Nissan, Mazda roll out new models for China as they aim for comeback

BEIJING: Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor unveiled new cars tailored for Chinese drivers today, signalling a fresh push by Japanese automakers to regain ground in the world's largest auto market.

The models, including some concept cars, were introduced at the Beijing auto show and mark an attempt to better respond to demand from Chinese consumers for software-loaded, electric-powered vehicles.

Foreign players like Nissan have lost market share in China as more nimble local manufacturers such as BYD have better targeted the tastes of younger drivers.

Nissan introduced two battery electric vehicle (EV) concept cars and two plug-in petrol-electric hybrids, all from a joint effort with local partner Dongfeng. Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said the cars underscored the automaker's commitment to China.

2024-04-25 14_11_50-Nissan_4_Auto China - Paint

Smaller rival Mazda introduced an EZ-6 sedan that will be offered as either an all-battery EV or plug-in hybrid.

It also plans to introduce an SUV, the Arata, in 2025 in China, also with two powertrain variants, CEO Masahiro Moro said.

The battery EV version of EZ-6 will have a driving range of about 600km, whereas the plug-in hybrid version will have a range of about 1,000km, Moro said, with the Arata likely to have similar ranges.

For years, Japanese automakers saw China as a market of almost limitless growth potential, but that view has changed.

Nissan's China sales slumped 16% to 794,000 vehicles last year. The automaker has also struggled to fully recover after years of internal strife triggered by the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn.


On Friday, it cut its annual operating profit estimate by 14.5%, seeing fallout from intensifying US competition and disruption to Red Sea shipping.

Nissan plans to export cars from China from 2025, initially targeting annual volume of 100,000 to 200,000 vehicles.

Nissan and Honda said last month they were considering a partnership to collaborate on key components for EVs and in other areas.

Mazda has lost even more market share. The automaker sold about 85,000 vehicles in China in 2023, down 72% from a peak of 309,000 cars in 2017.
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