Nissan boss apologises for posting loss, promises return to growth
Tokyo - Nissan chief executive Makoto Uchida offered an apology at the firm's annual shareholders' meeting on Monday after the company fell into the red for the first time in 11 years due to slumping sales and fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Uchida vowed to "put Nissan back on the path to growth."
"It is very important to boost its presence in the domestic market where the carmaker was born," Uchida, who took office in February, told the shareholders' meeting, which was scaled down due to the pandemic.
During the two-hour meeting, one shareholder criticised the carmaker for lacking vision for the future, compared with Toyota and Honda.
Uchida expected the carmaker's global demand to fall by 15 to 20 percent for the current financial year due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
Nissan, the alliance partner of Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, has declined to release profit forecasts for the year through March 2021 as the pandemic caused uncertainty.
"I would like to explain when it's supposed to be," Uchida said, referring to the profit outlook.
Nissan posted a net loss of 671.2 billion yen (R106bn) for the latest financial year ending March 31.
The number of vehicles sold globally by the carmaker stood at 4.93 million units in the year, down 10.9 percent from fiscal 2018.
Last month, Nissan unveiled plans to close plants in Indonesia and Spain as part of its restructuring plan.
Nissan has been in deep trouble since the arrest of ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo in November 2018.
Ghosn, who once led the alliance, has been charged with breach of trust and falsifying financial documents to understate his income. He has denied the allegations.
Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon in late December.
In May, Jean-Dominque Senard, chairman of Renault and the alliance, said they have no merger plan for Nissan and the French carmaker.
Nissan has long opposed Renault's proposals for a full merger. The French carmaker owns 43.4 percent of the alliance partner.
The alliance announced a new division of labour designed to cut certain investment costs by 40 percent.
Under the plan, a different company will take on the lead roles for each particular vehicle class, technology and region.