Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nissan locked in ‘survival game’ in China, warns chief executive -Dlight News

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Nissan is locked in a “survival game” in China, its chief executive has said, as the Japanese carmaker tries to overhaul its strategy in the face of collapsing sales in the world’s largest car market.

Makoto Uchida told the Financial Times’s Future of the Car Summit that Nissan would launch five new electric or hybrid vehicles in China within the next two years, adding that it would deepen partnerships with local players to help speed up its vehicle development in the country.

“We are committed to staying in China, but how to stay in China has drastically changed,” Uchida said on Tuesday. “It is more of a survival game.”

International carmakers that were once dominant in China’s market have seen sales eroded by new local competitors that produce cheaper electric models that are often more technologically advanced.

At last month’s Beijing Auto Show, Nissan announced a new partnership with China’s search and mapping group Baidu in artificial intelligence technology and promised to produce more cars in the country.

Through new partners and manufacturing technology, Nissan has said it wants to bring down the cost of electric vehicles by 30 per cent by 2030.

Separately, the European boss of Hyundai, Michael Cole, told the FT conference that the South Korean carmaker had to “sharpen our act” to compete with a wave of low-cost Chinese electric cars that were coming to Europe. “The reality is the Chinese are able to bring in vehicles at very, very competitive prices,” he said.

China’s BYD has already confirmed it plans to bring a version of the Seagull — which it sells for less than $10,000 in China — to Europe.

Uchida on Tuesday warned that Chinese carmakers were “getting strong”, adding: “Their speed is massive — the challenge is how we can keep our speed to compete with them.”

He said Nissan was planning to export more cars from China, potentially to Europe through its partnership with local group Dongfeng, as the Japanese carmaker rushes to address the “excess capacity” building up in China.

Japanese carmakers’ share of the Chinese auto market declined by 2.2 percentage points year on year to 13.8 per cent in March, data from the China Passenger Car Association showed. That compares with a peak of 24.1 per cent market share in 2020.

Volkswagen, which previously accounted for almost one in five cars sold in China, has seen its market share in electric vehicles fall to under 5 per cent.

Additional reporting by Gloria Li in Hong Kong

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