9 Feb 2009

Nissan to slash 20,000 jobs worldwide

9:40 pm on 9 February 2009

Nissan Motor Company on Monday announced 20,000 job cuts and warned of its first annual loss since Carlos Ghosn took the helm of the Japanese automaker almost a decade ago.

Nissan blamed the global economic crisis for an expected net loss of 265 billion yen ($US2.9 billion) in this financial year to March - a dramatic reversal from the previous year's profit of Y482 billion.

Mr Ghosn said the depth of the global economic crisis had surpassed Nissan's expectations.

"The global auto industry is in turmoil. Nissan is no exception," said Mr Ghosn, who also heads French carmaker Renault.

Japan's third largest automaker, which is 44% owned by Renault, said it would slash its global workforce by 8.5% to 215,000 in the next financial year to March 2010.

It forecast an operating loss of Y180 billion this year - its first since Renault parachuted in Mr Ghosn to rescue the company from the brink of bankruptcy in 2000.

Last year, Nissan made an operating profit of Y790.83 billion.

The automaker is cutting its global production by 20% this financial year compared with its previous target to meet sharply weaker demand.

As part of efforts to slash costs, the company will scrap its bonuses for the board of directors this year.

From March, salaries for top management will be reduced by 10% until the situation shows clear signs of improvement.

All Japanese carmakers have seen a drastic turnaround in their fortunes in recent months as recessions in major markets have battered demand for cars. World number one Toyota is bracing for its first ever annual loss.