Nissan United Kingdom, Ltd.

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CASE-H8247.qxd 11/10/06 21:25 Page 76 Case 6 Nissan United Kingdom, Ltd. John E. Walsh, Jr. Entering into a Business Relationship in the United Kingdom In 1970, three thousand Datsun cars rusting on the docks of Rotterdam, abandoned by the existing U.K. concessionaire, was the catalyst for the relationship that developed between Nissan United Kingdom Limited (Nissan U.K.) and Nissan Motor Company of Japan (Nissan M.C.). Nissan Motor Company approached Octav Botnar, who arranged the transshipment and sale of the Rotterdam Datsun automobiles. Botnar had arrived in Great Britain from West Germany in 1966 to reorganize a failing and insolvent U.K. distribution company (See Appendix A). By 1969, he had increased company sales by 300% with…show more content…
with 6% of the entire U.K. market or 60% of total Japanese automobile sales in the U.K., and also 60% of total Nissan M.C. sales in Europe. In 1977, Datsun U.K. sold 82,000 automobiles. In 1978, sales exceeded 100,000, whereas Toyota sold 28,000 and Honda only 19,500. Octav Botnar respected Chairman Katsuji Kawamata and President Takashi Ishihara, the two senior Nissan Motor Company executives, and they in turn respected him and depended heavily on his talents and advice. He and Ishihara had an understanding that any major operational difficulties could be referred directly to Ishihara who would N I S S A N U N I T E D K I N G D O M , LT D. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier, Inc. G 77 CASE-H8247.qxd 11/10/06 21:25 Page 78 resolve the problems personally. This procedure was rarely needed, but when it was, Ishihara took immediate action. Under President Ishihara, management decision-making at Nissan Motor Company was based on seniority, as typified in these statements by Paul Ingrassia and Kathryn Groven in a Wall Street Journal article on November 1, 1989: For years, a strict regimen governed the staff meetings at Nissan Motor Company’s technical center in Tokyo’s Western suburbs. Employees wore identification badges listing not only their names but also their date of hire. No one could voice an opinion until everybody with more seniority had spoken first, so younger employees—often the most enthusiastic and innovative—seldom spoke at all. According to Satoko Kitada, a

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