Restoring 'Nissan-ness': Struggling Automaker Lays Out Its 4-year Plan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
restoring 8216 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.”

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Stodge Stodge on May 29, 2020

    The big question is, will they get rid of Jatco and source their transmissions from somewhere else?

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 30, 2020

    That would be a start in the right direction except Nissan owns Jatco. Offering an Aisin transmission would be a start to a better more reliable Nissan.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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