2. Tilt down from Nissan sign to Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive of Nissan Motor Company
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive of Nissan Motor Company:
"It's not finished, it seems that now it's a little bit better, a little bit more stable than two months ago, but we are...I don't consider that this is finished, at any moment you may have another wave of instability coming."
4. Various exterior of Nissan headquarters
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive of Nissan Motor Company:
"We are moving forward with our zero emission leadership strategy, which involved the development of the electric vehicles, and the fuel cell vehicles, electric vehicles will be launched first and our production plans are on track, vehicle production will begin in Oppama in the fall of 2010 and we are also exploring other production sites around the globe."
Nissan Motor Company, Japan's No. 3 automaker, reported a 233.7 (b) billion yen (2.4 (b) billion US dollars) annual loss, a reversal of fortune from the previous profitable year but better than the company's own forecasts.
Nissan's Chief Operating Officer said on Tuesday the automaker was hurt by three factors in the fiscal year ended March 2009; the US financial crisis, the global slowdown and the strong yen.
But the company, which is allied with Renault SA of France, is expecting to reduce the red ink for the fiscal year through March 2010, to a 170 (b) billion yen loss, he said.
It was the first time Nissan had sunk to an annual loss since President and Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn took the helm a decade ago under an alliance with Renault SA of France, and wrested Nissan out of near-bankruptcy.
"I don't consider that this is finished, at any moment you may have another wave of instability coming," Ghosn told reporters at Nissan's Tokyo headquarters.
Nissan had recorded a 482.3 (b) billion yen profit for the previous fiscal year ended March 2008.
In February, the automaker projected a 265 (b) billion yen loss for the fiscal year ended March 2009.
Analysts had also made forecasts close to Nissan's.
Nissan is not the only Japanese automaker battered by the global slowdown.
Toyota Motor Corporation, the world's largest automaker, has fared worse, racking up a 436.9 (b) billion yen annual loss, partly because of its size and its past success that had fuelled an ambitious expansion drive.
Honda Motor Company, by contrast, has done better, managing to stay in the black for the fiscal year with a 137 (b) billion yen profit.
Nissan's sales plunged 22 percent from the previous fiscal year to 8.437 (t) trillion yen.
That was also better than Nissan's initial sales forecast.
It sold 3.4 (m) million vehicles worldwide, down 9.5 percent from the previous year, as vehicle sales dropped in the US, Japan and Europe.
But sales grew in China, according to Nissan, which makes the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models.
Nissan said it expects to sell even fewer vehicles in the current fiscal year at 3.08 (m) million.
Ghosn said the priorities for the year ahead would be to preserve cash, reduce losses and take advantage of the alliance with Renault.
He said Nissan remains focused on its own turnaround and was not entering any projects or partnerships with ailing General Motors Corporation.
The deal that Nissan has with Chrysler SA to produce vehicles for each other will be reviewed because Chrysler may emerge from bankruptcy a "different" entity, Ghosn said.
Fiat is acquiring a 20 percent stake in Chrysler.
Also on Tuesday, Nissan said it will start making electric vehicles at its Oppama Plant in Yokosuka, Japan, from fall 2010, with production capacity of 50-thousand vehicles a year.
Demand for the vehicles is expected to grow with mass-marketing in 2012.
Ghosn expressed hopes that demand would pick up and the yen's strength would abate, helping boost his company's books.
The global auto industry was undergoing drastic change, and the key to determining the winners versus the losers was profitability, not just excellent technology and qualified engineers.