Automotive Purchasing News Review 21 July 2014 - page 12

21 July 2014
automotive purchasing
12 November 2014
Claridges, London
GhosnsaysJapan’sfemalebossgoal tooambitious
Jul 17, 2014
Having long made a point of promoting
women to management positions, Nissan's
chief executive has said the Japanese prime
minister's plan to boost female bosses to
30 percent by 2020 is too ambitious.
Speaking at a press conference at
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
in Tokyo, Thursday, July 17, 2014, Ghosn
(pictured) advocates that women make up
10 percent of Nissan's managerial ranks in
Japan by 2017. But he said he wasn't about
to rush things just because having women
visible in management ranks has become
more topical in Japan. The proportion of
women in management at Nissan in Japan is
now 7 percent, although it's higher for Nissan
globally at 10 percent.
Shrinking workforce
The participation of women in Japan's
workforce is very low by developed nation
standards. Women make up 2.9 percent
of manager-level and higher positions at
Japanese companies employing 5,000 or
more people. The country’s Prime Minister
Shinzo AbeAbe wants to increase the number
of women in jobs at all levels because Japan's
population is aging and its workforce is
When asked why he was not as ambitious
about empowering women as Abe, Ghosn
said he didn't want a negative effect by
having women fail as a result of being
promoted with insufficient experience, which
would be a step backward. He instead hoped
to have women "advancing safely," he said.
"I'mbeingconservative. I'mbeingprudent,"
Ghosn told the Foreign Correspondents'
Club of Japan in Tokyo.
The Geneva-based World Economic
Forum ranked Japan 105th in last year's
Global Gender Gap Report, which measures
economic equality and political participation.
Iceland was No. 1, followed by the
Scandinavian nations. Germany was 14th and
the United States 23rd. Women make up 3.9
percent of board members of listed Japanese
companies, versus 12 percent in the US
and 18 percent in France, according to the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and
A Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese
ancestry, Ghosn was critical of the sexist
corporate culture of Japan Inc. almost as
soon as he arrived in 1999. Ghosn, who also
heads Nissan's alliance partner Renault SA of
France, has led a business overhaul at Nissan.
Waving the flag
Although Nissan was quick
to wave the flag of promoting
women, it has not been as
quick to tap them to its board of directors.
Japanese rival Honda Motor Co appointed a
woman to its board for the first time earlier
this year.
Toyota Motor Corp, the world's top
automaker, has no women on its board, and
has said it has no immediate plan to add any.
Ghosn stressed Nissan sees women
as important car buyers, and what they
look for, such as seat positioning, interior
materials and safety features, are critical
in developing models. That's why it's
in Nissan's interests to have women in
"decision-making" positions, he said.
Jul 17, 2014
Having recently announced it would move
to invest $250 million over the next few
years in India, Volkswagen AG says it aims
to increase its use of locally made car parts
to survive a highly competitive market.
Volkswagen is the market leader in
China, the world’s largest auto market, but
after five years since it entered another
emerging market in the region – India – it
has secured just 2.1 percent of it.
“Indianisation is certainly a key word we
learned about,” said Michael Mayer, the
chief of the local Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd.
“We need to make the cars more adapted to
the taste of the Indian customers.”
Fierce competition
In India, fierce competition from more
affordable brands like Hyundai and Maruti
Suzuki or even the likes of Toyota, as well as
the lack of an expanded affordable model
line-up has seriously hindered Volkswagen.
It now faces an additional hurdle from
India’s economic situation that has made
the automotive industry decline in the last
two years.
Mayer added that the company’s
strategy now hinges on the localization
level, considering the market still has a
huge potential. The carmaker wants to raise
local sourcing of car parts from the current
level of 65-70 percent to 90 percent in the
near future by locally assembling engines
and gearboxes.
Jul 17, 2014
According to the Automotive Component
Manufacturers Association of India
(ACMA), the country’s auto components
industry is expected to post up to 6
percent growth in the current fiscal year.
Having witnessed a 2 percent dip in
turnover in 2013, the sector is pinning
hopes on the resurgence of vehicle
sales in recent months, the industry body
said today (July 17). As ACMA President
Harish Lakshman told the Indian press:
"The last fiscal has been one of the most
challenging for the automotive industry
in India with flagging vehicle sales, high
capital costs, high interest rates and
currency fluctuations adversely impacting
the growth.”
Key driver
However, with the automotive sector
being a key driver of the economy and
growth returning to vehicle consumption in
the past couple of months, ACMA expects
the industry to grow by 4-6 percent in
current fiscal, Lakshman added. The
auto components industry witnessed an
investment of around USD 700 million during
the last fiscal. "Due to moderation in vehicle
sales and depressed market sentiments, the
investment in 2013-14 declined compared to
previous fiscal, where it stood at around USD
1.2-1.7billion," he said.
Risk factor
This year the industry would see similar
or slightly better investments, continued
Lakshman, adding that the vertical would
start witnessing increase in investments
from 2015-16. Commenting on export of
components, Lakshman said there was a
growth of 16.7 percent to Rs 61,487 crore
in 2013-14 as compared to Rs 52,690 crore
"Imports of auto components grew by
3.6 percent to Rs 77,160 crore in 2013-14, as
against Rs 74,463 crore in previous fiscal,"
he added.
Lakshman concluded that the industry
needed to diversify into other sectors as
well in order to minimise risk factor. "While
we are confident of the medium to long term
prospects of the auto component sector, to
tide over the industry's cyclicity and minimise
risk, the component industry needs consider
diversifying into adjacent markets like
defence, aerospace, railways.”
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