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Nissan to cut 20,000 jobs; it expects first annual loss in 9 years

February 10, 2009|Associated Press

TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co. announced 20,000 job cuts Monday, the deepest reduction among Japan's automakers in battling the global downturn, as it forecast its first annual loss in nine years.

Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said the latest problems were industrywide and stemmed from the global economic slump and the appreciating yen.

The problems didn't mean Nissan was reverting to its money-losing status that required a financial bailout from alliance partner Renault in 1999, Ghosn said.

The last time Japan's third-largest automaker racked up an annual net loss was for the fiscal year that ended in March 2000.

Then, a bloated Nissan had lost money in seven of the previous eight years.

"In 1999, we were alone. In 2009, everybody is suffering," Ghosn, also chief executive at Renault, said at Nissan's Tokyo headquarters.

Nissan now expects a 265-billion-yen ($2.9-billion) net loss for the fiscal year through March -- joining a raft of other Japanese corporate giants, including Toyota Motor Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Sony Corp., in slashing jobs and projecting annual losses.

As a key step in weathering the downturn, Ghosn said Nissan would cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, or 8.5% of its 235,000-strong global workforce, by March 2010.

Nissan said it had no plans for additional job cuts in the U.S.

The maker of the Z sports car and the March compact sank to a loss of 83.2 billion yen ($921 million) for the October-December period from a 132.2-billion-yen ($1.2-billion) profit a year earlier.

Quarterly sales for the automaker plunged 34.4% to 1.817 trillion yen.

Mamoru Katou, an analyst with Tokai Tokyo Research, remained pessimistic about Nissan's recovery prospects.

Toyota and Honda Motor Co., which both have gasoline-electric hybrids going on sale this year, are better positioned to boost sales when the recovery kicks in, he said.

Nissan does not have a comparable hybrid model.

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