Nissan’s announcement that it will cut 20,000 jobs from its global operation is no surprise.
It had expected to make over £1bn in profit, until the global recession kicked in last autumn.
The appreciation of the Yen (which hammers profitability when cash from overseas sales is repatriated to Japan and makes it expensive to buy materials) has hit Nissan hard. Last month it decided to shift production of Micra from Japan to Thailand to cut costs.
Nissan has also seen sales in the US market tumble 31 percent and in January sales in Japan reportedly fell by the biggest margin for 35 years. A four-day week is on the horizon and city reports say Nissan is poised to kill 12 of the planned 60 new car projects due to be rolled out over the next five years. Electric car projects will survive, though.
Odd, then, that according to figures for the 27 countries of the EU and European Free Trade Area, Nissan actually sold nearly 9 percent more cars in 2008 than it did in 2007.
This may be because of Nissan’s decision to concentrate on superminis (Micra and Note) and various sizes of 4x4, including the highly popular Quashqai.
When the green light was given to the idea some years ago, Nissan figured that it had made no headway in the Golf sector with two generations of Almera and (according to one UK source) never turned a profit on any of the four generations of UK-built Primera.
Until now, the plan has paid off handsomely. However, Autocar understands that Nissan UK’s sales estimates for 2009 are around half what the company sold in 2008.
With shock figures such as those, it’s becoming very clear that 2009 – and probably much of 2010 – will be a sales disaster for the car industry.