Nissan Admits Its Models Are Aged and Announces Turnaround Plan

Saying Nissan has been experiencing some serious issues in recent years would be a massive understatement. In 2019 we saw Nissan’s former CEO Carlos Ghosn arrested over serious charges in Japan. However, problems with the company began way before 2019. In a recent interview with Car Magazine, Nissan’s current COO, Ashwani Gupta, admits details of some of the carmaker’s biggest mistakes and how it plans to move forward.

What did Nissan do wrong?

A Nissan Frontier climbing over a dirt hill.
Nissan Frontier | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his recent interview with Car Magazine, Gupta is surprisingly open and honest about the companies recent mistakes. Most of the big mishaps took place while Ghosn was still running the show. This was when the partnership with Renault came about, says CarBuzz. During this era, the company’s main goal was to expand as quickly as possible and develop a wide variety of models. As a result, we saw a surprising amount of new vehicles unveiled for the global market.

According to Gupta, Nissan’s goal was to have an eight percent global market share at an eight percent margin. Nissan was counting on the global auto markets growing along with its plan. Unfortunately, sales couldn’t keep up with the carmaker’s expansion.

Nissan’s overall development budget was spread quite thin as it attempted to push out tons of new models. Gupta told Car Magazine: “As a result, we were landed with aged vehicles, a huge line-up which we could not maintain. It’s all based on investment: if you don’t have the revenue, you can’t have [new] cars. It’s a vicious cycle.”

How is Nissan holding up currently?

Silver 2008 Nissan GT-R
2008 Nissan GT-R | Nissan

This brings us neatly to how Nissan is currently holding up in the global market. According to Gupta, the Japanese carmaker currently holds a 5.8 percent market share. However, the shocking figure is that the company operates at a yearly loss of around ¥40 billion or around $386 million. Since there is no profit being generated, there is no money to revamp aging models that desperately need a refresh.

As Motor1 points out, both the Nissan 370Z and the GT-R are over a decade old. The Pathfinder falls just short of the ten-year mark, and the current-gen Frontier is over 16 years old. Despite this, the company has pushed forward with redesigned models such as the 2021 Armada, Kicks, and Rogue, to name a few.

As a result of some aging models in Europe, Car Magazine reports that Nissan’s sales have dropped significantly in recent years. Gupta confirmed that the brand’s most important markets are the U.S., Japan, and China. As a result, the carmaker will embrace these markets to maximize profits.

What will the carmaker’s future look like?

An image of a 2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo outdoors.
2017 Nissan 370Z NISMO | Nissan

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To get out of this hole, Nissan is going to need a master plan. This is where Gupta’s newest turnaround plan comes in. As it stands, the plan covers up to 2023. The main objectives are to cut costs, close down plants in Spain and Indonesia, and to cut off older unnecessary models, says Car Magazine. This plan also will see the Japanese carmaker working closer with Renault to decrease overall operating costs.

Gupta mentions that one of the brand’s most important new vehicles is the upcoming Ariya, an all-electric crossover. Like the rest of the car industry, Nissan is going to expand its list of electric vehicles. Despite this, we should still get sporty models like the upcoming Z we saw a concept of recently and a brand-new GT-R. However, only time will tell if Nissan can truly turn things around.