Nissan slashes profit forecasts after inspection scandal

This Nov. 10, 2017 photo shows a gallery of the Nissan Motor Co. at its global headquarters in Yokohama. (AP)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Nissan slashes profit forecasts after inspection scandal

TOKYO: Japanese car giant Nissan on Thursday slashed its forecast for full-year operating profit after admitting that a damaging inspection scandal last year had “adversely impacted” the firm’s performance.
Nissan said it now expects operating profit of 565 billion yen ($5.2 billion) for the fiscal year to March 2018, a drop of 12.4 percent from its previous estimate in November.
“During the period, the Group’s performance was adversely impacted by special items related to the final vehicle inspection issue in Japan, along with slowing sales growth, negative pricing trends and inventory adjustments in the US market,” it said in a statement.
Nissan was forced to recall some 1.2 million vehicles after admitting in October that staff without proper authorization had conducted final inspections on some vehicles intended for the domestic market before they were shipped to dealers.
The automaker suspended all domestic production for a few weeks, sending its passenger car sales plummeting more than 55 percent in Japan in October.
In a bid to atone for the scandal, chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa said he was “voluntarily” returning his pay, along with other executives.
Vice president Joji Tagawa told reporters that it had been a “challenging” period for the carmaker but saw some light at the end of the tunnel.
“We remain focused on improving the state of our business performance and our financial results despite market headwinds ... we expect to normalize our operations by the end of the fiscal year,” he said.
“We take it very seriously so we are putting in place various measures to cope with the situation.”
Nissan’s operating profit for the nine months to December 2017 were 364.2 billion yen, a 27.6 percent decline from the same period last year.
Nissan sold a total of 4.1 million vehicles — a gain of 2.9 percent on-year — but again the inspection scandal took its toll.
There was a 3.4-percent dip in car sales in Japan because of the inspection issue, Nissan said.


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.