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Nissan Forecasts US$2.9B Loss for Fiscal Year; Cuts Planned Production by 20%

With the release of its third-quarter fiscal year results, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., forecast an operating loss of ¥180 billion (US $1.9 billion and a net loss of ¥265 billion (US $2.58 billion) for the full fiscal year ending 31 March 2009.

“In every planning scenario we built, our worst assumptions on the state of the global economy have been met or exceeded, with the continuing grip on credit and declining consumer confidence being the most damaging factors. ”
—Carlos Ghosn, Nissan President and CEO

In the third quarter, the consolidated net loss after tax came to ¥83.2 billion yen (US $0.9 billion), compared to net income of ¥132.2 billion (US $1.4 billion) from the same period a year ago. The loss is driven by the severe downturn in the global economy in the second half of calendar year 2008 and, in particular, the negative impact of the strong yen, the sharp decline in consumer confidence in all major markets and product mix deterioration, the company said.

Nissan sold a total of 731,000 vehicles worldwide in the October-to-December 2008 period, down 18.6%. Globally, Nissan sold a total of 2,633,000 vehicles in the first nine months, down 3.0% compared with last year.

Recovery actions. Along with the results and the forecast, Nissan announced a set of recovery actions and a new organizational structure. Countermeasures to the global crisis include the following:

  • Nissan will suspend its 2008-2012 midterm business plan, Nissan GT 2012, to focus on recovery actions. Commitments on quality and zero-emission vehicles will be retained.

  • The product portfolio will be revised, including the cancellation of selected future programs. Nissan will launch an average of 10 all-new vehicles per year in the 2009-2012 period, including the company’s all-new, A-Platform entry-car lineup and a dedicated all-electric vehicle.

  • FY2009 labor costs in high-cost countries will be reduced by 20% from ¥875 billion to ¥700 billion.

  • Global headcount will be reduced by 20,000 through FY2009, reducing Nissan’s headcount from 235,000 to 215,000.

  • Inventory will be tightly controlled. In March 2008, company and dealer inventory was 630,000 units; that level will be reduced by 20%, to 480,000, by March 2009.

  • Production will be right-sized through changes such as shift elimination, non-production days and shorter working hours. These actions will reduce global production by 787,000 units—a 20% decrease compared to planned volume—by the end of this fiscal year.

  • Capital expenditure reductions will result in a 21% contribution to saving cash by the end of FY2008 compared to FY2007. An additional reduction of 14% will be made in FY2009, taking overall capital expenditures from 384 billion yen in FY2008 to less than 330 billion yen in FY2009.

  • Joint manufacturing projects with Alliance partner Renault in Morocco and India will be revised. In Chennai, India, the joint plant will proceed with a reduced ramp-up speed. In Morocco, Nissan will suspend its participation in the industrial project near Tangiers.

  • A detailed review is ongoing to identify deeper synergy opportunities within the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The focus is on future investments in products, technology, support functions and purchasing cost reductions. Each company will contribute to free cash flow with a minimum of ¥90 billion (US$982 million) in synergy benefits during FY2009.

  • By improving working capital, mainly accounts payable and receivable, Nissan will generate ¥b;130 billion of cash in FY2009.

  • Bonus payments to the board of directors will be eliminated for FY2008. Starting in March and until the situation clearly improves, salaries paid to board members and corporate officers will be reduced by 10% and those paid to managers in NML and affiliate companies in Japan by 5%.

  • Nissan will negotiate the implementation of a work sharing scheme for staff workers, to be announced by the end of the fiscal year.

Nissan is also changing its executive management structure in order to provide an enhanced focus on both regional and functional activities. The changes are effective immediately.

  • Toshiyuki Shiga, Chief Operating Officer, expands his responsibilities to include management of a newly created three-region structure, in addition to government affairs manufacturing, research and development, purchasing, product planning, design, and marketing and sales. Shiga continues to report to President and CEO Carlos Ghosn.

  • Colin Dodge is appointed to the newly created position of Chief Recovery Officer, reporting to Ghosn. In this position, Dodge will lead the company’s ongoing recovery activities, and he also assumes responsibility for the corporate planning and control functions. Dodge is leading the newly created region encompassing Africa, the Middle East, India and Europe.

  • Hiroto Saikawa, Executive Vice President, takes responsibility for a new region that comprises Japan, China and the Asia-Pacific markets. Saikawa retains his responsibility for purchasing and adds responsibility for the company’s affiliates.

  • Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, is responsible for a new region that consolidates all markets in North, Central and South America.

  • Andrew Palmer is appointed Senior Vice President with responsibility for product planning, the Infiniti business unit, the Light Commercial Vehicle business unit and a newly created electric vehicle business unit. Palmer is newly elected to serve on Nissan’s Executive Committee.



Too bad. Europe's biggest car maker sales ROSE slightly. Has Nissan's mini-empire fallen to German design and marketing ingenuity?

Or is all the gloom just... gloom.

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