By on July 28, 2020

Based on Mitsubishi’s bleak assessment of its own future, you might have thought it would be the automaker winning this week’s award for saddest economic forecast. But Nissan refused to be outdone. Having already warned the world that 2020 would prove harrowing even before anyone heard the term “COVID-19,” the brand now predicts an operating loss of 470 billion yen ($4.5 billion USD).

Nissan likewise estimates total revenue declining by one-fifth through year’s end to 7.8 trillion yen ($74.1 billion) as its worldwide vehicle sales continue a longstanding retreat.

While it’s difficult to know what to peg these losses on, there are a few obvious suspects. Both automakers sacrificed their identities as automakers in order to spend years trying to expand globally, with a particular focus on developing countries and bland models assumed to have mainstream appeal. Nissan even re-launched the Datsun name as an affordable alternative in places like India, but it wasn’t the sales success the company envisioned.

They also happened to be in an industrial alliance with Renault, which has likewise undergone restructuring as the three attempt to tap into whatever synergistic strengths are left within the partnership.

Nissan is supposed to focused on delivering new product and eliminating fixed costs wherever possible. General and administrative expenses will be a large part of that, in addition to the company’s advertising budget. The company knows it’s bloated, but doesn’t want to lessen the role of the pandemic, which remained front and center in its financial reporting.

From Nissan:

Given the continuing effects of COVID-19 on the global market, Nissan expects a lower business volume in fiscal year 2020. Nissan forecasts global total industry volume to decrease 16 [percent] from a year earlier to 72.04 million vehicles. For the full year, Nissan’s global retail volume is expected to decline 16.3 [percent] to 4.125 million vehicles, on par with the market trend. The company expects its global market share to achieve 5.73 [percent] which is the same level as previous fiscal year.

Nissan was pretty blunt about what happened. It acknowledged things weren’t playing out in China as hoped  sales fell 39.9 percent in the January-March period to roughly 207,000 vehicles. However, no automaker really had a great first or second quarter this year, with the brand optimistically noting that it actually bumped up its market share in the region by half a percent. Japan saw similar losses, with volumes shrinking by around 33 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. sales fell by 49.5 percent to 177,000 vehicles.

Nissan hopes the next-generation Rouge will help turn things around as the economy gradually improves.

[Image: Memory Stockphoto/Shutterstock]

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