shift cars from showrooms, because of its new product line-up.

“If you’ve got a young product, even if the market is down, it doesn’t impact your incentive levels. Our incentives haven’t escalated but if you look at the market place, the average incentives being paid by our competitors have gone up,” he said.

Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by James Regan

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