Nissan Motor Co., which saw its U.S. sales drop 10% last year, is preparing to offer voluntary separation packages to older workers in the as it tries to resize itself to match lower sales.
The Japanese automaker wouldn’t say how many employees it is targeting to leave, how much money it expects to save, or give details of the severance offers. The offers are being made to factory and white-collar workers over the age of 52, according to the Associated Press.
Nissan’s U.S. sales fell nearly 10% last year, with the Nissan brand down 8.7% and its Infiniti luxury brand off 21.1%. Many analysts expect total U.S. auto sales to drop this year. TrueCar, the car buying service estimates that Nissan sales in January will drop 24%, including a 40.2% decline in fleet sales.
In addition, the company is making substantial cuts to shore up its financial position, around the world, including the U.S. The move is being made “(t)o adapt to current business needs and improve efficiencies, Nissan will offer voluntary separation packages to eligible U.S.-based employees,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
Company spokeswoman Lloryn Love-Carter said although she couldn’t give a specific number of workers the company is seeking to cut, it would not be in the thousands. She said the offers will be in the U.S. only.
Earlier in January, Nissan made its U.S. employees take two unpaid furlough days. The company has more than 20,000 U.S. workers, concentrated mainly at its U.S. headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, as well as its factory complexes in Canton, Mississippi, and Smyrna, Tennessee, and a technical center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Reports from Japan said Nissan is preparing to eliminate at least 4,300 white-collar jobs and shutter two manufacturing sites as part of broader plans to add $4.4 billion to its bottom line by 2023.
The moves come on top of a turnaround plan unveiled in July and are likely to include cutting Nissan’s range of cars and the array of product options and trims in each line, slashing jobs mostly at head offices in the United States and Europe, and reducing advertising and marketing budgets, they said.
“The situation is dire. It’s do or die,” a person close to Nissan’s senior management and the company’s board told Reuters.
Nissan officials said in July the company would cut 12,500 jobs from 14 sites around the world, from the United Kingdom to Spain, Mexico, Japan, India and Indonesia. The company planned to reduce its model range by 10%. The company told Reuters that meant shutting one production line at each plant.