By on May 28, 2020


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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12 Comments on “Restoring ‘Nissan-ness’: Struggling Automaker Lays Out Its 4-year Plan...”

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Let’s imagine for a moment, that Goshn wouldn’t had been ousted, and would be still in charge of Nissan…….

    Would he had reacted faster? Would he had swallowed his pride?

    I am thinking all of this because right now Goshn must be having a good dose of Schadenfreude, most likely thinking that Nissan’s downfall is a consequence of his ouster.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Sounds like the reality check is bearing fruit – good.

  • avatar

    too late

    too hard/impossible to resurrect a crap brand after it’s been a crap brand for a decade or so

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Just here for the “You can’t cut your way to success” and “Leaving a market is failure” comments that get posted when a domestic brand culls models and withdraws from markets.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    They have yet to really announce what the plan is other close a factory here or there, and cut a few models. Current models total 69 with a plan to go 55. Ok, super, which models? If the entire Infiniti line up is not in that list, then all they are doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. With rental car companies going BK, no reason to continue making supposed ‘high-line’ cars for rental car companies.

    Next, why are we seeing dark, possibly revealing pics of what could be the next Z? The amount of dollars needed to resurrect this nameplate to something remotely salable would be astounding. With, ‘why’ followed next? The market for cars like this barely exists now.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I agree 100 percent, but I don’t see how you restore “Nissan-Ness” without a Z.

      I would assume the platform would be utilized across at least a sedan and maybe a nice wagony crossover thingy.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    So Nissanness…hmm…

    1. SE-R versions of the Sentra, Versa and Kicks. Good versions.
    2. Yes, you need a Z…assuming Nissan-Ness is your goal, it is the first car most think of. Build a sedan and a crossovery thing on the platform. Call it the Maxima 4DSC or. Give people a reason to choose it over the Altima. You can build some sort of wagony crossover thing on the platform as well to spread the costs.
    3. Make the Z more expensive (and worth it) by bolting 2 Turbos to a version and kicking the GT-R back to Japan. In the US, the Z is the premium Nissan.
    4. Also make the Z cheaper by putting a 4 cylinder under the hood of a version and affixing 240 badges.
    5. Make the crossovers
    6. You’ll need some sort of mainline FWD/AWD platform to underpin the crossovers people buy en-masse. The sedan versions shall wear 510 badges. The Crossover…I don’t know…Stanza maybe. Just make them competetive. I know little of their current offerings. I’d know more if I cared about the brand, which I would if Nissan-ness was something that my mind applied to cars versus low credit scores and rental lots.

    • 0 avatar

      It sounds like you want to bring back some old badges. I can see a base 240Z with a performance top of the line model as the halo (Chevy offered an Impala “SS” with a straight six), but a 510?

      With a US median age of 38, half the population was born after 1982 – they never heard of the Datsun 510. Heck, a majority never heard of Datsun. Besides, does Nissan really want to give up names for numbers?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If Nissan wants to restore more Nissan-ness then start with breaking their ties with Renault and becoming an entirely Japanese corporation again even if it takes the Japanese Government to intervene. Buy out Renault’s interest and go back to the old Nissan but more profitable. Better to have the Japanese running Nissan without interference from the French Government. The French make lousy cars and lousy cigarettes but make good food and good wine.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

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