Nissan falls behind rivals in industry's critical transitional period
Japan Times -- May 30
Despite Nissan Motor Co.’s latest efforts to become more cost-efficient and profitable by strengthening its collaboration with Renault SA, its business downturn may be causing a costly delay in the global race toward new mobility technologies, analysts say.

While the new systematic divisions of labor in the automakers alliance of over 20 years may help cut fixed costs, it could take five years or so before they can launch jointly developed models under the new collaboration framework, they say.

The new approach to working together can put an end to infighting over product development often seen under ousted former boss Carlos Ghosn, but it will need time to bear fruit, said Tatsuo Yoshida, senior auto analyst at research group Bloomberg Intelligence.

“This new alliance scheme, which encourages the sharing of not only platforms but upper vehicle bodies, will enhance efficiency, but this may also mean that the byproduct will be a nondescript model with weak product appeal,” said Yoshida, a former Nissan employee.

“When it comes to maximizing the benefits of the alliance, it was always easier said than done,” he said. “Nissan finally stands at the start line.”

The alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp., hopes to boost their profitability, already battered before the new coronavirus pandemic put even more pressure on sales.

Nissan said Thursday it will close plants in Spain and Indonesia and cut annual output by 20 percent after it reported a hefty net loss of ¥671.22 billion ($6.2 billion) in the year ended March 31, its largest red ink in 20 years.

Reviving the U.S. business “is taking significantly more time than initially expected,” Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in an online news conference.

Under the new framework, Nissan will play the role of supervisor in the field of autonomous driving and the alliance’s operations in Japan, North America and China.

News source: Japan Times
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