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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NISSAN'S SLIP BLAMED ON 'HEAD WINDS'

Ghosn asks shareholders to be patient


Staff writer

YOKOHAMA -- Nissan Motor Co. President and CEO Carlos Ghosn asked shareholders for patience Tuesday, promising to overcome "head winds" in the domestic market and produce better results in 2006.

News photo
Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn rubs shoulders Tuesday with shareholders in Yokohama during a buffet lunch after the annual shareholders' meeting.

At Nissan's annual shareholders' meeting, attendees voiced concern about the most recent business results and the automaker's sagging stock price in comparison with rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

In May, domestic sales fell 12.2 percent from the year before to 51,656 units as output fell 24.6 percent to 81,551 units.

For fiscal 2005, Nissan sold 842,000 units in Japan, down 0.7 percent, and watched its domestic share slip 0.2 percentage points to 14.4 percent.

2005 was "a year of head winds and turbulence" as prices rose for oil, metals and other raw materials, Ghosn said.

Nissan will continue to face difficulties until October, when it releases three new models in the United States, Nissan's biggest market.

"To those who will attend the shareholders' meeting next year, we will promise better results," Ghosn said during a reception after the meeting.

The annual meeting was attended by 1,672 of Nissan's roughly 220,000 shareholders.

Ghosn told a news conference afterward Nissan may not be able to sell 846,000 units in the current fiscal year, which it predicted in April.

He changed that figure to between 800,000 and 840,000 vehicles, citing weak domestic sales.

He said the company remains committed to it's global sales goal of 4.2 million vehicles by the end of fiscal 2008.

Reporters showered Ghosn with questions, asking him when he will leave Nissan and what will happen when he does.

Ghosn said only he will leave when he feels he is no longer contributing as CEO.

Ghosn is also the chairman and CEO of Renault SA and spends much of the year in Europe.



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