Men walk past a Nissan Motor Co logo at the company's global headquarters. Picture: REUTERS
Men walk past a Nissan Motor Co logo at the company's global headquarters. Picture: REUTERS

Yokohama — Nissan Motor said on Wednesday it expected vehicle sales in some markets to beat industry growth, driven by countries including Saudi Arabia, crucial for the firm that is struggling with slowing sales in the US.

Nissan, Japan’s second-largest vehicle maker, focused on the US for the past few years and roughly doubled car sales there since 2010, as it aimed to corner a 10% share of the market. But that ambition came at a cost: hefty discounting led to the company’s North American operating profit falling by nearly a third in the year just ended.

Nissan is looking to China and regions such as Africa, the Middle East and India to boost growth while trying to improve profitability in North America.

Moreover, the company is entering new markets including Pakistan and Turkey and plans to expand its affordable Datsun brand, Peyman Kargar, chairman of Nissan’s operations in Africa, Middle East and India, said. "Today we have 3.7% market share [in the region]. The industry sees a 40% rise in total sales volumes and we are going to be above the market trend."

He expects overall industry sales to climb to 12.1-million units in 2022 from 8.8-million in 2017.

Kargar, who joined Nissan last year from vehicle making partner Renault SA where he led sales and marketing for the same region, added that he expected to double market share in Saudi Arabia to 14% in 2022, from 7% last year when roughly 800,000 vehicles were sold in the country.

Kargar said Nissan is also betting on more Nissan-branded sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and cheaper Datsun-branded cars to shore up sales in India, where it is struggling to expand and is far behind market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. It has focused on selling more SUVs in India, where SUV sales are fast climbing, fuelled by rising consumer spending power.

It also expects to raise its market share in South Africa to "more than 15%" by 2022, from 10% in 2017, Kargar said, by selling fewer trucks and more passenger cars.