Nissan Unsure of Hybrid Car Demand in USA
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.
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