TOKYO -- Five years ago, Calsonic Kansei Corp. faced an uncertain future.
Soon after Carlos Ghosn took control at Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., the carmaker began to sell stakes in its affiliates to focus attention on the auto business and reduce debt.
The message to traditional Nissan keiretsu suppliers such as Calsonic Kansei was simple: Be competitive or be gone.
Suppliers were stunned. As Calsonic Kansei scrambled to rewrite its strategic plan, the supplier discussed a sale to Delphi Corp. A deal never happened.
Fast-forward to 2005. Calsonic Kansei's sales are up. Its largest customer remains Nissan. And in a reversal from five years ago, Ghosn has raised the automaker's stake in the supplier to 41.9 percent from 27.6 percent.
Still, Calsonic Kansei's future is not without obstacles. It faces tough competition from other suppliers for key business. And the Japanese company is bent on cutting costs without sacrificing quality.
But Calsonic Kansei, which supplies cockpit and front-end modules, air conditioning units, instrument panels, exhaust systems and other components, is counting on continued growth. So are others, including Ghosn himself.