Restoring 'Nissan-ness': Struggling Automaker Lays Out Its 4-year Plan
Nissan has dutifully released its long-awaited 4-year plan, a document fresh-faced CEO Makoto Uchida must make a reality in order to ensure the survival of the automaker in These Uncertain Times, to say nothing of his job title.
Leaked up and down over the past few weeks, the plan calls for a return to modest sustainability, rather than the expansionist, market share-chasing efforts of the Ghosn era. Thrift and efficiency will be the name of the game.
Forget about the Ghosn-era 8 percent global market share target. By the end of 2023, Nissan hopes for a 6-percent share, as well as an operating profit margin of 5 percent.
Confirming earlier reports, Nissan stated that it will step away from underperforming markets and rid itself of excess capacity (including Europe’s Barcelona plant and the brand’s sole Indonesian facility) in a bid to lower operating costs. Production capacity will fall 20 percent to 5.4 million units per year. The automaker’s model range will be “optimized” depending on market, with the total number of models — currently numbering 69 — falling to 55 or fewer.
As it leaves the South Korean market and drops the low-end Datsun brand in Russia, Nissan will renew its focus on Japan, China, and North America, consolidating its lineup around core products — a range of vehicles that resident Nissanophile Chris Tonn was interested to hear included sports cars, along with “enhanced C and D segment vehicles” and electric vehicles.
The automaker’s unusual e-Power drivetrain will find its way into more vehicles, boosting the brand’s sales of electrically powered vehicles to 1 million units per year by the end of the time frame.
“Our transformation plan aims to ensure steady growth instead of excessive sales expansion. We will now concentrate on our core competencies and enhancing the quality of our business, while maintaining financial discipline and focusing on net revenue per unit to achieve profitability,” Uchida said, adding, “This coincides with the restoration of a culture defined by ‘Nissan-ness’ for a new era.”
What is Nissan-ness? Seems to have something to do with what the brand’s always boasted in spades: value.
“Nissan must deliver value for customers around the world,” Uchida said. “To do this, we must make breakthroughs in the products, technologies and markets where we are competitive. This is Nissan’s DNA.”
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