Nissan Unsure of Hybrid Car Demand in USA

Booming hybrid car sales pose dilemma for Nissan, which expected in 2002 to sell 100,000 gas-electric vehicles over five years, but now finds it could build as many as 50,000 a year using parts supplied by rival Toyota.

Published: 13-Jan-2005

an, the Japanese carmaker controlled by Renault, will be able to build up to 50,000 hybrid petrol-electric cars a year for sale in the US once production starts next year, the company said on Tuesday.

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive, said Nissan would build its fuel-efficient version of the hybrid Altima saloon at a factory in the US, using electric components bought from Japanese rival Toyota. But he said he had little idea how much demand there would be for the car, and it would be loss-making.

If Nissan uses its full production capacity it will be making far more hybrids than envisaged when it licensed the technology from Toyota. In 2002 the two companies said they expected sales of 100,000 over five years.

The production numbers came as Ford, Toyota and Honda all showed off new hybrid vehicles at the Detroit motor show. Manufacturers have been racing to speed development of new models powered by both batteries and petrol engines since the Toyota Prius raised the profile of the technology 18 months ago.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


blog comments powered by Disqus