May 17, 2011

Iwaki Upshifts to Recovery

Iwaki - May 17- (NMC) Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn visited the quake-hit factory town of Iwaki Tuesday, calling the Fukushima plant's comeback a symbol of Japan's recovery.

The factory saw broad structural damage in the devastating March 11 temblor, which prompted other plants to rally to make up for lost Nissan and Infiniti output.

Nissan's CEO announced in his second trip since the earthquake the adding of another work shift at Iwaki, boosting production to 80 percent of pre-quake levels and dovetailing with more suppliers coming on line.

"On May 17th, we are today standing in the plant, as you know the light is back, there is no problem of water, they are at 100% capacity restored. It doesn't mean that the plant is producing at 100%, because we still have some problems with some suppliers, but the capacity has been restored at 100%" said Carlos Ghosn.

Iwaki Plant General Manager Nobuhiro Ozawa said factory staff, making some 376,000 engines last year, recognize their role in Nissan's revival.

"I am extremely happy. As Mr. Ghosn said, the Iwaki plant has now seen every line resume production, and in the two months since the earthquake finally this date has arrived. Every day, I have worked with you hoping to see this day, and we, the Iwaki factory, have worked quickly for the company with passion." said Nobuhiro Ozawa.

Meeting with Iwaki's 640 workers, Ghosn said the earthquake had not forced the company to postpone any strategic plans. And he said "the Iwaki plant became Nissan's symbol of swift recovery, and in a certain way, how Japan has reacted in front of something which was the worst natural disaster to hit the country".

Nissan expects to return to pre-quake output by October, as Japan further recovers from the worst natural disaster in its history.