Coming off large global and regional losses during the 2008 fiscal year, Nissan is changing the management and structure for the Americas. The latest moves seem to be as much about increasing its share from insignificant in South America, as it is also an attempt to shed costs in North America, after a company-threatening, failed foray into making large SUVs and pickup trucks there.
Carlos Tavares, chairman of the newly reconfigured Management Committee-Americas, described the new plan for growth in the region as a “renewed commitment to delighting customers with innovative ideas for the joy of everyday driving.”
“We are taking a holistic approach to unlock new synergies in the region and to shift the Americas to zero-emission mobility,” he added, in what could be a record for meaningless clichés in one statement, although it is an extremely competitive field among auto execs.
The only immediate “innovation” on the product planning horizon that TDB is aware of involves Nissan’s attempt to counter Toyota’s and Honda’s hybrid dominance with a line of electric vehicles that are due next year in the U.S. and Japan as a demonstration fleet. Two years later, Nissan EVs will be made available to the mass market globally. Demand for EVs remains to be proven.
Japan’s third largest auto company is the only offshore company that has asked for U.S. taxpayer assistance, via a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, where $25 billion has been allocated to encourage production of vehicles that are 25% more fuel efficient than others in the class. The controversial formula used for mileage attained by electric vehicles puts gasoline-powered ones at a disadvantage. (more…)