Nissan to retrench further in new plan to focus on U.S., Japan, China

Nissan is reportedly set to pull back from Europe and other regions to focus on the U.S., China and Japan. People with direct knowledge of the plan told Reuters on Monday (May 4) that it represents a new strategic direction for the embattled carmaker. The sources said the change of tack is due to be announced on May 28th, and goes beyond fixing problems left by ousted leader Carlos Ghosn's aggressive expansion drive. Pursuit of market share, particularly in the States, led to steep discounting and a cheapened brand. Under the reported three-year plan, Nissan aims to restore dealer ties and refresh lineups to regain pricing power and profitability. It also wants to cut competition and expand cooperation with alliance partners, the sources said. Nissan will follow Mitsubishi in plug-in electric hybrid vehicle technology, with the smaller firm taking the lead in Asian markets outside China and Japan. France's Renault will likely focus on electrical vehicle technologies and Europe. Nissan and Mitsubishi declined to comment. Renault did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It's thought Nissan will try to maintain a presence in Europe through stepped up efforts with its Qashqai and Juke crossover SUVs. The new plan though reportedly calls for tighter, targeted lineups in countries including India, South Africa, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. That means Nissan might need to shutter more than the 14 assembly lines announced in July. The news comes amid a crisis that has seen global car production and sales almost grind to a halt.