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Green Light for Nissan’s Electric Car

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Nissan is looking to capitalize on global demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional vehicles. (Image: Felipe Wiecheteck)
Nissan is looking to capitalize on global demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional vehicles. (Image: Felipe Wiecheteck)

BUSINESS

  • Nissan sets its sights on top spot in green car market at 1.5 million units
  • Nissan’s plug-in hybrid to cut CO2 emissions 20% by 2016
  • Electric Leaf car sales exceed 16,500 since December 2010

Nissan Motor Co. intends on being the world’s leading green-car manufacturer, implementing a plan to deliver 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles in conjunction with French carmaker Renault SA, which has an almost 44% share in Nissan.

Nissan plans to bring out a plug-in hybrid in 2016 and cut carbon dioxide emissions 20% on 2005 emissions. The Japanese car manufacturer is planning on boosting fuel efficiency by 35% in the same period. The company is also seeking to meet demand from developing countries such as India, Russia and Brazil.

Nissan Bounces Back

The Japanese car manufacturing industry has been struggling to combat the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but supply and production is getting back on track. Nissan has sold more than 16,500 of its fully electric Leaf cars over the past 11 months. It bounced back faster than its competitors to show close to 19% growth on June sales compared with 2010, totaling sales of almost 420,000 units.

In comparison, Honda sales fall almost 45% and Toyota fell nearly 8%. In the first fiscal quarter of 2011, Nissan’s sales climbed nearly 11% compared with 2010, reaching more than 1 million units sold.

Outranked only by Toyota in terms of sales, Nissan is looking to capitalize on global demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional vehicles. The company is collaborating with General Electric in its efforts to encourage electric vehicle usage.

Nissan plans to plough 70% of its investment budget into environmental technology research and development, representing an expenditure of almost $3.95 billion. The company is cutting costs by collaborating with Renault and Daimler AG on its fuel-cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles.

Nissan Expands In Brazil With $1.5 Billion Plant

Nissan plans on investing around $1.5 billion in a new factory in Brazil, seeking to capitalize on the emerging market’s potential. The company aims to double its auto sales in the region by 2016. Renault-Nissan will build the plant in Resende, less than 60 miles outside of Rio, in the hopes of climbing from its spot at number five in auto sales in Brazil.

Nissan currently holds 1.5% of the Brazil market and aims to climb to 5% by 2016, while Renault aims to jump from 5% to 8% in the same period.

Green Car Focus May Shelter Automotive Market

As the global economy stalls and market outlook remains uncertain, a question mark hangs over 2012 for Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who said “for 2012, we are currently in a state of very great uncertainty for the time being,” during the International Energy Agency conference.

Ghosn noted that Renault’s order book is full for 2011, and the company is not changing its sales forecasts. The car maker totaled sales of close to $54 billion in 2010 and has forecast higher revenues for 2011. Renault is aiming for an automotive operating free cash flow of over $692 million in 2011.

A sales boost from the current focus on green cars may help fuel market expansion and lesson the effect turbulent financial markets.

Key Statistics – Global Automotive Market (source: KPMG, 2011 Global Auto Executive Survey)

  • Nearly 85% of global automotive industry executives believe that hybrid fuel vehicle sales will increase this year, which is a slight decrease from the 93% who responded that way to last year’s survey.
  • Some 77% executives responding to the survey think that electric vehicle sales will increase in 2011.
  • Survey responses show that 37% of automotive executives plan to invest in hybrid fuel system technologies in the next 5 years.
  • Another 31% intend to invest in battery electric power systems, with 21% leaning toward investment in fuel cell electric power (hydrogen) vehicle technologies.

By Ellsy O'Neill for
Ellsy O'Neill is a Paris-based writer, proofreader and translator. She covers industry, culture and current affairs.

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