Japan: Nissan facing problems because of strong Yen image

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn warned Tuesday that Japanese car-makers may be forced into a major strategic rethink if the yen stays near its recent record highs.

Despite the yen’s historic strength and the losses it has forced on exports, automakers such as Nissan and Toyota Motor Corp have pledged to keep a minimum level of production at home to protect Japanese manufacturing and in the hope that the yen will weaken.

But, if the yen remains at current levels over the next six months, that could “provoke a major rethinking of industrial strategy,” Mr. Ghosn said during a visit to a plant in Fukuoka prefecture, southern Japan.

“I may be wrong, but I don’t think that is going be the case,” he added.

Japanese auto executives have repeatedly warned that the yen had strengthened beyond what domestic exporters could cope with.

Nissan already said last week that next generation Infiniti models likely will be built outside Japan due to the strength of the yen.

“The next generation Infiniti cars will be built outside Japan,” Ghosn said during a press briefing with partner Daimler to update the market on an alliance forged in April 2010.

Globally, Nissan sold a total of 1,056,000 vehicles in the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, up 10.6% compared to the same period in fiscal 2010.

Net revenue increased 1.6% to 2.082 trillion yen (US $25.48 billion, euro 17.73 billion), while the ordinary profit amounted to 147.7 billion yen (US $1.81 billion, euro 1.26 billion) and net income totaled 85 billion yen (US $1.04 billion, euro 720 million).