(TheJapanNews)– Nissan Motor Co. President Hiroto Saikawa said more than half of the vehicles it sells in Japan and Europe will be electrically powered by fiscal 2025.
Speaking in a Tuesday phone interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun during a trip to the United States, Saikawa said by fiscal 2022, about 40 percent of its sales in these important markets would be electrically powered vehicles. Nissan, whose Leaf electric vehicle has sold well, is seeking to expand its share of the electrically powered vehicle market by accelerating the introduction of the cars.
Electrically powered vehicles would make up “30 percent of sales in China in fiscal 2022 and about 20 percent in the United States,” Saikawa said.
Nissan is planning for one-third of these sales to be electric vehicles, with the remaining two-thirds to be models with motors that run on electricity generated by the engine.
The transition to electrically powered vehicles “will not happen because of environmental regulations; it will be because customers will find value in these vehicles,” he said, citing convenience and other favorable factors.
Saikawa also revealed that almost all new vehicles for Nissan’s luxury Infiniti brand would be electrically powered starting in fiscal 2021.
Markets heating up
With competition to develop electric vehicles heating up among domestic and foreign carmakers, Nissan is hoping it can strengthen its presence as a leader in the field by accelerating the introduction of the vehicles.
By introducing cutting-edge technology such as self-driving features, the company is also looking to win back consumer trust after it was revealed last year that unqualified workers had been performing inspections at its factories.
How fast electric vehicles spread “will vary greatly depending on the market,” Saikawa said. “Things in Japan and Europe will move fast, while in the United States, it will be more difficult.”
He said Japan and Europe had the most potential for electric vehicles, and that the company intends to market its models aggressively there.
Nissan began selling the Leaf in 2010, and is proud of its position as a leader in the transition to electric.
Ford Motor Co. of the United States announced Sunday it would invest about $11 billion (about ¥1.2 trillion) toward the development of electric vehicles and other products by 2022. This and other moves have signaled an investment battle.
Nissan’s luxury brand is not as strong as Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus or the major German brands. Saikawa said he wants to turn Nissan’s Infiniti into a “premium brand that is characterized by being all-electric.”
In 2016, Nissan brought Mitsubishi Motors Corp. under its umbrella. Along with Renault of France, with which it has a capital tie-up, the three companies plan to have 12 electric vehicle models on the market by 2022.
Yet Saikawa insisted he wanted Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi to “maintain their own originality.”
He said he sees little merit in integrating the management of the three companies. “We want each one to grow on its own,” he said, adding that Carlos Ghosn, who is the Renault chief executive officer and Nissan chairman, thinks the same way.
Regarding the scandal involving inspections by unqualified workers, Saikawa said the company would “prevent it from happening again, get production back on track and restore sales. It’s our responsibility to regain the trust of our customers.”
The negative impact of the scandal is ongoing. After the issue came to light in September, Nissan sold significantly fewer units in October through December compared to the previous year.
Saikawa said he wants domestic factories to be back to their regular production pace by the end of the fiscal 2017 to minimize effects on the company’s performance. Speech