Nissan Motor expects China’s car market to recover in the second half, as the Japanese carmaker moves on from the scandal surrounding former chairman Carlos Ghosn. Makoto Uchida, senior vice-president of Nissan, said Beijing’s efforts to support the industry, such as subsidies and tax incentives, would effectively result in a turnaround. Uchida said Nissan will not change its China strategy despite the Ghosn distraction and plans to leverage its research and development capability in the country. “We think we will see a recovery in the second half of this year [in China],” he told reporters on Tuesday at the Auto Shanghai 2019 exhibition. “But the most important thing for us is to make sure that we see month on month growth.” He added that the company is banking on new model launches, including 20 electric vehicles by 2022, to drive growth in the world’s largest car market. A pall of gloom has descended over China’s car industry. Last year, sales fell 2.8 per cent – the first such contraction since 1992 – as consumers tightened their purse strings amid fears of a slowing economy and the US-China trade war. In March, 2.02 million cars were sold, down 6.9 per cent on year, extending the losing streak to nine straight months. Nissan’s mainland joint venture with Chinese partner Dongfeng Group reported sales of 1.17 million units last year, up 3.9 per cent from a year earlier. The venture posted a 3.4 per cent year on year sales rise for the first quarter of 2019. The Ghosn saga has gripped Japan and the business world since November. Authorities arrested the 65-year-old executive less than a month after he was freed on bail following more than 100 days in detention. Japanese prosecutors said Ghosn had been detained over transfers of Nissan funds totalling US$15 million between late 2015 and the middle of 2018. They suspect US$5 million of that amount was used by Ghosn for personal expenses. Nissan and its alliance partner Renault established an R&D centre in Shanghai this month to focus on technologies used in autonomous driving, connected vehicles and electric vehicles. “We want to make ourselves more localised,” Uchida said. Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice-president for global design, said the R&D facilities were of “vital importance” to the company’s long-term growth in China as the carmaker adapts to the fast-changing consumer demands and the industry shift to electric models and automation.