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Forget what Ghosn says, Nissan is on good path, COO Gupta insists

This trio of concept cars, revealed late last month, shows where Nissan is heading with its EV programme.

This trio of concept cars, revealed late last month, shows where Nissan is heading with its EV programme.

Published Dec 9, 2021


Yokohama - Nissan's profit recovery and electric-vehicle investment plans are placing the carmaker on a good path toward future growth, Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta said recently.

"Our operating profit is positive, and when we're talking about electrification, this is meaningful," Gupta told Bloomberg Television's Manus Cranny in an interview. Gupta's comments in Dubai follow Nissan's announcement late last month that it will spend 2 trillion yen (R276 billion) over the next five years on electrifying more of its fleet.

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The COO's remarks follow statements made on Monday by former Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. Joining an online briefing from Lebanon, Ghosn, who was removed from Nissan following charges of financial misconduct three years ago, said the automotive industry is undergoing a monumental shift to battery-powered cars and questioned whether Nissan's current management is capable of guiding the company through the period of disruption.

With future profitability in mind, Nissan "needs to shift to a new direction," Ghosn said. "The market is telling you that it is betting on companies that are moving toward totally electric. "I don't think Nissan management is well equipped for this," he said.

Ghosn, who has denied the financial misconduct charges, eventually left Japan undercover to escape trial.

Gupta responded by highlighting the company's financial recovery. Nissan announced last month that it is targeting a 180 billion yen operating profit for the year through March, in what would be its first return to annual profit in three years.

Regarding electrification, "we're talking about doing 2 trillion yen of investment to launch 23 products," Gupta said. "This is good enough in regard to sustainable growth for Nissan moving into the future."

Nissan is allocating "production to profitable markets and markets where customers are waiting," Gupta said in response to questions on output cuts due to the pandemic, which has disrupted supplies of chips and raw materials for carmakers across the globe.

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Asked whether Nissan would see cuts similar to October's 22% production drop, Gupta said: "I'm not sure about 22%, but it should be double digit."

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Electric CarsNissan