Nissan has targeted a 30-per cent sales growth for the 2023-2024 fiscal year due to the improving parts shortage situation.
Isao Sekigushi, president of Nissan Motor Thailand and Nissan ASEAN, told reporters during the launch of the facelift Almera sedan in Bangkok on May 11 that the company aims to sell 35,000 vehicles in Thailand this year.
He said the parts shortage situation has improved significantly, allowing Nissan to produce more vehicles at its Thai assembly plants.
“The situation is much better than during the same period last year, although it’s still challenging,” he said, noting that Nissan Thailand is still unable to source as many semiconductors and batteries as it wants.
“Currently we are producing 20 per cent less vehicles than we want to, compared to 40 per cent less during the same period last year,” Sekiguchi said. “This year is better.”
Sekiguchi said according to his “gut feeling”, total auto sales in Thailand could reach 850,000 to 900,000 units this year, and Nissan aims to achieve from 3.5-3.7 per cent market share.
He said the market for passenger car remains strong, although the pickup truck market could see its share drop to 45 per cent due to tighter financing measures for entry-level trucks.
“We will see what happens in the coming months how the pickup market fares, which will also depend on whether the interest rate is stable or goes up,” he added.
“The overall economy is stable and the tourism industry is coming back after Covid,” he said. “Many customers are considering car replacements and this is where we can recover lost sales suffered during the Covid period.”
While many automakers have announced plans to produce only electric vehicles in the coming years, Nissan is not going all out but maintaining options.
“According to Nissan Ambition 2030 which is our long-term vision (introduced in 2021), our products will consist of both BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) as well as HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) such as the Kicks e-Power,” he said.
According to Sekiguchi, the Kicks represents a transition technology that helps prepare users for fully-electric vehicles while not having to charge their cars.
“Customers can experience the quick and instant acceleration of electric cars by driving the Kicks e-Power, which is a hybrid that uses an electric motor to power the wheels directly,” he said, adding that in the future, more e-Power models will be introduced in Thailand.
While Chinese automakers are flooding the market with electric cars, Nissan still gives priority to its core models like the Almera, which is sold in Thailand as well as exported to ASEAN markets. The company also produces and exports the Navara pickup truck.
“A lot of Japanese companies have been making continuous improvements to internal combustion engines (ICE) which are more affordable, fuel-efficient and much cleaner than before,” he said. “I personally believe that ICE will remain and will not disappear even in 2030.”
Speaking on Nissan’s weakness, Sekiguchi said the company needs to speed up development of new models to catch up with the market pace.
“Nissan has a five-year development time from start to finish but others are using less time (for example three years). We need to be more competitive and revisit how we are making cars,” he said.
Nissan Ambition 2030
- To accelerate electrification plans with an investment of 2 trillion yen over the next five years
- To launch 23 exciting new electrified models, including 15 new EVs, aiming for 50% electrification mix by fiscal year 2030
- To introduce all solid-state-batteries (ASSB) in fiscal year 2028