Nissan to drive out of debt by year end: CEO

Nissan unveiled its 2010 model Patrol in the first world premiere to be held in the region by a Japanese carmaker. (SUPPLIED)

Japanese carmaker Nissan will be free of debt by the end of the year and has a number of innovative products in the pipeline, its Chief Executive and President Carlos Ghosn said.

"We are recovering from one of the world's worst recessions and 2010 will be a year of growth," he said. "We expect our company to be debt-free by 2010, with the company focusing on new, innovative models."

Nissan recently announced it had returned to profitability in the third quarter of 2009, achieving a net profit of $503.9 million (Dh1.85 billion).

Ghosn was speaking in Abu Dhabi as Nissan unveiled its 2010 model Patrol in the first world premiere to be held in the Middle East by a Japanese car manufacturer.

The premiere at Emirates Palace was attended by more than 200 guests, including Abdullah Al Masaood, Chairman of Al Masaood Group, Nissan's sole dealer in Abu Dhabi, and car collector Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, widely known as the Rainbow Sheikh.

All Patrol models from the 1950s to 2005 were displayed at the event, with the cars coming from Sheikh Hamad's private collection, the largest in the world.

The model was unveiled as performers portrayed scenes from desert life, starting with camel commuting. "The Patrol returns as a seventh generation model, building on its impressive history, but at the same time incorporating a new platform, a radical new design direction, significantly enhanced interior comfort and luxury, powerful new V8 engines, a seven-speed automatic transmission and a new 4WD system," said Ghosn.

"The new Patrol is built with high level of safety, performance and quality that characterises the Nissan brand, and we paid special attention to the needs of GCC motorists and passengers.

"We are confident that our flagship SUV for the Middle East will exceed expectations. It is the hero of all the terrains, especially the regional mountain and desert terrains."

The new model has gone through 13,000 hours of testing in the Arabian deserts and has also been tested in snow and rocky conditions. The car will be on sale from April across the GCC, followed by other markets in the Middle East and the world.

The price will range from Dh170,000 to Dh300,000.

 

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