It has been a turnaround of almost unbelievable proportions, an up-from-the-ashes comeback likely to be studied for years in the world's business schools. Digging out from the rubble of a $6.5 billion loss for the year and shaking off a decade of wrecked hopes and ambitions, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. has become the industry's poster company for Doing Things Right.
Even as the rest of the industry is turning turtle, Nissan has been spending on new plants and products, including a $1 billion greenfield truck factory in Mississippi.
The wellspring for this capital-spending Niagara is an unusual one for Nissan - profit. Nissan President Carlos Ghosn generated a $1.6 billion net profit for the first half ended Sept. 30 - the company's best in a decade - by relentlessly squeezing costs out of his own manufacturing base and by winning cost concessions from suppliers. For the full year, the company expects to earn at least $2.31 billion.
Nissan is back. But Ghosn says that's not quite right - the Old Nissan is gone forever. 'This,' he says, 'is a new company that's being created in front of you.'
Ghosn recalls that when he began his effort to revive Nissan after transferring in from Renault, the task looked like 'Mission: Impossible.' It now looks like Coup of the Year.