Strong Yen Worries Japan's Nissan

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Nissan says the strong yen is creating a huge sense of crisis for Japan's No.3 automaker. They say manufacturing costs are too high in Japan.

The yen's advance against the dollar is rattling many Japanese exporters, and Tuesday an executive of No.3 carmaker Nissan called the situation a crisis.

Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said there was a huge sense of crisis with the strong yen that went beyond near-term losses.

Shiga said Nissan wanted to maintain Japanese output levels near 1 million cars annually, but was taking various steps to offset near-term currency losses such as building cars exported from Japan at production sites abroad wherever possible.

The strong yen's longer-term implications were dire for Japan's world-leading manufacturing industry and could weaken the competitiveness of automakers and parts suppliers if they are forced to move out of Japan, he said.

Nissan has made headlines by ending production of its high-volume March subcompact in Japan, shifting to imports from Thailand this year, although that plan was made years ago.

Like many other Japanese automakers, Nissan has assumed an average dollar rate of 90 yen for the business year -- a level Shiga said was still too strong for the car industry.

Nissan will announce second-quarter earnings on Nov 4, but the dollar's fall to a 15-year low Monday to just off a record likely means that forecast will be revised.

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