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Nissan Establishes Its China HQ
2005-8-3 11:58:41      China Daily
Nissan Motor Co, Japan's second largest automaker, said Tuesday that its wholly-owned investment subsidiary in China had been approved by Chinese regulators to become its headquarters in the world's No 3 automobile market.

The subsidiary, Nissan (China) Investment Co Ltd (NCIC), will take over the Japanese automaker's 50 per cent stake in its joint venture with China's Dongfeng Motor Corp, said Tadashi Ishihara, NCIC's chief executive officer, in a group interview Tuesday in Beijing.

Nissan's Hong Kong-based branch responsible for vehicle imports in China will also been integrated into NCIC next year, Ishihara said.

China will be Nissan's No 3 market after Japan and the United States this year with robust sales growth, he said.

He said Nissan's own-brand sales in China will total 160,000 vehicles this year, up from some 90,000 units in 2004. In the first half of this year, sales of Nissan vehicles produced in China surged to 67,000 units from 44,000 units a year earlier, according to Ishihara.

Nissan also exported 1,300 vehicles to China in the period, he said.

Nissan's venture with Dongfeng, the largest Sino-foreign vehicle joint operation, with a registered capital of US$2 billion, is making Nissan-brand cars and Dongfeng-brand trucks and buses in Hubei Province and Guangdong Province.

The venture, set up in 2003, plans to sell 620,000 vehicles annually by 2007, including 320,000 trucks and buses and 300,000 cars. Last year, the venture's sales amounted to 330,000 units.

The venture, which currently produces the Teana, Tiida, Bluebird and Sunny cars, plans to introduce two all-new Nissan models within the next two years.

Ishihara said Nissan is considering introducing its luxury brand, Infiniti, into China as an import.

Nissan announced in April that it plans to introduce the Fuga sedan, Quest mini van and 350Z sport car as imports in China this year.

"Nissan will use its global sales networks to export Dongfeng's trucks in the future," Ishihara said.

Dongfeng currently exports trucks through its own networks.

Nissan's chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga said in April that the Japanese automaker has confidence that the operating profit margin of the Dongfeng joint operation will reach its target of 10 per cent by 2007 through cost-cutting.

The venture's operating profit margin stood at 5.6 per cent last year, down from 8 per cent in 2003.

Nissan's car and parts development centre in Guangdong will start operations next year, Ishihara said.

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