Nissan Braces up For Losses

TOKYO – Nissan is slashing 20,000 jobs, or 8.5 percent of its global work force, to cope with what Japan‘s third-largest automaker expects will be its first annual loss in nine years.

“The global auto industry is in turmoil, and Nissan is no exception,” Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters Monday in Tokyo.

Nissan Motor Co. now expects a 265 billion yen ($2.9 billion) net loss for the fiscal year through March — joining a raft of other Japanese corporate giants, including Toyota, Toshiba and Sony, in slashing jobs and projecting annual losses.

The last time Nissan racked up an annual net loss was for the fiscal year ended March 2000, at the start of its alliance with Renault SA of France, which sent in Ghosn to rescue Nissan from the brink of collapse. Then, a bloated Nissan had lost money in seven of the previous eight years.

Among other measures, production will be reduced and inventory will be controlled, according to Nissan.

Shift elimination, work stoppages and shorter hours will help reduce global production by 20 percent, or 787,000 vehicles, from the initial plan, by the end of this fiscal year, it said.

Inventory is being reduced by 20 percent to 480,000 vehicles from 630,000 in March 2008, Nissan said.

Nissan sold 731,000 vehicles worldwide in the quarter ended Dec. 31, down 18.6 percent from a year earlier. Nissan’s vehicle sales suffered especially in the U.S., where they dropped 29.7 percent in January.

Nissan remains committed to developing electric vehicles and other zero-emission technology, Ghosn said.

“We don’t think this crisis is going to last forever,” he said.

Nissan shares slid 5.8 percent to 261 yen. Earnings were announced after trading ended in Tokyo.


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