Post-Ghosn, the Japanese automaker is going lean.
Nissan is entering a new era as it steps out from the shadow of its embattled former chief executive Carlos Ghosn. And according to the latest reports, plans for the future being enacted by its new leadership involve cutting production, staff, models, and entire brands.
Reuters reports that a far-reaching "performance recovery plan" will streamline its product portfolio. That will initially include cutting slow-selling variants of the Nissan Titan pickup, like the single-cab version and the diesel engine option that was left out from the recent updates to both the Titan and Titan XD. Other models could follow, and even brands under its portfolio.
The Infiniti luxury division remains safe for the time being, but the budget-oriented Datsun brand could face the axe. Under Ghosn's leadership, Nissan revived its own former name for a low-cost line of vehicles for emerging markets like Russia and India. The one region in which it doesn't plan to make cuts is China, and potentially the United States. But everywhere else it looks poised to cut its headcount by about 12,500 employees worldwide by 2023, reducing production capacity, and ending the practice of selling vehicles at heavy discounts to fleet operators like rental companies, tarnishing its reputation and profitability in the process.
The plan is reportedly still being finalized, but is expected to be announced by senior vice president Jun Seki, who has been leading the recovery efforts. Makoto Uchida, the former Chinese-operations chief, is set to take over as CEO at the start of next year – the second exec to take the helm since Ghosn's ousting mere months ago.
"We're trying to clean up what had happened in the past," an unnamed source told Reuters. Under Ghosn's leadership, Nissan was "practically giving away cars" to fleet customers in order to meet its sales objectives at any cost. "We need to chart a recovery but the rot goes deep."