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Sunderland car maker has been affected by "difficult" European markets
CAR maker Nissan has issued a profits warning and announced key management changes after being hit by sluggish European markets and vehicle recalls.
The Japanese firm, which employs more than 6,000 North-East workers at Sunderland, says it expects to make a net profit of £2.2bn for the year to March 31 2014, lower than its original target of about £2.6bn.
Bosses blamed a fall in demand across Europe and volatile emerging markets.
The company has also made a number of senior management changes, with Trevor Mann CBE, who was granted the Freedom of the City of Sunderland, made chief performance officer.
He will its Datsun and light commercial vehicle and global aftersales business divisions, and was previously executive vice president and chairman of its Africa, Middle-East, India, and Europe operation.
Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan's chief operating officer, who visited the Sunderland plant to mark the work on its new battery factory for the firm's all-electric Leaf vehicle, is now vice-chairman of the company.
Reflecting on its financial update, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's chief executive, said the company had faced difficulties in Europe.
He said: “Our results reflect improved demand for our new products in Japan and the Americas.
“However, this was offset by difficult conditions in Europe, volatile demand in several emerging markets, and higher expenses related to recalls.
“Our new management line-up and regional organisation will ensure we have the executive team to deliver profitable growth.
“We have brought forward these planned changes to ensure the company preserves its leadership status in automotive innovation, product development, and its global market growth.”
Earlier this week, Nissan unveiled a teaser campaign for the new Qashqai model, which will be built in the North-East.
Bosses, who expect its North-East plant to set new production records, are now recruiting for 400 extra workers to start full 24-hour production at the factory for the first time.
Th company wants to carry on production through the night on its second line, which makes Jukes and the new Note.
It has run a 24-hour sister production line since 2010 at Sunderland, which makes the Qashqai and Leaf.
The firm has also started work to expand its factory, which will allow it to make the luxurious Infiniti Q30 hatchback from 2015, that will create 280 jobs at the plant and about 750 supply chain posts.
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