Fleet News

Job threat for Nissan dealers and workers

NISSAN'S UK dealer and manufacturing operations have been threatened with job losses amid a massive shake-up which will see franchises sharing sites.

This week the company admitted its Sunderland plant was struggling to compensate for the high value of Sterling and that unless there were considerable cuts in costs, the new Micra would be built elsewhere.

Renault, which has a 36.8% stake in Nissan, has also unveiled a restructuring of the two brands' dealerships which will mean a 55% reduction in the Japanese firm's European dealer workforce.

On the future of the Sunderland plant, also home of the Almera and Primera, John Cushnaghan, managing director of Nissan UK, said: 'It builds the existing Micra, but we can only expect to continue with the next generation car if we can demonstrate a cost base that is better than our global competitors.'

Nissan said production costs would have to fall by 30% if Sunderland was to be in the running for new Micra production, due to start in 2003. Nissan's 135 UK component suppliers are being pressured to reduce their £800 million annual bill. Renault has also announced that it plans to establish a dealer network of 'common business partners' on sites sharing back-office functions with the bias on maintaining Renault dealerships while cutting back on Nissans. By 2005, 905 of Renault/Nissan dealerships worldwide will be on shared sites.

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