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Nissan: Sales, Marketing, and Financial News

 
Old 03-23-2005, 09:43 AM
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Infiniti sues Audi over the "Q"

Nissan sues Audi over trademark

Japanese automaker claims competitor's use of Q5 and Q7 designations is illegal.

By Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

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Nissan Motor Co. filed a trademark infringement suit against Audi Tuesday, claiming the German carmaker poached the letter Q for its new Q7 and Q5 sport utility vehicles.

Nissan has used Q as the first letter identifying some of its premium Infiniti vehicles -- such as the Q45 and QX4 -- since 1989. It has registered the names and a slogan "the new Q" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Audi's immediate and threatened use of the Q5 and Q7 trademarks is likely to cause confusion, deception ... among consumers, thereby infringing Nissan's Q Marks," Nissan said in the suit filed with a U.S. District Court in Michigan.

Nissan asked the court to bar Audi from using Q7, Q5 or any other names that infringe on its 'Q Marks'. It is seeking damages from Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, and reimbursement for legal costs. Nissan officials would not specify the damages sought.

Audi has not seen the lawsuit, spokesman Doug Clark said. "It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation," he said.

Audi plans to build a Q7 SUV and sell it in the United States next year. It may offer a smaller Q5 SUV later. Audi, based in Ingolstadt, Germany, has also begun a "Q7 Globe" advertising campaign on its website.

"We've used Q since 1989," said Bill Garlin, spokesman for Nissan's Infiniti division. "No other company to date has used Q to identify a vehicle."

In its suit, Nissan said its Q45 sedan was widely known as "the Q", and it adopted the slogan "the new Q" in 1993 to describe redesigned versions of the Q45. It also uses G, I, M and F as the first letters in its vehicle names.

Most Audi vehicle names begin with the letter A, such as the A6 and A8 sedans, although Audi identifies performance versions with an R and has a TT coupe in its lineup.

Audi is an older brand renowned for its technology, but Infiniti outsells Audi in the competitive U.S. car market.

Last year, Infiniti sold 130,987 vehicles in the United States, compared with 77,917 for Audi. But the German carmaker has ambitious plans to increase U.S. sales.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosins...B02-125849.htm


I sympathize with Nissan/Infiniti since they have been using the Q designation for the longest time, but trademarking one letter seems a bit extreme.
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:17 AM
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Eventually, they're gonna run out of letters..
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:18 AM
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Hypocrites. Let's not even talk about the M sedans, I'm sure BMW can sue them for that as well.
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by phile
Hypocrites. Let's not even talk about the M sedans, I'm sure BMW can sue them for that as well.
Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:27 AM
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they are freakin IDIOTS
hello BMW should sue them over the M
TARDS
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:28 AM
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Didnt even think about that. So true.
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:30 AM
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BTW, I don't think it's going to be successful. I think Lexus tried to sue Lincoln over the use of the LS model name, as Lincoln has the LS, and Lexus has the LS 430.
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:33 AM
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OHHH YEAH good point LS... hmm

that new M by infiniti is boootiiful i love it BUT totally different vs. m3 and m5
ill take an m5 over the infiniti M any day
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Old 03-23-2005, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by phile
Hypocrites. Let's not even talk about the M sedans, I'm sure BMW can sue them for that as well.

The M30 from Infiniti was sold in the early 90's, so it's not a new thing.

But fighting over the alphabet seems silly.
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:04 PM
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They might just win this lawsuit... There has been legal precedents established...

Back in the '60's Porsche was working on a car called the 901... They were forced to rename it the 911...

From: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Peugeot

Peugeot names the models of their cars in the x0y format; x describes the size of the car (and hence its class), whereas y describes the model number (the higher the number, the newer the model). Therefore, a Peugeot 406 is bigger and newer than a Peugeot 305. This general rule has its exceptions, for instance the Peugeot 309 was produced before the Peugeot 306. Another exception is certain variants, such as the 206 SW, which is around the size of a 40y car.

This tradition began in 1929 with the launch of the 201. All numbers from 101 to 909 have been deposited as trademarks. Although in 1963 Porsche was forced to change the name of its new 901 coupe 911, certain Ferraris and Bristols have been allowed to keep their Peugeot-style model numbers. An unsubstantiated explanation for the central '0' is that on early models the number appeared on a plate on the front of the car, with the hole for the starting handle coinciding with the zero.
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by stphy32
OHHH YEAH good point LS... hmm

that new M by infiniti is boootiiful i love it BUT totally different vs. m3 and m5
ill take an m5 over the infiniti M any day
Infinity M is one specific car.

BMW M is a line of specially made cars. One trim line in each specific car.

Apples and oranges, one might argue.

Nobody's sued anyone over the S-Type or Type-S designation, its the same issue with the M.
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:45 PM
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i dont see why Audi wants to use Q for their SUVs in the first place
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Old 03-23-2005, 02:36 PM
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There is a difference between a series of numbers and a single number or letter. Take, for example, the case of "409" which is a trademark registered to the Clorox company for its famous glass/surface cleaner:
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield...te=ce0gu7.2.21
The Peugeot case deals with a specific 3 numeral series of letters, whereas the Infiniti case deals with a single number that supposedly signifies its "brand name."

I noticed that Nissan filed an application for a "The Q Series" at the beginning of December of last year. But an application doesn't necessarily bear any weight...
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Old 03-23-2005, 10:42 PM
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fvck infinity and nissan corporate... buncha hippocrites is right. As if sharing the letter Q in their model nomenclature with Audi will devalue their POS cars. Confusion? If anything it would help Nissan sell more Infinity's. Well ok, so they're not POS cars... but next to Audi, they sure are. I think Infinity should focus their manpower and resources less into quarreling over letters used, and more into making interiors that actually suit a luxury mark.
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by masmole
fvck infinity and nissan corporate... buncha hippocrites is right. As if sharing the letter Q in their model nomenclature with Audi will devalue their POS cars. Confusion? If anything it would help Nissan sell more Infinity's. Well ok, so they're not POS cars... but next to Audi, they sure are. I think Infinity should focus their manpower and resources less into quarreling over letters used, and more into making interiors that actually suit a luxury mark.
who can't spell 'Infiniti' or 'marque'

The real point is that there are only so many alphanumeric designations (LS, M, Q, Z, RSR, RSX, SRX, etc) to use. And if you noticed when it comes to multiletter arrangements, they all start to sound the same.

Real cars should have names, and this should be MORE true for luxury vehicles, not less. Acura Legend, Cadillac Eldorado, Lincoln Continental ... those are real names.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:41 AM
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What ever happened to naming cars with actual names instead of letters?
Ferrari still name their cars.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:57 AM
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Nissan Sues Audi Over "Q"

Nissan Sues Audi Over "Q" - - Source: The Car Connection

Audi's decision to name its new sport-utility vehicle Q7 has no fans at Nissan's headquarters-the Japanese automaker has filed suit in court against Audi, saying the German company's use of the letter infringes on the trademarks it has established for its Q45 sedan and QX56 SUV. The Detroit News reports that Nissan has used the letter to designate some Infiniti vehicles since 1989, and that the company has filed trademarks for phrases such as "the new Q." Nissan, the paper adds, wants courts to stop Audi from using the letter in its advertising or marketing.
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Old 03-24-2005, 11:57 AM
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I think Nissan has a case here.
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Old 03-24-2005, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by masmole
I think Infinity should focus their manpower and resources less into quarreling over letters used, and more into making interiors that actually suit a luxury mark.
They're are making it better haven't you seen the new M45? It blows away that new POS A6 4.2 in just about every category.
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sipark
Eventually, they're gonna run out of letters..

I agree, these luxury marks are getting pretty retarded. Would much rather say I own a "Legend" vs I own an "RL". Bleh.
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Old 03-24-2005, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by PistonFan
I agree, these luxury marks are getting pretty retarded. Would much rather say I own a "Legend" vs I own an "RL". Bleh.

I really liked "Vigor" too.
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Old 03-24-2005, 09:24 PM
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I think this kind of branding makes sense. The idea is you'll say "I own an Acura". You put your advertising money into one single brand as opposed to dilluting it with various sub-brands. BMW and Mercedes had it right and now others are following suit.
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by masmole
fvck infinity and nissan corporate... buncha hippocrites is right. As if sharing the letter Q in their model nomenclature with Audi will devalue their POS cars. Confusion? If anything it would help Nissan sell more Infinity's. Well ok, so they're not POS cars... but next to Audi, they sure are. I think Infinity should focus their manpower and resources less into quarreling over letters used, and more into making interiors that actually suit a luxury mark.
Infiniti is larger than Audi in the US and their millions of dollars put towards marketing their Q cars would positively effect Audis Q7. Plenty of reason to sue.

I'm sure theres a bigger reason to all this, most likely because the pathfinder will also become a Q car under Infiniti, plus there was the Triant 2door suv concept which would be a Q car.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:01 PM
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They have a case, but I think it could go either way. Someone posted the best example, Bmw M5 vs Infiniti M45. Both are different and everyone is fine because they are marketed unmistakably. If Audi choses to try and cross the line in marketing they will most likely lose.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:03 PM
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nissan lawyers are assholes

just check out www.nissan.com
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dabuda
nissan lawyers are assholes

just check out www.nissan.com
Relying on info from a biased site is exactly that.

Actually if you search the true legal case on google and read the law journal of what has happened, nissan lawyers aren't assholes. It just show how restrained a large company can be.

Uzi nissan originally sold computers on his website. But then all of a sudden, he developed a logo that was 95% the same as nissan motors logo for his website and then he also started to promote auto links on his website so visitors expecting to find nissan motors would be fooled into thinking Uzi Nissans page was a real automotive page.

Nissan motors has won recent cases against Uzi preventing him from posting the logo or automotive links on his website because of this, now all he can do is sell computers even though he was offered a ton of cash for the domain name from nissan motors from the getgo.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:44 PM
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Agreed with domn and PistonFan. Alphanumeric designations for models are okay if they are tacked onto a model NAME, but without a name like Legend or Vigor, it's just a mess.
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Old 03-26-2005, 03:37 PM
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I think this sounds justifiable to me.

However, maybe this will spell the beginning of the end for alphanumeric nomenclatures on cars.

As for the Nissan Motors vs Uzi Nissan, heyitsme hit the nail on the head. Dont buy into Uzi's hype.
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Old 03-26-2005, 03:54 PM
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Nissan is just wasting it's time and opening up a can of worms. The Q45 has never sold well; spend your time and money improving the car, instead of worrying about the name.
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Old 03-26-2005, 04:16 PM
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http://saintpetersburgtimes.com/2002...the_name.shtml

Life was good for Uzi Nissan. In July 1999, his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Ariel. And he was negotiating a $1.2-million deal with a European investor to help expand the business. But three months later, all that changed. A Nissan Motors executive called from Los Angeles. "He said he would like to talk to me about the possibility of purchasing my name," says Uzi Nissan.

Nissan said his name wasn't for sale, but he would discuss other options, such as including links and banners for Nissan Motors on his site. Two days later, the executive flew to North Carolina to talk about it over dinner. "We discussed many things, such as maybe doing a split page, if they wanted to pay a monthly fee," he says. The executive said he would relay the ideas to his bosses, says Nissan, and then jetted home.

Two months passed without a word. But in early December, the executive called back. He needed to meet with Nissan right away and was flying back to North Carolina.

"I remember, he flew on the 10th, which was a Friday, and when he came in, his face was completely changed," Nissan says. "He said, 'My superiors don't want any partnership, they want nissan.com AND nissan.net. And they want a price.' "

Nissan says he again insisted his name was not for sale, but the executive badgered him: "Give me a price, I need a price."

"So finally, I say, 'You know what? $15-million! Now do you understand that I don't want to sell?' " recalls Nissan.

The man excused himself to make a phone call. While he was out, Nissan says, he received a call -- from attorneys representing Nissan Motors, informing him that he was being sued for $10-million over trademark infringement.

When the executive returned to the room, Nissan was stunned. "He said, 'Uzi, I apologize, I did not know anything about that, it was not supposed to end up that way,' " Nissan says.

Two weeks later, however, the executive gave his deposition in the case. "We realized that he had already signed his declaration for the complaint two days before he came to see me," Nissan says. "He just came to entrap me so I would give him a price."

Nissan Motors had the weight of the new anti-cybersquatting law, which had gone into effect 11 days earlier. By eliciting a price from him, Uzi Nissan says, the carmaker could bolster its cybersquatting case.

Pathetic Nissan lawyers...
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Old 03-27-2005, 07:17 PM
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For those who like to say that Infiniti recently "stole" M, keep in mind that the M is a top trim level of the 3. Infiniti has been using the M for whole models for some time... remember the M30 coupe? It just took a hiatus and came back as a sedan. BMW knows it doesn't have a case.
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:48 PM
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Are there not rumours that the next gen. Q45 will NOT be branded under the letter Q?
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by titan
For those who like to say that Infiniti recently "stole" M, keep in mind that the M is a top trim level of the 3. Infiniti has been using the M for whole models for some time... remember the M30 coupe? It just took a hiatus and came back as a sedan. BMW knows it doesn't have a case.
But that's the exact same argument that Infiniti is using against Audi. When you say M, which comes to mind first? A BMW M or an Infiniti M? I bet for most people the answer will be BMW. So while it's not exactly a model vs model debate, the argument of brand identity is thrown in. It doesn't matter if it's just one trim level of the 3-Series.

Likewise, Infiniti is basically arguing that when someone says Q, they think Infiniti, not Audi. So for Audi to use Q, Infiniti feels that it's breaching not only on Infiniti's trademark brand identity, but also its recognition among consumers.

And BMW had been using the M designation since the 70s, Infiniti came out in 1989.

And I don't know why you guys think Infiniti would have a case. Lexus already went through this with Lincoln re: the LS designation, and both cars are on the road. Not to mention the case where Chrysler, try as they might, did not succeed in forcing Hummer to remove the 7-slot grille from its H2 models because they said it was a Jeep design cue. So even when things look alike the case is thrown out.
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by heyitsme
Relying on info from a biased site is exactly that.

Actually if you search the true legal case on google and read the law journal of what has happened, nissan lawyers aren't assholes. It just show how restrained a large company can be.

Uzi nissan originally sold computers on his website. But then all of a sudden, he developed a logo that was 95% the same as nissan motors logo for his website and then he also started to promote auto links on his website so visitors expecting to find nissan motors would be fooled into thinking Uzi Nissans page was a real automotive page.

Nissan motors has won recent cases against Uzi preventing him from posting the logo or automotive links on his website because of this, now all he can do is sell computers even though he was offered a ton of cash for the domain name from nissan motors from the getgo.
After reading more about the legal case, I'm not so sure if I'm on Uzi Nissan's side.. He clearly took profits from people clicking on the advertisements on his website, which wouldn't have happened without the Nissan Motors brand recognition. I'm not saying Nissan Motors deserves the rights to the domain, but I'm starting to think Nissan Motors has a valid arguments.


EDIT: I saw the logo, they're not 95% same.. But, that's besides the point.....
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Old 03-28-2005, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by titan
For those who like to say that Infiniti recently "stole" M, keep in mind that the M is a top trim level of the 3. Infiniti has been using the M for whole models for some time... remember the M30 coupe? It just took a hiatus and came back as a sedan. BMW knows it doesn't have a case.

M models were around way before the M30 coupe came out. Ever heard of the M1?
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:42 AM
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Any truth to the rumor that Uzi Nissan has a business partner whose name is Haim Infiniti??
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Old 09-23-2005, 02:49 PM
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Nissan CEO Ghosn warns of slowdown in U.S. auto market

Nissan CEO Ghosn warns of slowdown in U.S. auto market - - Reuters / September 22, 2005 - - Source: Automotive News

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co. said the key U.S. market may stagnate later this business year and even next, though it kept its own target for small growth in U.S. sales this year.

The cautious prediction on Thursday by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn comes amid growing concerns that U.S. car sales may slow in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katarina and Rita and sky-high oil prices.

North America is the biggest market for Japanese carmakers, which also include Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., with Nissan relying on the region for about 40 percent of its profit.

"We are starting to see some shifting in consumer demand, some postponing of car buys (since September) ... we didn't see too much of it at the beginning," Ghosn told a news conference. "I'm not particularly optimistic for the U.S. environment for the next six months or even for the next year ... I'm afraid that the second half of the fiscal year is probably going to see a more mediocre scenario in terms of (the) total market."

But Ghosn told Reuters in an interview after the news conference it was too early to assess the impact on the earnings of Nissan, which sees a 3.3 percent sales gain in the United States to 1.05 million vehicles for the year to March 2006.

After years of industry-beating growth since Ghosn took charge of a near-bankrupt Nissan in 1999, the Japanese carmaker, owned 44 percent by France's Renault SA, is forecasting an abrupt slowdown in profit growth for the current business year.

It cites risks from an intense U.S. price war, record or near-record gasoline and raw-materials prices, rising interest rates and uncertain growth in Japan and the United States.

As U.S. consumers demand better fuel economy, Nissan has already shifted more emphasis to higher-margin sedans and away from full-sized pickup trucks and SUVs such as Titan and Armada models. The company has flourished in the U.S. market so far, posting record sales for a sixth straight month in August despite a dearth of new models this year.

FUTURE RISK?

Nissan said it expected sales for the year ending Sept. 30 to exceed 3.65 million vehicles worldwide, compared with its target of 3.6 million and a record 3.4 million in the business year ended March 31, thanks to the introduction of numerous new models in late 2004 under a revival plan.

Nissan plans to raise sales further to 4.2 million vehicles by the year ending March 2008, offering 28 models, under a new three-year "Nissan Value-Up" business plan that began in April.

Further strong growth, however, could hang on whether Nissan can catch up with its rivals in development of next-generation cars such as hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles at a time when demand for fuel-efficient cars is rising, analysts say.

"Nissan had to curtail research and development investment in the late 1990s. It will be a problem if Nissan can't narrow the gap with Toyota and Honda when the market starts expanding sharply," said Tatsuya Mizuno, analyst at Fitch Ratings.

Nissan will deliver its first hybrid car next year to the U.S. market, but using technology licensed from Toyota.

The market is also focusing on how Ghosn, who became chief executive of Renault as well as Nissan in May, will streamline operations of the Japanese and French car giants to introduce new models faster and at lower cost.

Ghosn said, "Having one CEO on two companies is going to make synergies much more intense." He said large synergies that exist between the two firms will help raise their bottom-line profits in the future, but declined to comment on details.

Nissan has ruled out any merger at group level, but its chief operating officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, was quoted by German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung as saying that finance and logistics are possible areas where a combination makes sense and that a cross-border team was working on such issues.

Nissan's 10.8 percent sales jump in 2004/05 was driven by new models such as the Fuga luxury sedan and Tiida compact car, helping it to post a fourth straight year of record operating profits at 861 billion yen ($7.73 billion).
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Old 09-23-2005, 03:54 PM
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I find it really admirable that Nissan is using hybrid technology from Toyota. A wise, well-thought-out move. While Ford is sitting on their ass complaining about not having the resources to produce hybrid cars, Nissan looks to a competitor for help.

I wonder how the profits work out from those cars... percentages, I would think..
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Old 09-23-2005, 04:49 PM
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Isn't Ford licensing Toyota hybrid technology too?


Honda should make out better than most since they have the least exposure to light duty trucks of all the majors other than VW.
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Old 09-23-2005, 05:15 PM
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Yes, Ford buys from Toyota and is complaining that they are hogging hybrid parts.
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