Nissan, which hasn’t done anything interesting in roughly 10 years, is in the throes of a deep, post-Carlos Ghosn, mid-coronavirus crisis, as sales fall off a cliff and its volume aspirations have revealed themselves to be fantasies. But now, a report says all of that might have forced it into possibly maybe trying again.
What this looks like isn’t totally clear yet, but a global retrenchment is in the works, as Nissan attempts to scale down from having the capacity to make about seven million cars a year to between five and five-and-a-half million cars a year.
However! Automotive News has some anonymous sources that claim that the company will be doubling down on the U.S. market, and possibly even introducing some new cars. Per AN:
People familiar with Nissan’s soon-to-be-announced restructuring plan say the biggest operational cutbacks around the world will largely spare the critical U.S. market, instead targeting lackluster operations and lineups in other regions.
The strategy is to free resources from underperforming businesses so Nissan can eventually channel more — not less — into the core U.S. market, along with China and Japan, the people said.
Under the blueprint taking shape, the rest of the world’s pain could be America’s gain.
“We will be putting maximum energy into the U.S.” one person involved with the planning said. “The problem is that we expanded too far everywhere else. If you look at it like that, it’s very easy to rescale.
“It’s about products,” the person added. “Better products, new products and on-time products.”
This got me very excited for all of about 30 seconds, until the story pivoted to talking about the next big test for Nissan: The launch, planned for this fall, of the next-generation Rogue. While that is Nissan’s best-selling car in the U.S., it is about as interesting as a lugnut.
Anyway it’s worth noting that Nissan’s hand is a bit forced here, with its sales down well before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in part because of its own overly aggressive expansion under Ghosn. That expansion also strained engineering resources, which Automotive News’s source said was to blame for the cars being late, bad, and uninspiring.
That explanation lets Nissan off the hook a little bit, but if all of this can be the excuse for the company to once again get weird with its cars, I won’t have any complaints.