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Nissan Australia safe from global changes: Lester

Business as usual: While about 12,500 jobs will be slashed from Nissan’s global workforce, its Australian operation will not be affected.

Global job cuts, model reductions to not impact Nissan Australia – for now

13 Aug 2019

NISSAN Australia managing director Stephen Lester has provided reassurance that the Japanese brand’s global workforce reduction and other cuts announced late last month in the wake of poor financial results will likely not be felt Down Under.


In an interview with GoAuto at this month’s Navara N-Trek national media launch in Maleny, Queensland, Mr Lester reiterated that while about 12,500 Nissan employees will be retrenched globally, it is business as usual for the local operation.


“At the present time, we’re not expecting any losses within Australia,” he said.


“The company has outlined a few of those areas where they have already made some decisions. And beyond that, I think they’re keeping it quite close to the vest at this point in time.”


Asked if the Nissan Casting Australia Plant (NCAP) in Dandenong South, Victoria, was in a vulnerable position given that the majority of job cuts will be production-based, Mr Lester suggested it is safe from the workforce reduction.


“The casting plant operates on a project-by-project basis as a support plant, to be able to produce very specific parts for different models. So, at the moment, we don’t foresee any changes across Australia,” he said.


As reported, NCAP employs about 200 workers, operating three shifts a day, six days a week to produce about 2.6 million diecast aluminium parts and more than 16,000 towbars per year. This volume represents an annual export value of $82.5 million.


In fact, NCAP had a big win in December last year, outbidding a rival Chinese outfit to secure a lucrative six-year parts contract.


The casting plant has also produced the water jacket, inverter case and stator housing for the second-generation all-electric Leaf small hatch since its inception in 2017.


Nissan Australia’s plans for a new custom-built national headquarters in Mulgrave, Victoria, are also unaffected, with Mr Lester stressing that the move from Dandenong South is still on track to take place in the second half of next year.


“The building is full steam ahead,” he said. “I’m getting updates on a daily basis of the progress of the construction. We’re working with the global teams on the fit-out and the fitment of the overall building.


“There will be no changes to that project at this stage.”


As reported, the new headquarters will house Nissan Australia’s sales, marketing and customer service teams as well as Nissan Financial Services Australia and the Japanese brand’s Victorian regional office and technical training centre.


At a global level, Nissan Motor Company also plans to reduce its global production capacity by 10 per cent by the end of the 2021-2022 financial year, with its model line-up to shrink by “at least” 10 per cent during the same period.


While the ageing 370Z and GT-R sportscars appear to be the most logical models sold locally to face the axe, Nissan Australia told GoAuto in July that the local line-up will carry on as is for now.


For reference, Nissan Motor Company’s operating profit dropped from ¥109 billion ($A1.5b) to ¥1.6 billion ($A22.0 million) in the April-June 2019 quarter – a massive 98.5 per cent decrease over the same period last year.

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