Someone pop out the antidepressants, it looks like Nissan is feeling seriously blue about its future prospects. We understand when car companies announce sales slowdowns and plans to alter their production schedules accordingly. What is harder to understand is when a car company of Nissan’s caliber announces it will be soon experiencing something short of a global sales bloodbath. Did everyone at that company take the “drama” pill?
Never before did we think of Carlos Ghosn as a “drama queen,” but lately since he took over the reins at sister company Renault he seems to be less visionary and more reactionary. Just look at how he axed 6,000 jobs at Renault of Europe. How many people actually work at Renault in Europe? Is Carlos answering the phones and washing the windows now outside headquarters? We wouldn’t doubt it.
Nissan has warned that it is preparing for a sales slowdown in its Japanese, North American and European markets. Okay, so the big ones then is it? Apparently the only thing keeping the executives at Nissan from fal ling on their swords is the fact that sales in China are up 40%. It must be from all that money that came pouring in as a result of hosting the 2008 Olympics.
Or perhaps it is that China is a major economic powerhouse whose strength lies mainly in manufacturing. Why isn’t their economy more in the doldrums? Because they make everything—and we mean everything—that the world buys.
So what is the take from executives at Nissan North America. According to executive vice president of Nissan named Colin Dodge (hello unfortunate moniker!), “The first 10 days of October were the worst ever in terms of sales, showroom traffic for everybody in the whole industry in the US.” And then Godzilla attacked all our dealerships and burned them down with one fiery breath! Sorry, we got caught up in all the drama. We made up that last part.
While we realize that there has been a global financial meltdown, all is not lost dear reader. Let’s put it all in a little perspective. According to Global Insight, a worldwide auto sales track ing firm, earth’s car market will be off only 1% from 2007 levels this year. While this marks the lowest sales level since 2001 it by no means signifies that a “giant radioactive monster” level attack has occurred on our carmakers.
Our view? While we think it is wise of Nissan to plan for fewer future sales, could their woes be due to other reasons like a less than stellar quality reputation when compared with their Japanese counterparts at Honda and Toyota? Add to that a truck and SUV heavy lineup and you can see that
Nissan is facing some of the similar struggles faced by GM and Ford.
Our only advice is that maybe Nissan should plan ahead a little better with what might be a future trend as Honda did so successfully with the introduction of the Fit. Yes, we know you have the Versa but what about all of those fuel efficient Renaults you have access to? Slap some Nissan badges on them and ship them over here! Nissan dealers need all the small cars they can get.