Tokyo, May 28 (efe-epa).- Japanese carmaker Nissan on Thursday confirmed that it is closing its manufacturing plant in Barcelona, calling it a “difficult” decision following the economic woes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida announced the closure while releasing the financial results of the company for the fiscal year 2019-20 – that ended in March – which showed that the company had slipped into a loss for the first time in 11 years.
The carmaker registered a net loss of around 671.2 billion yen ($6.2 billion) during the period, hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic slowdown.
In a brief reference to the Barcelona facilities, while announcing various restructuring activities, Uchida did not specify a date for its closure but insisted that they had explored many options before reaching the decision.
Speaking to the press via videoconferencing from the Nissan headquarters in Japan’s Yokohama, the CEO said they had begun discussions over how to implement the measure.
Nissan has already informed the Spanish authorities about the closure of the plant that had been widely anticipated after reports in the Japanese media.
As per the reports, some of the European production for the company would be switched over to its alliance partner Renault after the closure of the Spanish factory.
The details of what would happen to around 3,000 employees at the Barcelona facility are not yet clear.
Uchida also announced the closure of another production facility in Indonesia that would make Thailand the main manufacturing hub for the company in Southeast Asia.
In Europe, Nissan would continue production at its plant in Sunderland – in the United Kingdom – with a focus on increasing its efficiency.
The carmaker has posted its first annual loss since the 2009 economic crisis, and the biggest net loss since 1999 when it was undergoing a restructuring process.
According to the annual report, Nissan’s sales revenues dropped 14.6 percent to 9.87 trillion yen, while the company did not release projections for the ongoing fiscal year due to uncertainty linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The carmaker said that along with alliance partners Mitsubishi and Renault, it was planning to reduce investment and increase efficiency to decrease global production by 20 percent until 2023.
The carmaker had already announced plans to gradually lay off around 12,500 employees in July 2019, although on Thursday Uchida said the timeline and how these job cuts would take place depended on discussions with labor unions and other parties. EFE-EPA