Nissan will trim its North American vehicle production by up to 20 percent this year, according to a new report.
The change is in response to slowing vehicle sales in the United States, where sales growth slipped in 2017 compared to the previous calendar year. Nissan will slowly cut back on vehicle output at its plants in the US and Mexico over the coming months, with production set to be curtailed by 10% to 20% by the end of the summer. Employees will not be let go, the report indicates, but shifts from the plants will be cut, forcing some employees to stay home on certain weekdays.
Nissan ramped up sales incentives and placed emphasis on rental fleet sales in recent years in an attempt to boost its US market share, but the plan had an adversarial effect on profits and brand image. The 2019 Altima appears to be a reset for the brand, with premium looks and high-end interior content intended to reshape Nissan’s likeness. The production cutback is expected to stop once the new Altima goes on sale in the fall.
Nissan operates five plants in North America – two in the US and one in Mexico. Its plant in Smyrna, TN builds the Altima, Maxima, Leaf, Pathfinder, Rogue and Infiniti QX60, while another in Canton, MS handles output of the certain versions of the Titan pickup as well as the Altima, NV van, Frontier and Murano. The Mexican facilities, one of which is located in Cuernavaca and two in Aguascalientes, build the Versa and Versa Note, Sentra, Micra and the brand’s latest model – the Kicks crossover.
Nissan has yet to comment on the report. The automaker joins rival car companies in giving the US market a hard rethink, including Ford, which will reduce its passenger car lineup to the Mustang and Focus Active domestically, and Fiat Chrysler, which killed off the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 to free up production capacity for profit-heavy trucks and SUVs. Ford said it will also place an emphasis on truck and SUV sales in its home market, and General Motors is rumored to soon do the same.
[Source: Nikkei Asian Review]
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