Monday, February 9, 2009

Nissan cuts 20,000 jobs, EV plans threatened?

Nissan has joined the world's automakers with bad news. They'll be cutting 20,000 jobs worldwide. They joined Toyota, posting an annual loss, for the first time in nearly a decade. Nissan's Carlos Ghosn had become a major industry advocate for plug-in cars, with a fairly aggressive plan for multiple platforms within a very few years. A launch next year in Oregon had been announced previously. Nissan and sister company Renault have been the automotive backbone to Better Place's attempt to rejigger the automotive market. Will the worldwide economic downturn cause a general plug-in postponement?

According to Business Week, "the company will suspend its current business plan, announced last May." But the same report states that "production of an electric car will still start in late 2010; the car will be mass-marketed globally by 2012."

In related EV news, GM announced today that Bob Lutz will be retiring a year before the Volt's scheduled release. He had previously vowed to stay on through the November 2010 launch.