Subject: [cwj 40] We're not invading Japan: Nissan's Carlos Ghosn
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 11:24:27 -0700
Seq: 40

June 20, 2000

We're not invading Japan: Nissan's Carlos Ghosn

TOKYO, June 20 (AFP) - 

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. chief Carlos Ghosn Tuesday fought off attacks that
Renault SA represented an "occupying army" in Japan as it oversees a
painful restructuring at the Japanese car maker. 

Ghosn, imported to oversee the overhaul after Renault of France took a
controlling stake in Nissan last year, told the annual shareholders'
meeting that Japan's third biggest automaker was beating his targets. 

The Nissan Revival Plan unveiled last October was "going faster and having
a deeper impact than planned," said the chief operating officer, who is set
to be elevated to president at a board meeting later Tuesday. 

But that failed to placate one elderly shareholder describing himself as "a
patriotic Japanese", who lambasted Ghosn and other foreign board members
from Renault for not bowing to the 379-strong audience upon entry to the

The shareholder said he was born before World War II and saw parallels in
the post-war US occupation of Japan with Renault's grip on a fallen
champion of Japanese industry. 

"They are an occupying army. They've come here and they're closing down
plants and laying off workers," said the man, identifying himself only as

"Occupying forces are controlling this business," he said, to protests from
other shareholders who accused him of being drunk.

Ghosn, who was known in France as "le cost-killer," dismissed the
shareholder's charge that he was a "destroyer" of Nissan. 

"We are all committed to making Nissan strong again, brilliant again, in
Japan and outside Japan," Ghosn said. 

The former Renault executive got a strong vote of confidence from Nissan
chairman Yoshikazu Hanawa. 

"Mr Ghosn is now a Nissan man. He's left Renault. He's an earnest man, an
honest man," the chairman told shareholders.

"We do need non-Nissan ways to rejuvenate the company. We do need to listen
to him to learn about new ways," said Hanawa, who will become chief
executive at the board meeting. 

"You make analogies about occupying armies. He is not like that. He is not." 

Brazilian-born Ghosn, alternating between Japanese and English, reiterated
his vow to resign if Nissan does not return to the black in this fiscal
year after spending most of the past decade in the red. 

"We are putting our responsibility on the line. But we maintain that Nissan
will be profitable." 

In the year to March, Nissan posted a group net loss of 684.4 billion yen
(6.3 billion dollars), rocketing from 27.7 billion yen a year before, and
in the process saw Honda Motor Co. Ltd. overtake it is as Japan's second
biggest carmaker.

Ghosn said interim results in October would show the fruits of the Nissan
Revival Plan, which involves 21,000 job losses worldwide and the closure of
five plants in Japan.

The drive was not merely to cut costs, however, but to drive up sales and
reverse a 26-year loss of market share for Nissan, Ghosn told shareholders. 

"It is important to note that we have shifted Nissan's focus from volume to
profits," he said. "The right mix can have an even greater impact on
profits than volume." 

The introduction of 22 new models over the next three years and the launch
of a new brand identity next January would underpin sales growth, said
Ghosn, forecasting a net profit of 60 billion yen in the year to next March. 

Robust sales over the past two months "makes me totally confident that we
will deliver on this forecast." 

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