Nissan Motor Co., Japan's second largest carmaker, is considering purchasing auto parts from South Korea as part of its supply diversification effort, a senior executive said Thursday.
Toshiyuki Shiga, the company's chief operating officer (COO), also said in a news conference in Seoul that one reason why Nissan was able to recover quickly from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March was because it already made many of its cars in China, India and Thailand.
He said that since Renault Samsung Motors Co., which is an affiliate of the Renault Nissan Alliance, already uses parts made in South Korea, the Japanese carmaker could move to buy parts for use on its own cars as well.
The alliance, set up in 1999, consists of five major automobile brands including Renault, Nissan, Renault Samsung, Dacia and Infiniti.
The executive, who is also the chairman of Japan Automobile Manufacturing Association Inc., said that talks on purchasing South Korean parts have moved forward. However, he gave no details.
Shiga, in addition, said that Nissan plans to use overseas production bases to expand its global market presence since the strong yen and high corporate tax rates are making it hard to make vehicles in Japan.
But he added that the company has not decided on whether to bring cars made from its overseas plants into South Korea.
Nissan recently announced a "Nissan Power 88" plan that aims to increase both the company's global market share and operating profits to 8 percent by 2016, from 6 percent each at present.
Kenji Naito, Nissan Korea Co. president, also said at the press conference that the carmaker plans to sell 5,000 vehicles in the country in fiscal year 2011, fueled by local demand for its Cube small-sized city car.
The target represents a 59 percent surge in sales from 3,151 cars sold in fiscal year 2010, which ran from April 2010 through March of 2011.
Nissan was the No. 1 selling Japanese car brand in South Korea last month, with the Cube being the fourth most popular foreign car in the cited month. As of this week, 2,000 people have bought or are waiting to buy the Japanese city car.
The president said that because South Korea is an important market with growth potential, Nissan plans to increase its official car dealerships from five at present to 13 nationwide by 2015.
He said that in 2012, the carmaker plans to launch the luxury crossover Infiniti JX in the South Korean market that can further fuel consumer demand.