- there's a lot going on with nissan these days, including former ceo carlos ghosn's international escapades.
- a newly hired vice chief operating officer was on the job for just two weeks in december before resigning, and cost cutting has accelerated.
- in the u.s., however, dealerships and car buyers should not notice anything out of the ordinary.
on top of former ceo carlos ghosn conducting a dramatic international escape from house arrest in japan over the holidays, nissan is dealing with more standard corporate turmoil issues: things like executive turnover and cost cutting.
nissan took a stab at firming up the foundation of its executive team with the ascension of makoto uchida to become representative executive officer, president, and ceo on december 1, 2019. uchida's new team included jun seki as executive officer and vice coo—but after just two weeks on the job, seki told nissan in late december that he would be stepping down and taking a new role at nidec, which makes automotive components and precision motors.
nissan released a statement on december 25 saying that it had accepted his resignation and, two days later, announced that hideyuki sakamoto had been selected to join the company's board of directors. sakamoto was previously a nissan executive vice president responsible for manufacturing and supply-chain management.
changes in the executive structure came with some new rules for the company. most notably, nissan japan told managers at the end of december that they needed to slash nonessential spending and cut back on things like vehicle sales incentives and promotional events.
changes in japan also affect nissan north america, which is in a "period of transition," according to chris keeffe, nissan north america's director of corporate communications. keeffe told car and driver that nissan north america has already announced the actions it would take to improve business performance by reducing expenses through march 2020. "cost savings will come from a 50 percent reduction in travel and two down days following the new year's holiday," he said.
anyone looking to buy a new nissan for the new year should not notice anything different. dealers will operate normally, keeffe said, and employees at nissan and infiniti dealerships are not affected. "nissan will continue to support dealers with the tools they need for smooth operations," he said. "customers can expect the same friendly and speedy customer service as always. their buying experience will not be affected."
potential customers checking out car advertisements are also not likely to see anything different going forward as a result of nissan's overall cost-cutting measures, keeffe said. nissan na's spending on brand marketing increased in 2019, and over the past six months, nissan north america worked with its dealers to adopt a "precision marketing strategy" that "focused on establishing the benefits of our vehicles and technology in a more emotional and relatable way," he said.
keeffe added that nissan is pursuing a full product-launch calendar that will involve "10 launches in 20 months, refreshing the nissan portfolio by 70 percent." in addition to the redesigned 2020 sentra compact sedan that will go on sale early this year, we also expect nissan to show a redesigned 2021 rogue crossover, a production version of the all-electric ariya crossover concept, and possibly a new z sports car by the end of 2020.