Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Nissan to cut 20,000 global jobs

Nissan car
Nissan's job cuts come as the firm has seen sales slump

Nissan is to cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, 8.5% of its workforce, over the next year because of a sharp fall in sales.

The Japanese carmaker made the announcement as it said it expected to make a loss of 265bn yen ($2.9bn; 2bn) for its current financial year.

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the the firm's "worst assumptions on the state of the global economy have been met or exceeded".

"The global auto industry is in turmoil. Nissan is no exception."

Sales slump

Nissan said the 20,000 job cuts would be made between March 2009 and March 2010.

Carlos Ghosn
Mr Ghosn has painted a bleak picture

The reduction will see the size of its global workforce fall to 215,000 from 235,000, although Nissan has yet to say which plants will be affected, and by how much.

It added that it would also be talking to unions about cutting working hours.

The company had already announced job cuts last month, including 1,200 at its UK plant in Sunderland.

Nissan also said on Monday that it sold 731,000 vehicles worldwide between October and December, down 18.6% from a year before.

This resulted in a net loss of 83.2bn yen, compared with a 132.2bn profit a year earlier.

Car industry analyst Mamoru Katou said the job losses would make Nissan unpopular in its home country.

"The job cuts will hurt Japanese parts-makers, too, and in the long run diminish the Nissan brand value in Japan," he said.

Nissan's loss for the current financial year will be its first since the 12 months ending March 2000.

Since then Mr Ghosn has managed to turn the firm around, thanks in part to forming an alliance with France's Renault.

Industry-wide malaise

Most of the world's other main carmakers have also seen sales and profits slump as a result of the global economic slowdown.

As a result, there is a growing trend of cutting production and jobs.

Since the start of the year, Honda has announced 3,100 redundancies, while General Motors is reducing its workforce by 2,000.

Other car firms, such as Toyota, Porsche, Honda and BMW, have announced reductions in output as fewer people buy new cars.

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