Carmaking alliance partners Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors said on Wednesday they were reorganising their global production to save costs and become more efficient, raising fears that Nissan's Barcelona factory would shut.
"I think it's a bit of a breach to (talk about) the strategy around the regions and how they are developing the leader-follower plan for each region, how that's connected to the individual markets, at this stage there isn't that detail yet". The plan is focused on two strategic areas: rationalization and prioritizing core markets and core products.
"We obviously regret this decision", Economy Minister Nadio Calvino told broadcaster TVE, saying the government would continue to work with Nissan and local and regional authorities "to see how to proceed and maybe look for an alternative solution".
Under a new four-year plan, the Japanese carmaker will slash its production capacity and model range by about a fifth to help cut 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) from fixed costs as it fights for survival in a market hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The future remains unclear and it is extremely hard to predict", said Uchida, who acknowledged Nissan could not yet give a financial projection for the current fiscal year.
The alliance will focus on one model per product segment, which would be developed by the leading company in that particular segment and adapted by the others.
"We will carry out our responsibilities with determination", he said.
Renault holds a 43% stake in Nissan, while Nissan has a 15% stake in the French auto giant. At the same time the automaker wants its plants at 80 percent utilization. Today we adjust our model accordingly.
He stressed the alliance needs to adjust to the "unprecedented economic crisis", to pursue efficiency and competitiveness, not sheer sales volumes.
In Brazil, for example, the new approach means the alliance will go from making six models on four platforms - or underlying vehicle architectures - to seven models on one platform.
When it comes to key technologies, Nissan will be the lead company for autonomous driving technology, connected technology in China, and the common electric vehicle powertrain; that makes sense since they engineered the Leaf EV, among others.
The companies' product portfolio updates will follow the leader-follower scheme, and leader and follower vehicles will be produced using the most competitive setup.
Nissan's leadership has struggled to right the firm since the 2018 arrest of former boss Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges, which he denies.