I’m your man, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida told shareholders at an annual meeting Monday, promising to take a pay cut while firming up the fiscal foundations of an automaker that was floundering even before the pandemic hit.
Nissan rolled out a very different kind of four-year plan in late May. Cost-cutting and consolidation is the name of the game going forward, but shareholders often want more assurance than a blueprint can provide.
“I will put Nissan’s growth back on track,” Uchida told attendees of the downsized Yokohama meeting, per Bloomberg. “We will make the utmost effort to resume shareholder returns as soon as possible.”
The CEO, who took on the job only last December, reiterated his promise to resign if things don’t go as planned. Already, he’s freezing executive pay and slashing his own compensation by half; the automaker’s lineup will be streamlined, with wasteful plants dropped and its presence in markets like Europe dialed back as it seeks to free up $2.8 billion in annual costs by 2024.
Music to a shareholder’s ears, but what’s there for a buyer to look at? For starters, the Ariya, an electric crossover Uchida said will see a public debut on July 15th, as reported by Automotive News. The crossover space is where the EV action is, and Nissan needs to compete in this fledgling segment — especially in its home market and China. Last week, Nissan dropped a sledgehammer-light hint that its concept vehicles have a habit of turning into production vehicles, with the 300-mile Ariya being only the latest such vehicle.
It isn’t known exactly when U.S. customers can get their hands on Ariya, but when it does arrive, expect a next-generation version of Nissans’ ProPilot hands-free driving system, as well as available twin-motor all-wheel drive. Globally, Nissan says it will release a dozen new models in the next 18 months, with eight EVs in the offing by 2024.