September 22, 2005

CEO Ghosn Declares Revival At Nissan 'Officially Finished'

The revival process of Nissan today is officially finished," said Mr. Ghosn, who is chief executive of both Nissan and affiliate Renault SA of France.

Boosting sales was a cornerstone of a plan called "Nissan 180" in which each digit – 1, 8, 0 – represented a target, or what Mr. Ghosn calls "commitments." By 2005, Mr. Ghosn promised Nissan would increase annual vehicle sales by one million units, raise operating-profit margins to 8% or more, and cut the car maker's long-term debt to zero.

Mr. Ghosn had succeeded in raising profit margins and reducing debt by 2004, early in the lifespan of the Nissan 180 plan. But the sales increase was considered a tougher challenge, and some critics doubted whether Mr. Ghosn and his senior managers could pull it off.

News of the plan's success is likely to bolster Mr. Ghosn's reputation as one of the most accomplished executives in the automobile industry. When Mr. Ghosn took the helm of Nissan in 1999, becoming one of the first few foreigners to run a Japanese company, Nissan was a deeply troubled company that many doubted would survive. Mr. Ghosn reduced the payroll, streamlined management and closed factories.

Today, Nissan is one of the most profitable car companies in the business. In April, Mr. Ghosn unveiled a new three-year plan called "value up," in which he promised to maintain hefty profit margins, to boost annual sales to 4.2 million vehicles by the fiscal year ending March 2009 and to earn an average of 20% on the capital it invests during the next three years.

No comments: