The global recession surely affected the automotive industry, if we are to take a look over the news in the market, while some giant companies are doing a pretty good job at expanding and coming up with almost futuristic plans for the future.
The recent news regarding Volvo’s decision to undergo massive personnel cuts in the next two years will affect not only the employees, but also the dynamics of the lorry niche they are applying these changes to. Volvo is the world’s second largest lorry manufacturer after Germany’s Daimler and the restructuring plan comes as an effort to both make some significant savings and challenge the first contender on the lorry market. An article on The Local covers the news extensively, as the Volvo Group was one of the most reliable and appreciated automotive companies in the world not so long ago.
However, the group registered impressive net loss and poor sales this year, thus a managerial and administrative reform seems mandatory for the company to jump back in the saddle. The plan includes not only employment reforms but also investing in new strategies to increase production efficiency, but the company’s representatives didn’t offer a specific number of affected jobs. In their two – year strategy, Volvo included also the partnership with Chinese company Dongfeng, as a means to conquer the lorry market ahead of Daimler.
At the other end of the world, in Indonesia, Nissan revived the Datsun as a budget vehicle in order to gain the emerging market and popularize the brand as an affordable vehicle, after implementing a similar strategy in India. The two new Datsun models, once an occidental – preferred car, have been presented in Jakarta and hopefully they will double the market share once they will start selling next year. Nissan takes good advantage of the local producers and the emergent economy of Indonesia, as their automotive market increased spectacularly with 25%, getting very close to that of Thailand’s. In Indonesia, Nissan will sell the Datsun “in a fully-branded environment”, as Vincent Cobee, Head of Datsun, explained to the press.
The auto manufacturers hope that the Indonesian market share to reach 15% by 2017, as now it is represented only by a 6%. The two new models may very well change the estimated numbers and reach the company’s goal, as they will cost around $8,800. Nissan will also take good advantage of the deductions set by the Indonesian government for vehicle producers who manage to offer low – budget and low – consumption vehicles on a large scale, and given the fact that Nissan plans to manufacture around 10,000 Datsun Go cars per month, the 2017 goal seems attainable from many points of view.
But Nissan isn’t only conquering Asia, but the future too. While busy reshaping and rebranding the Datsun in developing countries, Nissan plays also with the future of mankind, at a conceptual level at least, announcing the world they will produce an entirely automatic car by 2020. The race for producing a completely autonomous car that doesn’t need much of a driver’s skills is not new, but has become very competitive in the last years. The IT giant Google presented such a prototype, but apparently didn’t find yet a reliable partner for the project. In the world of futuristic technology, Tesla Motors and Elon Musk are the invincible leaders, as this year, their Model S – a luxury sedan – became the first profitable electric car.
The challenge to produce a robo – car was seductive for many other automotive companies as well, namely Mercedez-Benz, Volvo or Continental, but in Musk’s opinion, the Japanese at Nissan dream too big when they assume a success in this respect by 2020, while Tesla is operating on its own project which allows a driver to set the car on auto – pilot in the majority of regular driving situations.