By Andrew Ganz
Friday, Oct 7th, 2011 @ 11:28 am
 
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn warned the Japanese government yesterday that, unless something is done about the country's surging currency, its manufacturing industry could set up shop elsewhere.

While Ghosn was speaking primarily for Nissan, his sentiments have long been shared by other automakers in Japan that have seen their profitability hinge on the yen's value. A strong yen erodes profits in markets like the United States and Europe, which have more stable currencies than the wildly fluctuating yen.


"I have spoken to the prime minister about this directly," Ghosn told Bloomberg. "If Japan wants employment, you're going to have to do something about establishing a normal exchange rate."


Nissan, like its Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota, has been moving production outside of Japan. Toyota has moved all North American market Camry production to Kentucky and it is looking to increase component production in the U.S.

Honda, meanwhile, says that it will trim exports to just 10 percent of Japanese production, a far cry from the 34 percent it sent abroad last year. And Mitsubishi reported yesterday that it is running dry on ideas to overcome the yen.

At Nissan, Ghosn has pushed production to other markets like Mexico and Thailand for vehicles the automaker can't build and export profitably from its home in Japan.

Ghosn warned of a bleak future for Japan's industrial base unless the government steps in to prioritize weakening the yen.

"At 76 yen to the dollar, if this rate was to stay for a while, I think you're going to see a hollowing out of the industry," Ghosn said.

References
1.'Ghosn says Japan...' view