Nissan said that, according to its forecast, it will grow in China faster than industrywide sales in the country for the first time in three years as consumers in the world’s largest auto market return to Japanese brands.
Nissan was among the hardest-hit companies last year when a territorial dispute between Asia’s two biggest powers spurred boycotts against Japanese products. While the diplomatic row that resurfaced last month hasn’t triggered the consumer backlash seen in 2012, the periodic bouts of tensions between the two Asian neighbors underscore the vulnerability of Japanese companies in the world’s second-largest economy.
“Next year, we should see our sales increasing, probably a little bit more than the industry,” Chief Financial Officer Joseph Peter said in an interview yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. “Fortunately to date, we haven’t seen the recurrence of the uproar in demonstrations and the violence targeting Japanese companies that happened in September of last year.”
Nissan, which is targeting to capture 10 percent of the Chinese market from 6.2 % in 2011, said in November it expects China deliveries to rise 7.5 % to 1.27 million units this year.
Nissan has stepped up spending on advertising, promotions and incentives to win back Chinese customers in the wake of the consumer backlash, said Peter, who was recruited by Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn in 2009 from GM, where he was CFO for international operations based in Shanghai.