Bloomberg News

Nissan’s Ghosn Says Japan Should Defend Auto Industry From Yen

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn reiterated a call for the Japanese government to help the automotive industry, saying that a strong yen is making the country’s carmakers uncompetitive.

The largest threat to the auto industry supply chain is the strength of the yen and not natural disasters, Ghosn said at a conference in Tokyo today. Japan should learn from the Swiss and make “adjustments” to the currency, he said.

“I’m not saying to give us an advantage,” Ghosn said. “We just need to eliminate the handicap. We’re profiting in every market except in Japan.”

Japan’s automakers have been hampered this year by the nation’s March earthquake and floods in Thailand, while the appreciation in the yen has slashed profitability and export competitiveness, threatening local manufacturing jobs. Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have both abandoned their full- year profit forecasts after the disruptions to output.

The yen, which reached a post-World War II record last month, has gained more than 9 percent in the past six months, the best performance among 10 developed-nation peers tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Currency Indexes.

The currency moves have slashed Japanese automakers’ profit by a combined 330 billion yen in the first half, according to Japan’s automakers group. A appreciation in the yen reduces the value of repatriated earnings and makes exports less competitive.

Switzerland’s central bank introduced a cap on the Swiss franc on Sept. 6 to fight deflation threats and help the country’s exports.

Nissan-Renault’s combined production will exceed 8 million units this year, Ghosn said today. He said last month that Nissan will have to “hollow out” Japan production should the nation’s currency remain strong.

--Editors: Chua Kong Ho, Suresh Seshadri

To contact the reporters on this story: Cheng Herng Shinn in Tokyo at hcheng52@bloomberg.net; Masatsugu Horie in Osaka at mhorie3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chua Kong Ho at kchua6@bloomberg.net


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