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By John McCormick / Autos Insider

San Francisco, CA - As if Detroit automakers don't have enough to worry about with the apparently unstoppable Toyota juggernaut, now Motown has Nissan banging on the door.
This month in San Francisco Nissan is setting out its plans for growth around the globe to waves of international media. For the US contingent the presentation was made just as Nissan North America reported that its sales last month, including the Infiniti luxury division, were up 28 percent compared to May 2003.
The sales boost underlined the fact that Nissan has transitioned from the recovery phase we have witnessed over the last few years, to a period of expansion based on a host of new products. The May sales figures included much better figures for the Titan full-size pick-up, whose initial slow market reception had been taken as an encouraging sign of weakness by some in Detroit.
If the Titan keeps up its May sales rate it will be on target for an annual total of around 100,000 units, which Nissan claims was the original target. That's hardly in the Ford F-series or Chevrolet Silverado class, but not to be written off either. Not every Nissan or Infiniti model has been a shining success - the quirky Quest minivan has met a lukewarm reception - but overall the picture is promising. Nissan also derides a recent newspaper report that company CEO Carlos Ghosn has had to step in to revitalize US operations. Ghosn's current oversight role in America was planned last year before the new models went on sale, say insiders.

NISSAN THINKS IT'S A WINNER
 

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I read an article recently (where?) indicating that with the strengthening position of the Big Three, the Japanese will have a more difficult time stealing share from existing niches of the market (i.e., the Camry and Accord have probably maxed out in terms of mid-size car sales). The article further elaborated another reasonable point: the Japanese share gains will more likely come from their entering new niches of the market rather than expanding in existing niches. For example, in looking at Nissan's sales performance this year, it seems that a majority of their share gains come from totally new models (Titan, Armada, new Quest (does the former Quest really count?) than from existing models. Admittedly, the Sentra(!) and Altima are up significantly, so the argument is weakened.

Thoughts?

NISSAN 2004 SALES
 

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Haven't Toyota and Honda's sales traditionally come from expanding niches they didn't adequately cover before? When the Camry replaced the Corona...they stole market share. When the 4Runner and Pathfinder were introduced...they stole market share. When the Tundra/Titan were introduced, they stole market share. Avalon, Lexus/Infiniti, 350Z, Xterra, Armada, Quest....

Market share is a variable thing. When someone can show that sales of one vehicle took from SALES (not market share) of another, let me know.
 

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Originally posted by Hudson@Jun 7 2004, 06:16 PM
Haven't Toyota and Honda's sales traditionally come from expanding niches they didn't adequately cover before? When the Camry replaced the Corona...they stole market share. When the 4Runner and Pathfinder were introduced...they stole market share. When the Tundra/Titan were introduced, they stole market share. Avalon, Lexus/Infiniti, 350Z, Xterra, Armada, Quest....

Market share is a variable thing. When someone can show that sales of one vehicle took from SALES (not market share) of another, let me know.
"Haven't Toyota and Honda's sales traditionally come from expanding niches they didn't adequately cover before?" No.

"When someone can show that sales of one vehicle took from SALES (not market share) of another, let me know." The Accord and Camry didn't start off as the best selling cars in the US. Their sales grew steadily with time over 15-20 years. Now, I believe, they have peaked. You will never see Accord and Camry sales increase appreciably.

Like you pointed out, increasing sales (which will lead to increasing share) will come from newer entries more so than it will come from existing, established nameplates, which is fairly obvious. This may be where opportunity lies with the Big Three, if they don't blow it like they did when the Japanese entered various car niches.
 
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