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Nissan to Mark 90th Anniversary Tuesday

Reuters file photo
The Nissan logo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Nissan Motor Co., which is undergoing major changes such as the levelling of capital ties with France’s Renault SA and a shift to electric vehicles, is set to mark its 90th anniversary Tuesday.

Nissan suffered financial difficulties following the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1990s, and rebuilt operations after receiving capital support from Renault in 1999. This year, the automaker succeeded in reforming the once Renault-dominated alliance.

The Japanese automaker is aiming for growth by accelerating its strategy to boost sales of EVs as well as of hybrid vehicles equipped with the company’s original technologies. But it is continuing to struggle in the Chinese market.

Nissan’s Tochigi plant in Kaminomikawa, Tochigi Prefecture, is home to state-of-the-art equipment such as one to paint the body and bumper at once and one to automatically wind copper wires for motors.

The automaker believes that spreading the Tochigi plant’s knowhow on efficient production is key to its plan of adding 27 EVs to its lineup by fiscal 2030.

“We will spread our achievements to other plants around the world,” Eiji Kikuchi, head of the Tochigi plant, which produces the Ariya EV, told reporters earlier this month.

The ongoing fiscal year through next March is the last year of Nissan’s four-year plan to depart from its old strategy of focusing on expanding sales.

Under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, who came from Renault to Nissan in 1999 and served as its president and chairman, Nissan focused heavily on increasing the number of units sold. Under the four-year plan, the automaker has shifted its focus to securing profitability.

In July, Nissan and Renault agreed to reduce the French automaker’s stake in the Japanese company from 43% to 15%, making the two firms hold equal stakes in each other.

Under President Makoto Uchida, who is leading the company’s move away from the sales-oriented strategy championed by Ghosn, Nissan revised up the company’s consolidated earnings forecasts for the current fiscal year last month.

Meanwhile, Ghosn told his lawyer in Japan in an online meeting that the brighter projection is merely the result of the yen’s weakening, according to the lawyer.

The challenge for Nissan’s current management is to strengthen the competitiveness of its EVs and realize profit growth in a way that does not invite criticism. It faces the urgent task of rebuilding its operations in the Chinese market, where Nissan’s sales have plunged due to competition from local automakers.

On Dec. 14, Nissan held a ceremony marking its 90-year anniversary in Yokohama, where the company is based. At the event, Uchida touched on Nissan’s founding principle of doing what others do not dare to do and expressed his determination to “return to the basics and aim for further growth into the future,” according to Nissan.