Nissan cited higher costs related to U.S. warranties, an “adverse operating environment” and the “impact of recent corporate issues on sales.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Nissan said sales had taken a hit in the aftermath of the arrest of Ghosn, contributing to a decline in profit to its lowest since the year ended March 2010. This is the second cut to the automaker's operating profit forecast in two months and adds pressure on CEO Hiroto Saikawa just as he works to draw a line under Ghosn's legacy by overhauling corporate governance and seeking a more equal footing with Renault, Nissan's biggest shareholder.
Tatsuo Yoshida, an analyst at Sawakami Asset Management. said Nissan's profits were inflated in the past few years. "Sales were stretched in the U.S. and they sold more cars than they could, mainly by pushing fleet sales. Now it's the real Nissan and it's natural their profits are coming down."
Nissan has struggled to reduce costly sales incentives in the United States. For years it has relied on heavy discounting in its biggest market to sell its Rogue SUV and Altima sedans to expand market share, under aggressive targets set by Ghosn.
Saikawa has pledged to stop chasing share and instead focus on improving profit margins.