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Nissan takes the plunge

THE Nissan Motor Company announced last week that it is closing five factories and cutting 21,000 jobs as part of its restructuring plan. This will be a 14% reduction in the company's workforce. We understand that most of the jobs being axed are in Japan with 2,400 in Europe and 1,400 in the United States. The company said that the reforms were unavoidable because of the financial situation. Nissan hopes to reduce the lay-offs with early retirement schemes. The Japanese government said that it accepted that the company needed to slim down but is worried that there will be further job losses amongst Nissan's suppliers.

The company went on to detail its plans for recovery with the emphasis being on dovetailing operations with those of Renault, Nissan's major shareholder. The two companies will share engines and models, although the Renault and Nissan brands will remain separated even if the products are the same.

There have been rumors for some time that Nissan will enter Formula 1 within the next couple of years, using a new Renault-developed (and perhaps funded) V10 engine in an effort to improve the company's lackluster image. It is possible that it could happen as early as 2001 - with Tom Walkinshaw's Arrows team expected to have the deal.

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