The first order of business when I joined Nissan Motor was to build a plan for its recovery. At the time, Nissan was in a desperate situation. The company's share of the Japanese market had been steadily falling for 26 years. Financially, it had been in the red for seven of the eight years through 1999. Interest-bearing debt was more than 2 trillion yen ($17 billion at current rates). Because of this, the release of new models had slowed almost to a stop.
How did Nissan find itself in such a hole? One reason was that the company had simply not valued profits. Back in 1999, Nissan offered 43 models, but saw profits for only four of them, and small ones at that. I remember one executive meeting early on in my tenure in which I rejected the development plan for a new model called the X-Trail.