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Nissan looking to leverage Mitsubishi PHL factory for production

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Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. President and CEO Makoto Uchida speaks at the live, YouTube-streamed press conference.

NISSAN MOTOR CO. LTD. is looking to rein in costs and mitigate the business effects of COVID-19 by taking a long hard look at its operations. Part of its vision may entail Nissan vehicles rolling out of a Mitsubishi production line here.

In a press conference streamed via YouTube, the Japan-headquartered automaker revealed its four-year plan “to achieve sustainable growth, financial stability and profitability by the end of fiscal year 2023.” Amid impending sweeping changes in the Japan-headquartered company, its management team is looking at leveraging its partnerships in the region in the wake of its “rationalization to restructure, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.”

Said Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta, “Asia is a great market for us in terms of customers… products (and) partners which we have in this region. However, when we look at our capability and capacity to cater to the demand of this region, we do believe that we need a partner who is much stronger than us in this region.”

Nissan revealed it will be shuttering its Indonesia manufacturing facility, along with its Barcelona factory, and then leverage its Thailand plant as a production base.

Mr. Gupta continued, “As far as Nissan is concerned, we are going to use (the) Thailand plant for Asia, ASEAN, (and) for exports (to) other parts of the world.”

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As far as the Philippines is concerned, Nissan is looking to partner with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. “Our second biggest market in ASEAN is the Philippines where we enjoy great market share on the frame-based SUV and frame-based pickup,” the executive said. “We don’t have a plant today, and we are now studying with Mitsubishi to utilize (its) plant in (the) Philippines so that we can localize our great products in the Philippines.”

Part of the company’s rationalization moves include “rightsizing” production capacity by 20% to 5.4 million vehicles per year, upping plant utilization rate to more than 80% toward more profitable operations, shrinking the global lineup of cars from 69 to 55 models, reducing fixed costs by around 300 billion yen, and, yes, looking at alliance partners to share resources. Nissan will focus on what it calls “global core model segments, including enhanced C- and D-segment vehicles,” according to a release.

Nissan President and CEO Makoto Uchida also revealed the company’s move to prioritize core markets and core products. Three key markets were identified as Japan, China, and North America. Nissan has also decided to exit South Korea, and terminate its Datsun business in Russia.

Despite the consolidation moves, the company plans to “introduce 12 models in the next 18 months,” and grow its portfolio of electric vehicles and electric motor-driven cars… with “more than one million electrified sales units expected a year by (the) end of FY 2023.” — KMA

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