Nissan turnaround plan will end 14 models globally

A much smaller, but more defined Nissan, is coming.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Nissan’s long-awaited turnaround plan came to light Thursday, and it calls for massive changes to the automaker to right a ship after years chasing volume and expansion.

The details shared point to two big changes: fewer models sold and less production capacity. Specifically, Nissan said in its announcement it will reduce the number of models sold globally by 14 nameplates. It’s not clear which cars will be on the chopping block, but the bell will eventually toll for a number of vehicles.

That’s not to say Nissan doesn’t have anything new coming. The strategy will see the company invest in its most important vehicles, and along with the restructuring plan’s announcement, Nissan already dropped a teaser video highlighting the numerous new cars on the way. They include a new Z sports car, Frontier pickup and the electric Ariya SUV. Overall, investments will focus on C- and D-segment cars, sports cars and electric vehicles, and 12 new models are planned over the next 18 months.

When it comes to manufacturing, expect Nissan to make major consolidations. Globally, production capacity will fall by 20% as the automaker cuts bloat and works to bring factory utilization to at least 80%. Basically, Nissan has too many underused plants today.

The plan calls for Nissan’s factory in Barcelona to shut down, as well as another factory in Indonesia. In North America, Nissan only said the plan will include “consolidating production around core models.” According to Automotive News, citing supplier sources, the company plans to shift Murano production from its plant in Mississippi to its Tennessee-based crossover plant. There, Nissan would build the Murano alongside several other crossovers to boost efficiencies and the plant in Mississippi would be free for new investments.

Meanwhile, this US-specific plan would also reportedly see Altima sedan production move exclusively to the plant in Mississippi. Right now, the sedan is built in both Tennessee and Mississippi. Nissan did not immediately return a request for comment on that detail of the restructuring.

The overarching theme of the announcement is a total retreat from ex-CEO, and now international fugitive, Carlos Ghosn’s grand plans. Ghosn long worked to expand Nissan around the globe, whereas today’s announcement appears to plant seeds for more realistic achievements. Nissan will solely focus on North America, Japan and China, while its alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi home in on Europe and Oceania.


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