By on April 8, 2020

For an automaker that was already bleeding money and watching sales tallies shrink like a man who’s just hopped in the pool, the coronavirus pandemic came along at exactly the wrong time for Nissan.

As its lays off up to 10,000 U.S. workers amid an industry-wide shutdown, Nissan’s chief operating officer is already thinking about a brighter, more certain future.

Ashwani Gupta didn’t exactly lay out the entire recovery plan Nissan is expected to reveal in May, but he did offer up some teasers. For example: asset sales? Those seem to be off the table for now, marking a departure from previous thinking.

Calling the current situation a challenge, but “not impossible,” Gupta told Bloomberg Television, “Before talking about asset sales, we are focused on how we can capitalize existing assets.”

One way that strategy could bear fruit is by turning the automaker’s transmission unit, Jatco, into a purveyor of electrification hardware. Other assets owned by alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi could find new roles, not owners, Gupta added.

One course the automaker isn’t straying from is its plan cut 12,500 heads from its global workforce. Global sales chasing and lofty targets will also remain the stuff of the Ghosn years, with Nissan embarking on a regional focus. Playing to its strengths in the markets that embrace the brand, then bolstering that effort. Services will also play a significant role in the company’s future, apparently.

At the beginning of what was already a bad year for the automaker, newly minted CEO Makoto Uchida urged shareholders to fire him if he didn’t pull off a successful comeback plan. That plan lands next month, with Gupta saying it will be “purely based on prioritization and focus.”

“It means that economic scale is not the only answer,” Gupta said. “We have to prioritize and focus where we get the maximum value.”

[Image: Nissan]

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9 Comments on “‘Not Impossible’: Nissan COO Talks Cash, Thinking Small Ahead of Comeback Plan...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “bleeding money and watching sales tallies shrink”

    “Global sales chasing and lofty targets will also remain the stuff of the Ghosn years”

    Losing sales is bad, but chasing sales is bad, too? What sort of Nissan does TTAC recommend?

  • avatar

    Nissan seems like the GM of a decade ago – hit or miss quality, chasing too many markets indiscriminately, and reaching for scale at all costs. Hopefully they can do a better job than GM at reversing these ill-advised policies.

    • 0 avatar

      If you hadn’t noticed, aside from the quality aspect, GM has done a pretty good job on the other fronts (much to the dismay of many GM loyalists who don’t like GM abandoned markets and/or segments wholesale).

      While it remains to be seen if the focus on BEVs (along w/ pick-ups and SUVs) will pay off in the future (may be a while), it is telling that the next 2 Honda BEVs will use a GM platform and batteries and be built at a GM plant.

      Financially, GM is in a much better position than its rival, Ford.

      As for Nissan, this pandemic is the last thing they needed, making an already precarious situation dire.

      Really don’t see how they will survive w/o an infusion of cash from the Japanese govt.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Nissan shut down most of its Japanese factories 20 years ago. When Renault bailed them out. I don’t expect the Japanese government will give them a big bailout.

  • avatar

    If Nissan can just shed its image of selling inexpensive pieces of garbage with horrific CVT’s and replace it with value-priced cars with real transmissions, I think they could survive. Nissan could be the Hyundai/Kia of the Japanese invasion but with better styling.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Nissan was already in bad shape before COVID-19 struck.

    I believe that this pandemic will bring Nissan to its knees, and out of sheer desperation to survive they will be required to do something really, really crazy.

    Like partnering with a smaller Japanese competitor and even perhaps an European partner, most likely a French one.

    Wait…..what kind of nonsense am I thinking? I apologize to everyone for my absurd comment.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Nissan could start with better automatic transmissions. An automatic transmission that grenades before 100k is not going to attract too many buyers.

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