March 26, 2012
CEO Ghosn Returns to Nissan’s Iwaki factory
March 26 – Iwaki, Fukushima – Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn returned to the automaker’s Iwaki factory Monday, a little more than one year after a devastating earthquake temporarily crippled production.
Ghosn, touring the plant he last visited in May 2011, described Iwaki’s recovery as miraculous.
“It has been remarkable. The plant has produced 300,000 engines this year, even though these events have happened,” Ghosn told the Global Media Center.
“Not only are the production lines fully working with the level of quality and organization that is totally normal, but seeing also the effort the team has shown me, as they continue to work on improving quality – not only to maintain quality – but improving quality and continuing to work on breakthroughs to reduce the running costs, the investment costs, is just remarkable. It looks like this plant has never been through destruction like the earthquake that hit one year ago.”
Located near the Pacific Ocean, Iwaki has been a symbol of Nissan’s comeback from the plant shutdowns and logistical gridlock that punctuated the first few months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan.
The CEO told staff that Iwaki showed the company what was possible in the face of tremendous adversity.
“Iwaki restoration has been spectacular. What you have done in Iwaki has been an example for all Nissan employees across the world,” he said.
Ghosn planned later to meet with local Iwaki government officials.
Overall, the disaster-hit Tohoku region, which endured some 20,000 casualties and missing, and still has tens of thousands homeless, remains a work in progress one year later, as the rebuilding of infrastructure and the need for even more manufacturing and jobs will be key to its sustainable future.