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Nissan May Sell Small in US, Based on Buyer Patterns

Bloomberg reports that Nissan may offer the fuel-efficient March and Cube small cars, the automaker’s top-sellers in Japan, in the U.S. if higher gasoline prices change consumer behavior.

“We’re going to measure feedback coming from the media and from the analysts, and as a function of this we’re going to make our decision,” [Nissan CEO Carlos] Ghosn said in an interview from Sausalito, California. “There is no doubt about it, if the American consumers want more fuel-efficient cars we’re ready for it.”

Nissan, Japan’s second-biggest automaker, gained U.S. market share for the past two years with new models whose engines are among the most powerful in their vehicle category, such as the 265-horsepower Maxima sedan and 305-horsepower Titan pickup truck. The March and Cube have 1.4-liter engines and travel about 40 miles per gallon of gasoline.

The box-shaped Cube wagon and March hatchback, which is sold in Europe as the Micra, led Nissan sales in Japan in the year that ended March 31. Sales reached 151,797 for the Cube and 119,628 for the March.

Nissan’s U.S. sales grew 7.4 percent in 2003 and have risen 28 percent this year through May, the most of any major automaker.


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