September 4, 2011
Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga speaks with the Global Media Center
Q1. What’s Nissan outlook for the global auto market?
It is true that there are some signals that America’s economy is slowing down or about the uncertainty of the European economy. Also, the strong yen is giving a lot of negative impact to Japanese production, so we have many headwinds. But I think it is too early to revise or review our forecast.
Nissan still has a very strong momentum to grow. Even after the catastrophe that occurred on March 11, Nissan showed significant growth all over the world. I want to keep this forecast and all Nissan employees should fight even if there are strong headwinds.
Q2. Can Nissan meet its pledge to build a million cars a year in Japan even when the yen is strong?
To maintain one million vehicles of production is quite critical—very, very important. But I have no intention at all to continue Japan production if we cannot justify our investment or profitability from Japanese production.
That means we have to make every effort to improve our competitiveness. Even though the [dollar-yen rate may be] 80 yen or more, we’ll continue our Japanese operations and make every effort to reduce our production costs in Japan.
Q3. Japan has experienced a lot of political changes in the last few years. What policies would Nissan like the nation’s new government to implement?
Unfortunately, Japan as a country is facing a lot of difficulties and enormous challenges, especially after the March 11 earthquake. As a country, Japan has to solve many things to recover the economy and to also restore the affected areas.
But as the automotive industry, we are also facing several challenges. For example, the roku-juku—the six difficulties or the six headwinds, such as yen appreciation, high corporate tax, and being behind on FTA (free trade agreements) and EPA (economic partnership agreements) negotiations compared with other countries.
Recently, we are facing the power-supply shortage, so I really expect the new prime minister and government to attack these issues and solve them one by one in a very effective way.