It's been a rough road for Nissan lately. Time to turn things around.
Things have not been wonderful at Nissan for a while now. Although it recently revealed the all-new 2020 Sentra, the Japanese automaker has struggled. Sales have been down and new products, in general, have been slow to launch. Dealerships are understandably frustrated. On top of this, exactly one year ago former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct.
Last month, former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa resigned. And now his replacement, Makoto Uchida, is stepping up to the plate with a new plan of attack. Automotive News Europe reports Uchida aims to get the automaker back on track by reviving its US business, reducing costs and boosting revenue with new products and advanced new technologies.
It's a tall order, no question, but the alternative is simply not acceptable. "Nissan has enjoyed growth over the years thanks to the alliance," Uchida said at a press briefing on Monday in his first comments as CEO. "I intend to continue our alliance efforts while maintaining Nissan's independence."
Another top priority for Uchida is to repair relations with Renault following the Ghosn fallout. The entire alliance, including Mitsubishi, requires attention. Fortunately, Uchida indicates he understands what needs to be changed within Nissan. "By trying to hit over-ambitious goals, we caused a rapid decline in our performance," he said. "We have to set objectives that are challenging but achievable and understandable." Above all, Uchida's top priority is increasing profits.
Part of that involves 12,500 job cuts worldwide, consolidating the lineup, and reducing global production capacity to 6.6 million vehicles a year from 7.2 million. As for the US, Nissan aims to increase sales to 1.4 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. It sounds like a lot of time but it's really not. Also expected to happen is a joint venture to be set up by Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi solely dedicated to next-generation technologies, such as electric vehicle platforms.
Unfortunately, the report does not offer details regarding what new Nissan vehicles America is set to receive. The Nissan Rogue remains the brand's best-seller in the US, while the Maxima sedan continues to see a sales drop. The 370Z sports coupe is long overdue for a complete redesign, but recent spy shots of a prototype Z car testing at the Nurburgring gives us hope.