Friday 22 May 2020 10:00 am

Nissan weighing 20,000 job cuts as car sales struggle

Japanese car company Nissan is reportedly considering cutting 20,000 jobs with a focus on Europe and developing countries as car sales plunge following coronavirus crisis.

The potential cuts come as Nissan prepares to announce its updated mid-term strategy next week.

Profits at Nissan have been struggling for the last three years and the coronavirus has made remedial action more urgent.

Read more: Nissan considers moving Renault production to Sunderland plant

Nissan declined to comment on the report from Japanese news agency Kyodo.

Nissan said in July last year it would cut 12,500 employees, nearly 10 per cent of its 140,000-strong workforce. If Nissan raises that to the higher figure, it would rival the 20,000 jobs it shed during the global financial crisis in 2009.

Even before the spread of the coronavirus, Nissan’s sales and profits had been slumping and it was burning through cash, forcing it to curtail an aggressive expansion plan pursued by ousted former leader Carlos Ghosn.

As a result, it will focus on strengthening cooperation with France’s Renault and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, to make better use of the regional and technological strengths of all three car makers, and consolidate production capabilities.

France’s finance minister on Friday said Renault’s future was at stake if it does not get help very soon, while Mitsubishi earlier this week reported an 89 per cent drop in annual profit in the year ended 31 March.

Read more: US arrests two men over escape of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn

Reuters has previously reported that Nissan’s management has become convinced it needs to be much smaller and will likely cut 1m cars from its annual sales target, while seeing a bigger role for the US and China in car sales.

Nissan also plans to scale back its European business and turn its focus to SUVs and commercial vehicles, Reuters has reported.

Nissan’s factory in Sunderland is the UK’s largest car manufacturing facility with a workforce of 6,000 people.

Nissan is reportedly considering moving the manufacturing of two Renault SUV models from Barcelona to its Sunderland plant.

Such a move could secure thousands of British manufacturing jobs at Nissan, which committed £400m in extra funding to the factory in March.

The Japanese car manufacturer is reportedly in talks with its strategic partner Renault to produce the Captur and Kadjar sport-utility vehicles in the UK.