TOKYO (AP)- Nissan Motor Co. said Monday it may have to push back a key sales target it aimed to hit next fiscal year, a blow to Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive who has led Nissan's turnaround.
Nissan, Japan's third-largest automaker, is aiming to sell 4.2 million vehicles globally in the fiscal year ending March 2009 as part of a three-year revival plan.
But weak performance last year, blamed on a dearth of new models in North America and sluggish sales in Japan, may mean it might take longer to meet the target, said a Nissan spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity.
''There's a growing possibility that meeting the target could be delayed by a year,'' she said, citing company policy.
The spokeswomwn declined to offer a new timeframe, saying Ghosn would likely provide additional details when he briefs on Nissan's results later this month.
The company's setback would underscore the difficulties Nissan faces in recovering from a slump last fiscal year. Tokyo-based Nissan slashed its annual profit forecast in February after seeing a 22 percent slump in earnings in the October-December quarter.
The company now projects annual earnings through March to fall to about $3.8 billion.
The automaker is likely to report its first annual drop in net profit in seven years for the year ended in March on account of sluggish sales in Japan and the U.S - a stark contrast to rival Toyota Motor Corp., which is expected to report record earnings.
The dire outlook prompted Ghosn, once credited for saving Nissan from bankruptcy, to declare a ''performance crisis'' at the automaker in February.
Nissan shares, which saw moderate ups and downs in recent months, closed down 0.08 percent at $10.31 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Monday.