The performance represents a 17.5 per cent year-on-year increase (up 106,000 units) resulting in Nissan’s best ever annual market share in Europe of 3.9 per cent (0.6 per cent up on 2010).
The year also ended on a record as Nissan achieved its highest ever total for March with 87,457 unit sales and best ever monthly market share of 4.6 per cent, passing the four per cent mark for the fourth consecutive month.
The results cap a phenomenally successful year in Europe, during which 32 out of the 37 markets in which Nissan operates posted a year-on-year sales increase.
Top performing models included the Sunderland-produced Qashqai and Juke, underlining Nissan’s continued dominance of the Crossover sector.
Nissan sold more than a quarter of a million Qashqais in Europe last year, up by three per cent on 2010. And in its first full fiscal year of sales, Qashqai’s smaller brother – Juke, contributed more than 135,000 sales.
As well as making a significant contribution to Nissan’s continued product-led expansion, both Crossover models increased the proportion of sales that are produced within Europe to around 80 per cent, giving Nissan the largest regional production footprint of any Asian manufacturer.
‘We created the crossover segment, we are pioneering the EV segment and we are continuing to bring unique and daring models like Juke to the market.’
FY 2011 also marked the year that the 100 per cent electric LEAF was launched in an increasing number of European markets, and by the end of FY12 the LEAF will be on sale in more than 20 countries in Europe with annual sales expected to double as supply increases and EV infrastructure continues to develop.
Significant gains were also made in the Light Commercial Vehicle sector in FY11. Overall sales of LCVs increased to more than 62,000 units (up 16 per cent on 2010) led by strong sales of the NV200 van (up 39 per cent) and Navara Pickup (up 20 per cent).
The UK was Nissan’s second largest market in Europe with more than 112,000 sales and a 5.1 per cent of the market.
Paul Willcox, Nissan Senior Vice President for Sales & Marketing in Europe said: ‘Despite the significant challenges we faced in 2011, including the earthquake in Japan, Thailand floods and depressed demand in Western Europe, we have now achieved back-to-back record sales years, generating significant and sustained momentum within the region.
‘One of the main factors contributing to our success is the considerable local footprint we have within Europe today. As well as producing around 650,000 vehicles a year from our plants in the UK, Spain and Russia, we also design and engineer cars within the region – this is playing a major role in our sales performance.
‘So too is our willingness to challenge convention and to innovate. We created the crossover segment, we are pioneering the EV segment and we are continuing to bring unique and daring models like Juke to the market.
‘In the coming year and beyond we will continue developing and expanding our presence in Europe through the same customer-driven approach and intense focus on performance, combined with an ever-strengthening and broadening product range.’