July 23, 2014
Nissan Kyushu at X-Roads of Asia
July 23 – Kanda-machi, Fukuoka – Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn visited Nissan Motor Kyushu and Nissan Shatai Kyushu this week, home to the automaker’s largest production base in Japan.
The Media Center spoke with the CEO on the plants’ key production role at the crossroads of Asia, the success of the new Nissan X-TRAIL, and the outlook ahead.
CEO CARLOS GHOSN:
Kyushu’s a very important facility, because practically 50 percent of all production in Japan is coming out of this facility, so we have a lot at stake. It’s a plant that has to be extremely competitive; it’s a plant that has an ambition – and we’ve seen it during the visit to the different shops – to be No.1 on everything. They are not No.1 in everything, but in quality, in productivity, they are planning to be there, so there is a mindset of leadership, a leadership in excellence, and they’re planning for it, which is very good.
Obviously, for us at stake are a lot of important cars, like the one near me here, the X-TRAIL, one of the pillars of our brand, which is starting very well. But for this car to sell well in the markets, we need the plant to continue to do a great job in terms of quality, to improve overall opinion.
We need the plant to continue to do the job in terms of reducing Total Delivery Cost (TdC) to help support sales in a very competitive environment. So, it’s a very important plant, with very important people with the right mindset, and a lot of things to be done but encouraging.
Kyushu is important for Japan, it’s important for exports. In the case of Nissan Shatai, you have two extremely important cars being built there – the Patrol, supporting the brand in an important region for us like the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), and the sister car of the Patrol in the Infinti brand.
That speaks highly about the level of work, sense of detail, and engagement of the workforce in Kyushu.
This area of Japan is a great area, because it’s a little bit central between Japan, Korea, China and not very far from Russia. It’s an area where, with the great workforce we have here, you can source your product from any of these markets, which means not only that you have the best Japanese suppliers, but you have the best Chinese suppliers, you have the best Korean suppliers, supporting our performance.
On top of this, the people of this area have a sense of globalization. They know that they are part of Japan, they have a very strong identity, but at the same time, they are working with the Koreans and working with the Chinese.
In the Kyushu plant I’ve seen people from our plant in Thailand, people from the Renault plant in Busan, also being trained. So, there’s a real sense of give-and-take, cross-fertilization, a lot of benchmarking – receiving people coming to benchmark you, but also going to see some other achievements at the world level.
This is a great area to make sure that not only we have a strong identity as the Kyushu plant and as Japanese workers, but are open to competition coming from different markets – not as a threat, but as an opportunity to do a better job.