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6 things Nissan’s CEO thinks about his firm, and the car industry right now


The worldwide car industry has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with manufacturing crops closed round the world and car gross sales halted throughout lockdowns.

Now carmakers wish to enhance competitiveness and profitability in a fast-changing world, with the shift to greener know-how one other large hurdle the sector is dealing with. 

Last week, Japanese carmaker Nissan revealed a web loss of 671.2 billion yen ($6.17 billion) in the fiscal 12 months 2019, its first annual loss in additional than a decade. On the identical day, it unveiled a four-year plan involving manufacturing cuts and lowering the variety of fashions it produces from 69 to fewer than 55 fashions.

“The company will … reduce fixed costs by rationalizing its production capacity, global product range and expenses,” it mentioned in an announcement, with plans to “right-size” Nissan’s manufacturing capability by 20% to five.four million models a 12 months.

The plan, it mentioned, was to attain “sustainable growth, financial stability and profitability by the end of fiscal-year 2023” and would “shift the company’s strategy from its past focus on inflated expansion.”

Makoto Uchida, chief government officer of Nissan, on March 3, 2020.

Bloomberg

As a part of manufacturing cuts, Nissan mentioned it could shut its plant in Barcelona from December, with the lack of 2,800 jobs, with the intention to “restructure, reduce costs and improve efficiency.” It warned this week that its plant in Sunderland, the largest car manufacturing plant in the U.Okay. would change into “unsustainable” if the U.Okay. left the EU with no commerce deal.

Also final week, Nissan, together with its companions Renault and Mitsubishi, introduced a brand new enterprise mannequin “to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of the three partner companies” with every producer specializing in particular person markets.

Against this backdrop of transformation in unsure occasions, Nissan’s CEO Makoto Uchida spoke to CNBC on Wednesday on a variety of matters, from Brexit to the alliance, and the rebuilding of investor belief after the high-profile, controversial departure of former CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn

Here are 5 highlights from CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum’s dialog with Uchida:

On the ‘Alliance’: 

“We really need to transform ourselves … I want to emphasize the point that the alliance should be a competitiveness asset for each company, and how we can use those assets to make each company grow is a key point,” Uchida mentioned.

Former CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn

On rebuilding belief:

“When I became CEO, I said that I intend to build the corporate culture where we listen to the customers, dealers and suppliers and the whole wide range of stakeholders in and outside of the organization, this is a culture where different opinions are welcome.”

On the coronavirus:

“Covid-19 has clearly disrupted our industry and (the) automotive group has very much been influenced by this crisis.”

“But first, our priorities are definitely the human and health care (factors). So how we can make sure our employees and our wider global networks, suppliers partners … safe. This is my first priority and is where the company is focusing on.”

On plant closures:

“When we talk about transformation, we need to look back at what went wrong in the past strategy and how we can restore ourselves on a steady growth path.”

“So this is the most important (thing) … one of the areas that we help pursue is that how we can have the right size (for) our production capacity with the efficiency of the operation.”

Nissan workers protest in opposition to the closure of the Japanese automobiles producer’s plant in Barcelona on June 04, 2020.

LLUIS GENE

On under-performance:

“We want to have sustainable profit and that we must honestly address on the area of under-performance and pullback from the area that the previous over-expansion that has been done in Nissan.”

“So this means we need to optimize our production at an appropriate level and also the operation while enhancing operational efficiency.”

On Brexit:

“We need to cautiously monitor how the (U.K.) government (is) going to make a deal in terms of Brexit, when it comes to the tariff agreement, because this would have a lot of influence in our operation.”

“But again, I would like you to focus and emphasize that we would like to keep up our brand in Europe … So this is what I can say today.”



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