Dismally poor performance in a key market has left Nissan’s freshly minted CEO, Makoto Uchida, with no other option than to cut deeper.
Already, the struggling automaker’s North American arm has faced a workforce furlough, severe restrictions on travel budgets, pared-down build configurations on new models, and a host of other cost-cutting efforts, but the present situation calls for more.
Replying to angry shareholders in Japan, Uchida promised to be merciless.
As reported by Automotive News, Uchida said his team is busy finalizing a restructuring plan for the region, claiming the coming cuts will feature “no taboos whatsoever.”
If the plan, set to be revealed in May, doesn’t right the ship, Uchida said the shareholders can toss him overboard.
“We will make sure that we steer the company in an effective way so that it is visible in the eyes of viewers. I will commit to this. If the circumstances remain uncertain you can fire me immediately,” he told the ornery Yokohama crowd. “You can count on Nissan to change for the better.”
The shareholders in attendance weren’t happy with Uchida’s claim that existing efforts were already bearing fruit. They wanted to know what more the CEO planned to do, claiming that measures being taken to solidify Nissan’s financial footings are coming too late. Nissan reported a net loss of $239 million for the final quarter of 2019. Operating profit fell 78 percent after a year of steep sales losses both globally and in North America, and the automaker cut its profit and sales forecasts for the 2019 fiscal year.
Uchida’s predecessor may have been premature in claiming that the company had reached rock bottom.
The automaker’s present CEO, who took on the unenviable job at the beginning of December, sought to placate investors by saying the company’s current direction is not wrong. It just needs some extra weight on the throttle.
“We are going to reduce our expenses in North America,” he stated, adding that the looming cuts could involve certain products or regional businesses.
[Images: Chris Tonn/TTAC, Nissan]