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Nissan focuses on fuel-gulp know-how and electrification in China

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The Nissan Motor Corp. brand logo. can be seen on a tire wheel on the company's car in its Tokyo showroom

By Norihiko Shirouzu and Eimi Yamamitsu

SHANGHAI / TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan's financially challenged Nissan (OTC 🙂 Motor Co is expected to unveil a new "must-success" car and explain its green car strategy for China at the Shanghai Auto Show, which begins Monday Company officials told Reuters.

The car that Nissan wants to present at the auto show is the significantly redesigned X-Trail Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV). A similar SUV called the Rogue hit the US market last year. The new X-Trail will be available in China later this year.

The new car will be powered by a fuel-efficient three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine which, according to one of the sources, could face an uphill battle for adoption in China, where similar technologies have proven unpopular.

The car is a "must succeed, a must win for us," said one of the two sources. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

In addition to the X-Trail's China debut, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta will be telling reporters in Shanghai on Monday practically from Japan that Nissan's green car strategy is two-pronged: the company will focus on improving Fuel efficiency of gasoline and electricity are concentrating hybrid technology and battery electric cars to make the range of vehicles in China greener.

In January, Nissan announced that all new vehicles in key markets, including China, would be electrified in the early 2030s to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The strategy comes from the growing regulatory pressure in China on automakers to reduce emissions.

China is a key pillar of Nissan's turnaround strategy, which is about producing profitable cars for China, Japan and the US rather than following the global growth of ousted boss Carlos Ghosn.

The company is working to reduce its manufacturing capacity and model range by one-fifth and cut fixed costs by 300 billion yen ($ 2.8 billion). Nissan is targeting an operating profit margin of 5% and a sustainable global market share of 6% by the end of fiscal 2023

It was not immediately clear how detailed Nissan wants to communicate its China strategy on Monday.

The two sources said Nissan still plans to take "pre-orders" for its upcoming Ariya electric SUV in China before the end of this year.

Nissan also plans to launch a hybrid version of the Sylphy compact car "e-Power" this year and an e-Power X-Trail as early as next year.

A company spokeswoman said Nissan plans to unveil the redesign of the X-Trail crossover in Shanghai, as well as the introduction of Nissan's e-power gasoline-electric hybrid technology in China. She declined to comment on anything else.

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