Long before the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down the auto industry, Nissan's U.S. retail network was grappling with its own crisis.
About 40 percent of Nissan dealerships were hemorrhaging money. Aging products, coupled with years of heavy discounting and residual value-hurting fleet sales, left Nissan's retailers with sluggish customer traffic and bloody balance sheets.
Nissan was on a path to recovery. The automaker is pivoting away from an aggressive pursuit of market share championed by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn while orchestrating a product offensive that involves updating about 70 percent of its portfolio by mid-2021.
But now that recovery is at risk as the nation gradually goes into lockdown, silencing assembly lines and emptying showrooms and service departments.
Nissan retailers and outside observers wonder whether the extraordinary economic complications of the coronavirus could prove lethal for some dealerships.